Eating More Seafood for Good Health

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I consider my diet to be pretty healthy. I'm willing to try a wide variety of foods, but there is one thing that I've never been able to eat: seafood. My parents love fish and seafood, so growing up, I tried all kinds. The only seafood I ever actually enjoyed was breaded popcorn shrimp, mostly because it tasted more like fried batter than anything else. I wish I could enjoy fish. I take a DHA supplement because my diet is lacking in the healthy Omega-3's that fish provides. My husband loves fish, but I never cook it at home (because in general, I don't cook things I don't eat.) So I'm afraid my kids are going to develop my distaste for fish, only because they aren't being exposed to it regularly.

When the government released the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, they recommended that Americans increase their seafood intake to at least 8 ounces per week (which is about two servings). According to a report from the Journal of Food Service, 45% of Americans eat seafood once a week, and only 22% eat it twice a week. I have a feeling that most people who don't aren't like me and just don't enjoy the taste of it. So why are those numbers so low?

Some of the most common reasons for not eating more seafood are cost, limited access to fresh product, fear of contaminants (like mercury) and lack of knowledge about how to prepare it. There are good reasons to incorporate seafood into your diet, the biggest being that seafood can be a good source of Omega-3's. Research shows that Omega 3's can reduce the risk of heart disease, arthritis, and are important for brain development and cognitive performance. (That's why I give my kids a fish oil supplement.) For most people, the benefits of eating a diet that includes seafood outweigh the risks.

Concerned about seafood safety? Check out Casting Your Net on Seafood Safety and Best and Worst Fish Choices which discusses how to choose the fish that are most environmentally-friendly.

Want more information about why Omega 3's are an important part of a healthy diet? Check out The Mega Benefits of Omega 3's.

Not sure how to prepare it? Check out some of our best fish recipes or this baked haddock recipe on!

Do you incorporate seafood into your regular diet? Why or why not?

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I would incorporate seafood more. It's a tough decision. I've cut back on meat and seafood in general. All the stories of mercury and radiation has me a bit gun shy. I know the benefits are good. Not sure it's worth the risk. Report
Like you, I've never particularly cared for fish or seafood, but my reason for not eating it is 100% because of the negative impact fishing (and fish farming) has on the environment. Also, I do worry about mercury in all seafood: None is mercury-free, and I'm not willing to risk eating that! Report
I was shocked to see how many people don't eat fish very often! It was the first meat I learned to prepare as a young adult and my fiance and I eat fish or seafood for lunch and dinner at least five times a week. To cut costs I usually buy whole fish now and gut/ dress them myself. Don't be scared to clean and cook fish at home, it takes some practice but once you get the hang of it, it is the easiest, healthiest and most delicious thing to prepare. And on the whole it costs way less than other kinds of meat. :) Report
I'm like you, really; I don't like the taste of most seafood. But cost is also a big problem for me. We're on kind of a tight budget as it is, and adding in seafood would push us into the red. I eat a can of tuna a week and I order salmon whenever I can when I eat out, but otherwise I don't get much fish in my diet. Report
When I lived in Seattle, there was plenty of fresh seafood available. My favorites were Pacific Salmon and Black Cod. In Georgia, there's more Atlantic salmon with color added that I won't eat. When I go out to eat, I make sure to ask what kind/where the fish comes from. Did you know that the shrimp and crawdads at Red Lobster come from China? (last time I asked/ate there was just after Katrina). Now I get fresh fish (off the best fish list) when I can. Report
I love seafood but I don't eat it very often. I am allergic to shellfish, canned tuna makes me ill, am spoiled by having fresh fish.
The frozen, canned etc not only doesn't taste right but in some cases I have had an alergic reaction. Since I don't know when this will happen, I avoid it.
My grown kids are also alergic to fish, even more so than me. We can't even have it in the room without a reaction starting.
we have to avoid resaurants that serve it especially those that serve shrimp. It gets in the air but worse they will fry shrimp in the same oil/fryer as potatos or anything else. So it gets in all the food. The restaurants really do not like how I look when I walkout with a reaction, gasping for breathe and doubled over. It scares the other customers. Very bad selling technique. Report
I like most seafood. I eat tuna once or twice a week and usually some other fish as well. My kids both hate tuna, unfortuntely. I didn't grow up eating salmon or tilapia or much fish at all, except the catfish my grandpa caught. But I'm learning how to prepare it now in ways besides just breading and frying. Spark has some great fish recipes. Report
I love salmon! Report
I love seafood, grill salmon yum. Report
I am very careful to NOT buy fish that comes from CHINA since I've read so much about there pollution. I don't want to buy ANY food that comes from CHINA, but you have to be very careful to read the backs of packages for the small print. Report
I, unfortunately, am allergic to iodine. Anaphylactic shock isn't very much fun and most seafood contains natural iodine. Before the near death allergic reaction, I loved seafood and I do miss it! (I like being able to breathe just a teensy bit more, however... so that's why I don't eat seafood!) Report
I love seafood...! the more, the better! Especially shrimp, salmon, and any fish with dense white meat. Report
Always keep frozen fish and seafood on hand. Eat it 2x/week. Report
Ah! You missed a reason - I don't eat it because I'm a vegetarian. I grew up in the south and lived off of gumbo, mud bugs, fresh caught shrimp and seafood. I ate it all the time. We would go crabbing and catch and clean them ourselves. However, once I moved away from the coast (from Florida to Minnesota), there is limited access to fresh seafood - especially Gulf Shrimp. Flash frozen just doesn't taste the same. I quit eating seafood when I became a vegetarian in March of 2005. If I ever get to move back to the coast though, I will probably consider becoming a pescatarian instead. Report
I really enjoy seafood - what I dislike is going to the grocery store. I have it down to one trip a week. Fish just doesn't keep more than a day or two, so it's not exactly something I can stock up on. The frozen fish I've found often come with sodium- or calorie-heavy sauces. I do usually pick up a fillet on the day I shop, but that's about it. When I eat out, I'll choose fish to make up for my lack of making it at home. Report
Absolutely, especially this time of year when crawfish, crabs, and shrimp are plentiful and inexpensive. The reason is that boiled crawfish, crabs, and shrimp are DELICIOUS and they don't break the calorie bank! Report
I love most fish and seafood but don't eat it as often as I like as my husband won't eat fish at all (though he makes the best crab cakes and clams oregano I've ever tasted). If I do make fish, I have to plan a meal that incorporates side dishes that go with fish as well as with something hubby will eat - a bit of a pain but not impossible. I often mess up when I cook fish - afraid to undercook it, so I usually overcook it, and I think that's a big reason a lot of people don't cook fish at home. My default is canned tuna which I try to eat once a week or so. My favorite has always been swordfish, but it's so endangered I can't bring myself to eat it anymore. Yay fish! Report
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