Seafood's Many Nutrients

smelt©gfw2011

Seafood is wonderfully rich in omega 3 fatty acids, but the healthfulness doesn't end there. As is the case in overall diet, variety and moderation are key.

By eating a variety of seafood, the healthy benefits are realized and the risks involved with a particular seafood are minimized.

Protein

Fish and seafood provide some of the leanest sources of protein. Cod packs a whopping 63 grams of protein for every 100 grams of cod. By comparison, chicken breast offers 33 grams of protein per 100 grams of chicken and tofu offers 48 grams of protein per 100 grams of tofu.

Vitamins

Retinol, or vitamin A, is found in seafood and is vital for red blood production, eye health and overall wellness. Fish like salmon contain vitamin A in the flesh, while fish liver is rich in it. Vitamin E is found in fish oils, and protects our bodies from free radicals. Clams, oysters, mussels, fish eggs, octopus and fish like sardines, salmon, herring, and mackerel are high in vitamins B-12 and B-6, vital for brain function.

Minerals

Seafood, especially clams, shrimp, oysters and sardines, are a good source of minerals, especially iron, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. Fish bones are rich in calcium and are wonderfully flavorful. Eating small whole fish like smelt, anchovies, and even sardines can pack in the extra bonus of the calcium we need for great bone health. Selenium helps regulate enzymes and protect the immune system from the effects of stress. Oysters and clams are rich in selenium.

Cholesterol

The cholesterol content of most fish is similar to that of red meat and poultry, about twenty milligrams per ounce. Some shellfish such as shrimp, lobster and crab are considered high in cholesterol, yet fish is low in saturated fat, and contains polyunsaturated fat, or "good fat", which can help lower cholesterol and reduce risk of cardiovascular disease. Eating a variety of seafood is a healthy strategy for gleaning the most nutritional benefit.