Seafood & Health

Wealth for Your Health

Seafood is a nutritionally dense food, meaning it gives you a great bang for your food bucks.
bap-wealth-for-your-health
By eating more fish and seafood, you will nourish your body with:

Protein is used to build and repair muscles and bones and to make hormones and enzymes. It can also be used as an energy source.

Omega-3 fatty acids, also known as DHA and EPA. These healthy fats are essential because your body cannot make them on its own. They have protective and beneficial effects and are found naturally in seafood. Find which seafood has the most omega-3s.

Vitamin D helps with the absorption of calcium. Few foods contain vitamin D, but it can be found in fatty fish such as trout, salmon, tuna, and mackerel. 

Vitamin B12 helps with cell metabolism, nerve function, and the production of DNA.

Iron helps maintain healthy blood and is needed for growth and development.

Selenium protects cells from damage.

Zinc helps the immune system fight off infection. During pregnancy, infancy, and childhood, zinc is needed for proper growth and development.

Iodine is an essential mineral that is not made by the body, so it must be obtained by food or supplements. It supports a healthy metabolism, which controls everything from appetite to your immune system.

What is a serving?

The USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends at least 8 ounces of seafood (less for children) per week based on a 2000-calorie diet. When pregnant or breastfeeding, women can benefit from 8-12oz per week of a variety of seafood choices that are low in mercury. In order to get the most benefit, consume a variety of different forms and species. This will help you meet your goal of at least two servings a week and give you a range of key nutrients.

bap-plating-shrimp-1140x800

Seafood for a Healthy You!

In participation with the Seafood Nutrition Partnership's health awareness campaign, GSA is pleased to share the health and nutrition resources developed by Seafood Nutrition Partnership.*
 
Seafood offers a wealth of nutritional benefits and it is also helpful in treating and preventing a wide variety of diseases and health conditions:
  • Heart Health
    • The American Heart Association recommends consuming seafood, including at least two servings of oily fish per week to get the benefit of the essential fatty acids, protein, minerals, and fat-soluble vitamins. These nutrients are beneficial in the prevention of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease.

    • The good news is that heart disease is 80-90% preventable with proper diet, exercise, and lifestyle modifications.1

    • Fish and seafood offer high-quality protein that is low in calories. Fat content varies by type or species of fish and seafood. The higher fat options deliver heart-healthy fat and should be included. It is best to eat a variety of seafood to reap the benefits of the vitamins and minerals as well. Learn More

    • Choose non-fried fish or shellfish at least twice a week.


    heart-health

    Learn More: Love Your Heart, a Dive Into Seafood & Cardiovascular Health

    Get the Guide

  • Moms & Babies
    • Omega 3 fatty acids found in seafood dramatically reduce the risk of dangerous preterm birth. Premature delivery is the leading cause of death for children under the age of 5 and premature babies are at higher risk for long-term developmental delays.2
    • Seafood contains zinc, which is particularly important during pregnancy and infancy for proper growth and development.3
    • The American Academy for Pediatrics recommends children and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding eat 1-2 services of fish per week. To ensure that your choices are low in mercury avoid shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tile shark, bigeye tuna, marlin, and orange roughy during pregnancy.
    • Eating fish can reduce stress and distress for new parents. Studies of pregnant women reported that eating 8-12 oz., or 2-3 servings, of fish a week reduced psychological distress and post-partum depression. Fathers also felt less distress during the pregnancy when they regularly ate fish.4

    bap-pregnancy

    Learn More: Fish in Pregnancy, a Dive Into Women's Health & Infant Outcomes

    Get the Guide

    Why is Fish Nutritious During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding?

    Learn More

    Why is Fish Nutritious For Children?

