Seafood’s place as a super food reaffirmed – but are we eating enough?

November 9, 2010 13:53

A report released today reaffirms seafood's place as a super food in our diets, reports with reference to the New Zealand Seafood Industry Council.

The Role of Seafood in Healthy Diet, by New Zealand Registered Dietitian Amanda Johnson, was released today at the International Seafood and Health Conference in Melbourne. At the conference, Mrs Johnson is presenting a summary of the latest findings on the role of seafood in promoting health and preventing disease.

The report includes a comprehensive review of the scientific literature relevant to seafood and health and explains why and how including seafood in our diets can assist in a healthy lifestyle from birth to old age. In children, the research suggests a positive link between eating seafood and cognitive development and in adults, eating seafood regularly may help to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease (particularly sudden cardiac death). In addition, emerging research on the role of seafood and fish oil supplements suggests a beneficial effect in terms of reducing risk some cancers and in helping with the symptoms of some inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Particularly interesting is the strong evidence that eating at least two fish meals a week (along with other dietary modifications and lifestyle changes such as stopping smoking and increasing physical activity) can protect against heart disease.

Also, eating fish when pregnant may help a child's brain development in the womb, although more research in this fascinating area is needed before firm recommendations can be made.

Mrs Johnson said today that "fish provides an excellent package of nutrients, including protein, omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, iron, zinc, selenium and iodine. It can make a great contribution to our nutritional intakes as part of a healthy balanced diet."

Mrs Johnson also said: "My advice would be to have one to two portions each week, with a particular focus on oily fish such as salmon and sardines which provide those all-important omega-3 fatty acids"

Although the findings are extremely positive, the question to ask, says New Zealand Seafood Industry Council Chief Executive, Peter Bodeker, is are we eating enough?

"We have known for some time that seafood can offer benefits in terms of heart health, but this new report indicates that there may be more far-reaching benefits from seafood in promoting good physical and mental health and protecting us from disease. We look forward to keeping a close eye on the research as more results are published in this important area."

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