Safe and Healthy Seafood Choices
Seafood is a great lean protein source.
Seafood is also lower in saturated fat than red meat, is low in cholesterol, and high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Adults are advised to eat 2-3 servings of seafood per week to boost brain and heart health. Yet with all of the information out there it can still be daunting to know what kind of seafood to buy.
Farm-raised or wild-caught?
What kind of fish?
Fresh or Frozen?
The health benefits of seafood are so high that eating a variety of seafood is all you really need to focus on. Flash freezing (as with frozen produce) helps retain the nutritional value of the food.
So focus on eating a wide variety of seafood to obtain all the benefits of farm-raised, wild-caught, fresh, or frozen fish.
For more tips on how to choose seafood check out these tips from the FDA.
Best choices in terms of omega-3s?
Oily fish, like wild salmon, albacore tuna, mackerel, herring and farmed trout are the best choices in terms of omega-3s.
Choose fish that’s shiny, and avoid seafood that has any ice crystals, a sign that the fish was previously thawed.
More tips for safely choosing seafood:
- If you buy fresh fish, it shouldn’t smell especially fishy.
- Store seafood on ice or refrigerate as soon as possible, or if you’re not going to use it within two days of buying, freeze it.
- Cooking style matters too, stick to broiling or grilling seafood.
- Frying seafood is counterproductive as it adds saturated fats to what is otherwise a lean protein choice.
- Mercury is a concern in larger fish, and pregnant women and children should be especially careful to choose fish low in mercury.
- Seafood that’s lower on the food chain will have less build up of mercury, so choose seafood like sardines, shellfish, anchovies, and herring.
Check out this guide from the FDA for the best seafood choices:
Sustainability and healthy seafood choices.
Sustainability is also a consideration when making seafood choices. If you’re concerned about the environmental impact of your seafood choices, you can download the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch App to use when shopping, or download their handy printable guides for your state.
For more information, call the FDA Safe Food Information Line at:
What are your favorite seafood recipes?
Let us know on the Sweet Life Wellness Facebook Page!
Please send us an email if you’d like a copy of my consumer guide on How to make Environmentally Friendly Food Choices at Kay@sweetlifewellness.com
Sweet Life Wellness Student Intern
Dietetics student at University of Maryland-College Park
- Boston G (2013) Fresh vs. frozen: Eat enough of the good stuff and it doesn’t really matter. The Washington Post
- Commissioner O of the (2017) Press Announcements – FDA and EPA issue final fish consumption advice. https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm537362.htm. Accessed 19 Apr 2017
- Marcason W (2016) Feed Your Brain — Go Fish! In: www.eatright.org. http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/wellness/healthy-aging/feed-your-brain-go-fish. Accessed 19 Apr 2017
- Nutrition C for FS and A (2017) Buy, Store & Serve Safe Food – Fresh and Frozen Seafood: Selecting and Serving It Safely. https://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/BuyStoreServeSafeFood/ucm077331.htm. Accessed 23 Apr 2017
- O’Connor A (2014) Ask Well: Wild Fish vs. Farmed Fish. In: Well. https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/12/18/ask-well-wild-fish-vs-farmed-fish/ . Accessed 19 Apr 2017