    Learn More

  • Healthy Kids
    • Seafood has the power to improve your child’s brain and heart health. (source: eatright.org)
    • Children need the valuable omega-3s found in fatty fish because these fats help build the structure of their brain from conception and throughout their lives.
    • Kids who eat fish at least once per week do better in school. The omega-3s help with brain development, leading to a higher IQ and improved reading and spelling skills.5
    • Seafood helps with healthy eye development. Seafood’s omega-3s help our vision by supporting our ability to detect light.6
    • Seafood is an excellent source of lean protein which is essential for development, especially during growth spurts. Protein is necessary for the continuous growth and repair of bone, skin, and muscles.
    • Children who consume more seafood are found to have less anxiety and better focus due to the healthy fats found in seafood.
    • Caregivers can influence children's eating habits in a positive way by being a good role model and enjoying seafood meals together regularly.

    bap-seafood-kids

    Learn More: Seafood Smarts, a Dive into Benefits for Kids

    Get the Guide

  • Mental Health
    • DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is required to keep the brain functioning normally and efficiently.  This can be accomplished by adding fish to your shopping list.
    • People who eat fish regularly are 20% less likely than their peers to have depression.6, 10, 18, 19 It is well documented that eating 8-12 ounces of fish per week (about 2-3 servings) significantly reduces the risk for major depression.12 The American Psychiatric Association even endorsed the fats in fish as an effective part of depression treatment.
    • Fish contains vitamin D, magnesium, and zinc, nutrients found to be low in people who are depressed.13-18
    • Consumption of healthy fats, protein, and zinc has been shown to improve response to antidepressant medications.6,10,19,20 The American Psychiatric Association recommends that all Americans eat fish two or more times per week, preferably fatty fish such as salmon or trout.12
    • Some studies have shown that increasing the healthy fats like Omega-3s and reducing the fats found in junk food can significantly reduce the frequency, duration, and severity of migraine headaches.20

    bap-mental-health

    Learn More: Fish is Brain Food, a Dive Into Mental Health & Depression

    Get the Guide

  • Diabetes
    • The American Diabetes Association recommends fatty fish 2-3 times per week.

    bap-diabetes

    Learn More: Seafood & Type 2, a Dive Into Diabetes

    Get the Guide

  • Healthy Aging
    • The lean protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals found naturally in seafood can help us age with good health.
    • An NIH-AARP study showed that regular fish consumption is associated with significantly greater longevity and improved quality of life as we age. More specifically, seafood consumption is associated with a lower risk for a variety of health conditions, including heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and chronic liver disease.21

    bap-healthy-aging

    Learn More: Seafood for Life, a Dive Into Healthy Aging

    Get the Guide

  • Fitness
    • Food is your fuel and performance depends on the quality of nourishment. Seafood is nutrient dense, offering protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron which are helpful for performance and recovery.
    • Magnesium, zinc, and omega-3s are important in healthy nerve and muscle function, immune function normal heart rhythm, and blood pressure.22-25
    • The International Society of Sports Nutrition lists fish as one of the best sources of high-quality protein for athletes.

    bap-fitness

    Learn More: Fuel Your Fitness, a Dive Into Seafood for Sports Nutrition

    Get the Guide

Heart Health
  • The American Heart Association recommends consuming seafood, including at least two servings of oily fish per week to get the benefit of the essential fatty acids, protein, minerals, and fat-soluble vitamins. These nutrients are beneficial in the prevention of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease.

  • The good news is that heart disease is 80-90% preventable with proper diet, exercise, and lifestyle modifications.1

  • Fish and seafood offer high-quality protein that is low in calories. Fat content varies by type or species of fish and seafood. The higher fat options deliver heart-healthy fat and should be included. It is best to eat a variety of seafood to reap the benefits of the vitamins and minerals as well. Learn More

  • Choose non-fried fish or shellfish at least twice a week.


