Lobster was once considered a low-class food, more likely to be used for garden fertilizer than on restaurant menus. Oh, how times have changed for how we treasure the shellfish from the cold North Atlantic waters.
As we think more about the health of our oceans – the waters that provide the seafood we eat – it’s time to think about how we can help support the fish ecosystem. One way to do that is to try a variety of seafood.
Seafood species that tend to be invasive or overpopulated, or end up as part of a bycatch for a premium variety, have been deemed “trash fish,” which is what lobsters were for decades. Being willing to treasure the “catch of the day” helps take pressure off overfished species that are more in demand by consumers
Non-profit chef organization Chefs Collaborative has hosted 15 Trash Fish Dinners around the country since 2013 to bring attention to undervalued and underutilized species of fish. Dinners prepared by local chefs include species such as fresh sardines, Boston mackerel and dogfish, like at this dinner put on by Seattle Fish Co.
Other “trash” fish species to look out for include whiting, Atlantic pollock, redfish, trigger fish, drum, scorpion fish, Asian carp, rainbow smelt, sheepshead scup, ribbonfish, grunts and even salmon heads.
The next time you are shopping for seafood, either at the grocery store or restaurant, try a fish or shellfish you have not had before.
Good news: 1 in 3 Americans have added seafood to their diets in last year.
However, findings from a 2017 survey commissioned by the Seafood Nutrition Partnership found a significant knowledge gap between Millennials and older generations as it relates to understanding the full spectrum of seafood’s health benefits and adding it to their diet. Only 23% of Millennials have added it to their diet to eat more healthily, compared to two-in-five Boomers (41%).
The survey found that more than half of Americans (56%) know that seafood is high in protein, but far fewer associate it with other positive health benefits, particularly as it relates to heart health. More specifically, while two-in-three Baby Boomers (63%) know that seafood is good for their heart, only 36% of Millennials are aware of this fact.
On behalf of Seafood Nutrition Partnership, Ketchum Global Research & Analytics (KGRA) conducted an online survey of 1,129 U.S. adults ages 18+ across the country. KGRA used the field services of YouGov to collect audience data. Stat testing was done at a 95% confidence level and the margin of error was +/-3%. The survey was in field February 15-16, 2017.
The 2015 GOED omnibus survey also asked people about their supplement and omega-3 consumption. The findings, which surveyed 1,012 U.S. adults nationwide, show 57% of people take a multivitamin and 35% of respondents specifically take an omega-3 dietary supplement, with fish oil supplements the biggest component of omega-3s in the U.S. diet. A subsequent global survey found supplements are more popular in U.S. compared to other countries surveyed.
Seasonal eating is eating food when it is at its peak, or eating foods at the same time they are being harvested or grown. One of the major benefits of seasonal eating is that you will save money. Due to an increase in supply, the cost of production and distribution decreases. Another major benefit is that the quality of the food you consume improves.
While many may associate seasonal eating with foods such as fruits and vegetables, many don’t realize it applies to seafood as well. Seafood populations can migrate in and out of local fishing grounds, therefore affecting population numbers. This is why prices for seafood vary by month and by season.
In an effort to eat healthy and save money, let’s incorporate in-season seafood and produce into our diets each season. Our friends at Seattle Fish Co. have compiled a beautiful seasonality chart broken down by regional fish and month. We have pulled the information below from that chart, but we recommend checking out their resource as well.
Farm-raised seafood provides a constant supply, so seafood such as catfish, tilapia, salmon, clams, and mussels are at their peak year-round.
This is a summary of an article posted on health.gov; click HERE for full article
By Julia Quam, MSPH, RDN and Kellie Casavale, PhD, RD, Nutrition Advisor, ODPHP
Health professionals can help patients and clients understand how seafood consumption supports an overall healthy eating pattern. A healthy eating pattern incorporates a variety of vegetables, fruits, grains, low-fat and fat-free dairy, and protein foods, while limiting saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and sodium. These strategies can help health professionals encourage patients and clients to incorporate seafood into their own healthy eating patterns.
SNP Executive Director Linda Cornish caught up with Hugh Welsh (pictured), the new Chairman for Seafood Nutrition Partnership, on his commitment to eating seafood as his main protein source in 2017.
Linda Cornish (LC): Hugh, congratulations on being the incoming Chairman for Seafood Nutrition Partnership (SNP). We are thrilled to have you lead us as we expand SNP’s work. You are taking your new role very seriously as I saw your message to your Twitter followers that you will be eating seafood as your main source of protein in the New Year. Can you tell us what prompted you to adopt a pescetarian diet? Is this part of an overall wellness regiment prescribed by your doctor?
