Category Archives: Seafood is Health Food

Composition of Selected Finfish


(Printer-friendly version)

Fish and shellfish pack healthy amounts of protein, polyunsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids.

At the same time, they are low in total fat, saturated fat, sodium, calories and cholesterol. To add to their appeal, they are naturally rich in vitamins and minerals such as iron and B-vitamins, too. 

The composition of selected finfish, many of which are found in North Carolina, is given below per 3.5 ounce servings.

Remember to source your fish and shellfish from local vendors, pack well in ice or keep refrigerated, cook to retain moisture and enjoy!

From: Mariner’s Menu: 30 Years of Fresh Seafood Ideas

Contributed by David Green

Seafood Dietary Guidelines


(Printer-ready copy)

Mean intake of seafood in the United States is approximately 3 1/2 ounces per week, and increased intake is recommended. Seafood contributes a range of nutrients, notably the omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Moderate evidence shows that consumption of about 8 ounces per week of a variety of seafood, which provides an average consumption of 250 mg per day of EPA and DHA, is associated with reduced cardiac deaths among individuals with and without pre-existing cardiovascular disease.

Moderate, consistent evidence shows that the health benefits from consuming a variety of seafood in the amounts recommended outweigh the health risks associated with methyl mercury, a heavy metal found in seafood in varying levels.

Benefits are maximized with seafood higher in EPA and DHA but lower in methyl mercury. In addition, eating a variety of seafood, as opposed to just a few choices, is likely to reduce the amount of methyl mercury consumed from any one seafood type.

Individuals who regularly consume more than the recommended amounts of seafood should choose a mix of seafood that emphasizes choices relatively low in methyl mercury.

For a list of common seafood varieties consumed in the United States with the EPA+DHA and mercury content in a 4-ounce cooked portion go to Appendix 11 in the 2010 USDA report.

Source: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010

Contributed by David Green

Salmon—An Omega-3 Champ


Not too many years ago, most salmon recipes began with “a can of salmon.” And our meal was usually patties or a casserole. 

This has changed. Now fresh salmon is widely available and we have a great variety of recipes. If you’re looking for an easy, simple and elegant entrée for company, try our “Baked Salmon with Sour Cream and Dill” from Mariner’s Menu!

Salmon is delicious poached, steamed, baked, broiled, grilled and planked.

Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. It is low in fat, cholesterol and calories.

 As a food, salmon dates back at least to the Old Stone Age, 25,000 B.C. In the Middle Ages, it was served to the sounding of trumpets. In this country, Native Americans and early settlers dined on it. And now we have rediscovered it.

Most recipe instructions tell you that it’s easier to skin salmon fillets after cooking. But if you prefer, your seafood market staff will skin them for you. Handling and cooking the skinless fillets makes preparation and serving much simpler.

Before cooking, use needlenose pliers to remove the line of bones that go down into the fillet along the center. Feel along the fillet with your fingers to locate these bones.

 While we generally concentrate on North Carolina species, we’re also featuring salmon due to its availability, popularity and food value.

Adapted from: Mariner’s Menu: 30 Years of Fresh Seafood Ideas

Contributed by Joyce Taylor

Dietary Guidelines for Americans Published


The USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion final report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee was published June 15.  The report calls for increased seafood intake and addresses the pregnancy/breastfeeding recommendation issue.

Moderate evidence shows consumption of two servings of seafood per week (4 oz per serving), which provide an average of 250 mg per day of long-chain n-3 fatty acids, is associated with reduced cardiac mortality from CHD or sudden death in persons with and without CVD.

Moderate evidence indicates increased maternal dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids, in particular docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), from two servings of seafood per week is beneficial. During pregnancy and lactation seafood consumption is associated with increased DHA levels in breast milk and improved infant health, such as better vision and learning development.

Moderate evidence shows health benefits derived from the consumption of a variety of cooked seafood in amounts recommended above outweigh the risks associated with methyl mercury and persistent organic pollutants exposure, even among women who may become or who are pregnant, nursing mothers, and children ages 12 and younger.

Overall, consumers can safely eat at least 12 oz. of a variety of cooked seafood per week. Women who may become or who are pregnant, nursing mothers, and children ages 12 and younger can safely consume a variety of cooked seafood in amounts recommended in this report.

Contributed by David Green

What Is Aquaculture? Is It Safe to Eat the Fish?

Seafood is Health Food

Think of animal farming where people produce, raise, and care for aquatic animals in controlled environments such as tanks, ponds and offshore cages. Both freshwater and saltwater fish are grown in the United States for human food and to repopulate ponds, rivers, and streams and for the aquarium trade.

Finfish such as catfish, salmon, trout, and tilapia, and shellfish – oysters, clams and shrimp – are grown for human food and represent an important source of the world’s animal protein. Currently half of the fish consumed by people globally is derived from aquaculture.

In 2009, there were 9 commercial tilapia growout facilities in North Carolina, yielding 967 thousand pounds of tilapia at $2.19 per pound, or $2.143 million dollars to the state economy. Many of these fish are sold as fillets in local fish markets or sold to restaurants.

Fish, like other animals, can get sick. Bacteria, fungi, parasites, viruses and poor water quality can cause disease. Fish producers and FDA/s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) work to ensure that safe and effective drugs are available to treat fish diseases and that treated food fish are safe for people and other animals to eat.

For more information on aquaculture and aquaculture drug basics, go to US FDA

Contributed by David Green

Health aspects of fish consumption

Seafood is Health Food

A recent international report concludes eating fish lowers the risk of death from heart disease in the general adult population. For women of childbearing age, the report concludes eating fish during pregnancy and breastfeeding lowers the risk of poor brain development in babies.

During the January 2010 Joint Meeting of Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO), 17 experts in nutrition toxicology, epidemiology, dietary exposure and risk-benefit assessment crafted language to help various governments communicate scientifically sound advice about the overall effects of eating fish.

The report comes at a time when federal nutrition experts are preparing to update the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Largely overlooked in the past, the importance of eating seafood is expected to be addressed.

Fish currently constitutes about 7 percent of animal protein in the American diet, while Asian countries and other regions the amount is more than 25 percent.

The message is that not eating enough fish packed with protein and omega-3 fatty acids has consequences on public health, the experts noted. Thus, governments should adjust their communications to consumers to reflect the science-based advice in the report.

Source: National Fisheries Institute

Contributed by David Green

NC Seafood and You: A Good Match for Your Health

Seafood is Health Food

(Printer-friendly version)

You’ve probably heard of omega-3 fatty acids. Including more omega-3 fats in your diet is a common recommendation for improving heart health and preventing some chronic diseases. In North Carolina, you only need to look as far as the coastal waters or inland rivers and lakes to find natural sources of omega-3s. The American Heart Association recommends consumers eat a “fatty-type” fish at least twice a week (0.5 – 1.8 grams per day), giving you regular doses of these beneficial nutrients. Regular consumption of seafood has been shown to improve a number of diseases and disorders including coronary heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disorders, periodontal disease, mental disorders, and more.

The table below lists fish and shellfish commonly farmed or caught in North Carolina. You can compare their grams (g) of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) per 3.5-oz serving. EPA and DHA are both important omega-3 fats. Not surprisingly, the highest amounts of omega-3 fats are found in fish oils, which are often sold as food supplement capsules. So add North Carolina seafood at least twice a week to your diet. Your culinary enjoyment today might mean some healthy payoffs for a lifetime!

Data from the USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory.

Contributed by David Green