heart-health

Learn More: Love Your Heart, a Dive Into Seafood & Cardiovascular Health

Get the Guide

Moms & Babies
  • Omega 3 fatty acids found in seafood dramatically reduce the risk of dangerous preterm birth. Premature delivery is the leading cause of death for children under the age of 5 and premature babies are at higher risk for long-term developmental delays.2
  • Seafood contains zinc, which is particularly important during pregnancy and infancy for proper growth and development.3
  • The American Academy for Pediatrics recommends children and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding eat 1-2 services of fish per week. To ensure that your choices are low in mercury avoid shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tile shark, bigeye tuna, marlin, and orange roughy during pregnancy.
  • Eating fish can reduce stress and distress for new parents. Studies of pregnant women reported that eating 8-12 oz., or 2-3 servings, of fish a week reduced psychological distress and post-partum depression. Fathers also felt less distress during the pregnancy when they regularly ate fish.4

bap-pregnancy

Learn More: Fish in Pregnancy, a Dive Into Women's Health & Infant Outcomes

Get the Guide

Why is Fish Nutritious During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding?

Learn More

Why is Fish Nutritious For Children?

Learn More

Healthy Kids
  • Seafood has the power to improve your child’s brain and heart health. (source: eatright.org)
  • Children need the valuable omega-3s found in fatty fish because these fats help build the structure of their brain from conception and throughout their lives.
  • Kids who eat fish at least once per week do better in school. The omega-3s help with brain development, leading to a higher IQ and improved reading and spelling skills.5
  • Seafood helps with healthy eye development. Seafood’s omega-3s help our vision by supporting our ability to detect light.6
  • Seafood is an excellent source of lean protein which is essential for development, especially during growth spurts. Protein is necessary for the continuous growth and repair of bone, skin, and muscles.
  • Children who consume more seafood are found to have less anxiety and better focus due to the healthy fats found in seafood.
  • Caregivers can influence children's eating habits in a positive way by being a good role model and enjoying seafood meals together regularly.

bap-seafood-kids

Learn More: Seafood Smarts, a Dive into Benefits for Kids

Get the Guide

Mental Health
  • DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is required to keep the brain functioning normally and efficiently.  This can be accomplished by adding fish to your shopping list.
  • People who eat fish regularly are 20% less likely than their peers to have depression.6, 10, 18, 19 It is well documented that eating 8-12 ounces of fish per week (about 2-3 servings) significantly reduces the risk for major depression.12 The American Psychiatric Association even endorsed the fats in fish as an effective part of depression treatment.
  • Fish contains vitamin D, magnesium, and zinc, nutrients found to be low in people who are depressed.13-18
  • Consumption of healthy fats, protein, and zinc has been shown to improve response to antidepressant medications.6,10,19,20 The American Psychiatric Association recommends that all Americans eat fish two or more times per week, preferably fatty fish such as salmon or trout.12
  • Some studies have shown that increasing the healthy fats like Omega-3s and reducing the fats found in junk food can significantly reduce the frequency, duration, and severity of migraine headaches.20

bap-mental-health

Learn More: Fish is Brain Food, a Dive Into Mental Health & Depression

Get the Guide

Diabetes
  • The American Diabetes Association recommends fatty fish 2-3 times per week.

bap-diabetes

Learn More: Seafood & Type 2, a Dive Into Diabetes

Get the Guide

Healthy Aging
  • The lean protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals found naturally in seafood can help us age with good health.
  • An NIH-AARP study showed that regular fish consumption is associated with significantly greater longevity and improved quality of life as we age. More specifically, seafood consumption is associated with a lower risk for a variety of health conditions, including heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and chronic liver disease.21

bap-healthy-aging

Learn More: Seafood for Life, a Dive Into Healthy Aging

Get the Guide

Fitness
  • Food is your fuel and performance depends on the quality of nourishment. Seafood is nutrient dense, offering protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron which are helpful for performance and recovery.
  • Magnesium, zinc, and omega-3s are important in healthy nerve and muscle function, immune function normal heart rhythm, and blood pressure.22-25
  • The International Society of Sports Nutrition lists fish as one of the best sources of high-quality protein for athletes.

bap-fitness

Learn More: Fuel Your Fitness, a Dive Into Seafood for Sports Nutrition

Get the Guide

A Delicious Way to Better Health

It's easy to add more seafood to your diet with our quick and simple seafood recipes!

