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National Restaurant Association - Ask the Nutritionist: Get hooked on seafood

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Ask the Nutritionist: Get hooked on seafood

The National Restaurant Association's Director of Nutrition and Healthy Living Joy Dubost, Ph.D., R.D., provides regular commentary on the NRA News blog. In this post, she discusses the nutritional benefits of seafood.

October is National Seafood Month. According to our 2012 "What's Hot" survey, some of the top trends include seafood. Within the main/dishes/center of the plate category, locally sourced meat and seafood ranked #1 with non-traditional fish, such as branzino, Arctic char and barramundi ranking #4. Sustainable seafood is another hot trend. It appears that the timing is right to incorporate more healthy fish options into the menu.

According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, the average intake of seafood in the U.S. is approximately 3.5 ounces per week; however, we should be increasing our intake. Seafood provides an array of nutrients, including the important fatty acids, omega 3's. Moderate scientific evidence shows that consuming 8 oz. of a variety of seafood which provides 250 mg of omega 3's is associated with reduced cardiac deaths among those with and without pre-existing heart disease. In other words, consuming this amount may prevent heart disease.

Questions have been raised regarding the methyl mercury content found in seafood. Moderate, consistent evidence shows that the health benefits from consuming seafood outweighs the health risks associated with the levels of methyl mercury found in seafood. It is also important to eat a variety of seafood, which is likely to reduce the amount of exposure. Seafood varieties that are higher in omega 3's and lower in methyl mercury include salmon, anchovies, herring, sardines, Pacific oysters, trout and Atlantic and Pacific mackerel (not king mackerel).

For more nutrition information about seafood and recipe ideas, visit AboutSeafood.com.  

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