These are the health benefits for women

Fish and other seafood species are some of the most nutrient dense foods you can eat. By eating just a small amount of fish, you get a wide variety of vitamins and minerals that provide systemic health benefits. Despite such a small investment for big returns, almost half of the American population does not eat seafood. Everyone benefits from adding a little fish to their diet, regardless of age, gender, origin ethnicity or state of health. And especially important for women to stick to the weekly seafood consumption recommendations of 2-3 servings per week.

Seafood consists of all shapes and sizes of underwater creatures, from mollusks such as scallops and clams, to crustaceans such as shrimp, crabs or lobster, to any type of fish including tuna widely available as well as more exotic creatures like burbot. If you are refractory to the smell of seafood or if you do not know how to best prepare your fish, there is something for everyone! When it comes to preparation, there is a lot of talk about where the fish comes from – wild caught? Atlantic? Cultivated? For a quick reference to help you find sustainably caught or farmed seafood options, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has a great online seafood watch tool to use as a buying guide.

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In addition to preparation issues, many are concerned about the mercury content of seafood. When consumed in large amounts, mercury can be toxic, especially to women who are pregnant or of childbearing age, as mercury can interfere with baby’s brain development. This is why pregnant women generally avoid sushi. That being said, fish and seafood provide many important nutrients for mother and baby. To benefit from these nutrients while keeping mercury in check, it is recommended that women of childbearing age, pregnant, or breastfeeding eat up to 12 oz per week of low-mercury fish – thankfully, more fish species are low in mercury. than not, including shrimp, salmon, canned or light tuna, pollock and catfish. For food safety reasons, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, make sure all fish is thoroughly cooked. Avoid high-mercury seafood such as swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and walleye snapper. Additionally, 1 serving (3-4 ounces) per week of albacore or albacore tuna is considered safe. To be extra careful, it is recommended to buy smaller pieces of fish to minimize the mercury content.

Seafood provides important pregnancy-specific nutrients, including iodine, folic acid, iron, and choline. These nutrients play various roles in the health of mother and baby, such as promoting energy metabolism and the development of the baby’s spinal cord. Eating seafood has also been shown to improve childbirth outcomes. A 2018 study in the British Medical Journal assessed the relationship between seafood consumption and a baby’s size at birth. Researchers found that eating 29 grams of seafood, or 2 to 3 servings per week, reduced the risk of delivering a newborn in the 10th percentile or lower for gestational age.
Arguably the most important nutrient in seafood is omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. Omega-3s help reduce inflammation, an underlying crux of many diseases and conditions. They also protect heart health by promoting optimal blood flow and have been studied for their role in increasing blood vessel function, protecting against heart rhythm disturbances and lowering blood pressure.

People of all ages need omega-3s, but omega-3s can still improve heart health around perimenopause and menopause, when estrogen levels drop in women — a time when heart health is endangered.

Thanks to their anti-inflammatory properties, omega-3 fatty acids protect joint health and allow you to stay active by reducing the risk of injury. Some also claim that omega-3s can promote glowing skin by helping skin cells produce more oil and hydrating the skin’s surface. Seafood can also indirectly help your skincare routine in other ways. Because all seafood is a source of lean protein, it contains amino acids that serve as building blocks for collagen. An increase in collagen-building nutrients can impact hair, skin, nails, and connective tissues such as tendons and ligaments. Seafood also contains bone-strengthening nutrients like vitamin D and calcium.

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I once read that fish is like a “multivitamin” for your brain. Women are about twice as likely as men to suffer from depression, and many seafood species contain nutrients like vitamin D, magnesium and zinc, which are generally low in depressed people. As women go through menopause, brain chemistry can be affected by hormonal changes and promote anxious or depressive symptoms. Eating fish and seafood can only help. Additional nutrients found in fish that contain neurological and cognitive health promoting properties include zinc, iron, choline, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin A, vitamin D, omega-3 and omega fatty acids. -6. In fact, seafood and fish oil have recently been studied as therapy for concussions and other cognitive disorders, such as dementia.

Eating more seafood is an amazing way to diversify your protein and nutrient intake. One serving – about 3 ounces – It contains several nutrients that the body cannot produce on its own and cannot be obtained easily from food, such as omega-3s and vitamin D.

Here are some sample meals or snacks with 3 ounces of seafood:

  • Canned light low sodium tuna or salmon with crackers
  • Mixed grilled prawns with salad and pasta
  • Smoked salmon on toast
  • Grilled Catfish with Broccoli and Jasmine Rice

Emma Willingham is a registered dietitian who practices in a hospital outpatient clinic and through her private practice, Fuel with Emma. You can find her on social media at @fuelwithemma.