View Sources

* The Seafood Nutrition Partnership marks are registered service marks owned by SNP.
1 McGill HC, et al. Preventing Heart Disease in the 21st Century. Circulation, 2008;117:1216–1227.
2 Advice About Eating Fish for Those Who Might Become or are Pregnant or Breastfeeding and Children ages 1-11. Retrieved Jul 2, 2022, from http://www.fda.gov/food/consumers/advice-about-eating-fish.
3 Zinc Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Retrieved Jul 2, 2022, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/
4 Hamazaki K, et al. Dietary intake of sh and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and risks of perinatal depression: The Japan Environment and Children’s Study (JECS). J Psychiatr Res, 2018;98:9-16.
5 Kuratko CN, et al. The relationship of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) with learning and behavior in healthy children: a review. Nutrients. 2013;5(7):2777–2810.
6 Grosso G, et al. Dietary n-3 PUFA, sh consumption and depression: A systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. J A ect Disord, 2016;205:269-281.
7 Li F, Liu X, Zhang D. Fish consumption and risk of depression: A meta-analysis. J Epidemiol Comm Health, 2016;70(3):299-304.
8 Sanchez-Villegas A, et al. Long chain omega-3 fatty acids intake, sh consumption and mental disorders in the SUN cohort study. Eur J Nutr, 2007;46(6):337-346.
9 McNamara RK. Role of omega-3 fatty acids in the etiology, treatment, and prevention of depression: Current status and future directions. J Nutr Intermed Metab, 2016;5:96-106.
10 Hibbeln JR. Fish consumption and major depression. Lancet, 1998;351:1213.
11 Sánchez-Villegas A, et al. Seafood Consumption, Omega-3 Fatty Acids Intake, and Life-
12 Freeman MP, et al. Omega-3 fatty acids: Evidence basis for treatment and future research in psychiatry. J Clin Psychiatry, 2006;67:1954-1967.
13 Thesing CS, et al. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid levels in depressive and anxiety disorders. Psychoneuroendocrin, 2018;87:53-62.
14 Swardfager W, et al. Zinc in depression: A meta-analysis. Biol Psychiatry, 2013;74(12):872-878.
15 Wang J, Um P, Dickerman, BA. Zinc, magnesium, selenium and depression: A review of the evidence, potential mechanisms and implications. Nutrients, 2018;10(5):584.
16 Jacka FN, et al. Association between magnesium intake and depression and anxiety in community-dwelling adults: The Hordaland Health Study. Aust N Z J Psychiatry, 2009;43(1):45-52.
17 Wilkins, CH, et al. Vitamin D de ciency is associated with low mood and worse cognitive performance in older adults. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry, 2006;14(12):1032-1040.
18 Polak MA, et al. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations and depressive symptoms among young adult men and women. Nutrients, 1914;6(11):4720-4730.
19 Gertsik, L, et al. Omega-3 fatty acid augmentation of citalopram treatment for patients with major depressive disorder. J Clin Psychopharmacol, 2012;32(1):61-64.
20 Ramsden, CE, et al. Targeted alteration of dietary n-3 and n-6 fatty acids for the treatment of chronic headaches: A randomized trial. Pain, 2013;154(11):2441-2451.
21 Moza arian D, et al. Plasma phospholipid long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and total and cause-specific mortality in older adults: A cohort study. Ann Intern Med 2013;158(7):515-525.
22 Burkhart SJ, Pelly FE. Dietary Intake of Athletes Seeking Nutrition Advice at a Major International Competition. Nutrients 2016;8(10). E638.
23 Volpe SL. Magnesium and the Athlete. Curr Sports Med Rep 2015;14(4):279-283.
24 Ochi E, Tsuchiya Y. Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) in Muscle Damage and Function. Nutrients 2018;10(5).pii:E552.
25 Sikora-Klak J, et al. The Effect of Abnormal Vitamin D Levels in Athletes. Perm J 2018;22:17-216.