Hugh Welsh (HW): Thanks Linda. As you know I joined the Seafood Nutrition Partnership Board of Directors about a year ago as I believe in its non-profit mission to effectively address the public health crisis Americans are facing. Although I strongly support the mission I actually had not been eating much seafood prior to my time with SNP. You see, growing up my summer jobs were working on fishing boats off the coast of New Jersey. After working on the fishing boats I didn’t really associate the smell of fish with something appetizing. After joining the SNP Board, I saw that all of the board members chose fish or shellfish when we dined together, so I thought I would give it a try. I realized that seafood was pretty good and quite frankly delicious.
I work pretty hard and spend a lot of time traveling all over the world. This leaves very little time for exercise and for me meant I had a very poor diet. The result was I gained a good deal of weight. Additionally, I was tested and learned that my blood cholesterol levels were too high and my Omega 3 levels too low. I was setting myself up for some bad health outcomes down the road and decided it was time for a change. I worked with DSM’s Wellness consultants to come up with an overall plan regarding nutrition, exercise, meditation and sleep. I thought this would be a good opportunity to walk the talk and try a pescetarian diet.
Hugh tries different seafood dishes on his new pescetarian diet.
LC: You’ve dedicated your life’s work to advocating for health and nutrition for the global population, and you lead the North American region of a multinational company with a strong portfolio in human nutrition. Was there a particular time or event that triggered your decision to eat seafood as your main protein?
I just have to say, getting your tips and encouragement to try more seafood has helped me to choose fish more often this year. My husband and I have frozen halibut and salmon (from Costco of course) twice a week and have found so many different ways to fix fast and tasty meals. We just take a frozen, plastic wrapped piece of fish from the bag, quickly thaw it out in cold water and then pop it into a pan of heated milk to poach. You are right that it’s one of the quickest and easiest entrees we make! Thanks for what you do to help us stay healthier.
Special Olympics International
In the last eight months of my life, I made one of the best changes for my health. Since, I've made the transition from a vegetarian to a pescatarian I've noticed amazing differences in so many areas of my life. Throughout the majority of college and graduate school and into my young professional life, I was a strict vegetarian for nearly six years. Until what seemed to be all of a sudden, people close to me started to notice and share that they thought I was underweight and looked unhealthy, For a while, I just couldn't accept it. It seemed impossible that it could be due to my diet (I was SUPER healthy and selective in my food choices and habits). In reality, I often didn't feel well and caught multiple colds throughout the year. The real turning point was when I started to notice hair loss and dull skin and nails. I knew I needed to make a change and wasn't ready to start eating meat again, due to the health reasons I had cut it out of my diet for before.
So, I started to read. I devoured every piece of research on the best and healthiest ways of eating I could find. From longer life expectancy, to organic, sustainability, eating for your blood types, and beyond, (I think you get the point.)
The one that really stuck out to me was the Mediterranean diet, for the diversity and the nutrient rich and fresh ingredients it's based on. Plus, for an added bonus, my heritage is from that region so I knew it was going to be the best option for me to try.
Now, I can honestly say, all of those areas of my health have improved over the last eight months. I shifted to a healthier weight to support muscle tone, I have increased energy, better looking skin and nails, happier and clearer mentality and just overall well-being. If I could do it all again I would and hope my story helps you see the importance of a seafood rich diet at any age. It seems quite fitting that now I've come into the role of Field Director for Jacksonville, Florida for the Seafood Nutrition Partnership. I hope to inspire my city to follow me in my journey to even greater health with the benefits eating fresh and local seafood brings!
Again, great care by great WV-based clinicians saved me and have blessed me with optimum health. BUT… Obviously I was not doing something right. And my “assumed good health” became a personal conjecture not based on science, fact. I was not taking care of myself, was overweight, and had lab work that pointed to having an increased risk for heart disease. Knowing that I was cancer-free 10+ years, having a strong family history for heart disease, and having recently been blessed with a beautiful granddaughter became my key motivators!
Making significant changes in daily activity, losing weight, sustaining a healthy diet, reducing stressors, and making sure that I get the cardio-based exercise are essential for my personal healthier lifestyle. The keys to all of these things is making sure that you incorporate other survivors, share frequently with your family and personal champions, and listen intently to your clinicians/trainers. My bloodwork now shows that I have attained probable protection from coronary artery disease risk but this is not a given without hard work.
No it’s not easy and you have to pledge to work daily, but the short and long term benefits are obvious – extend your healthy life and opportunity for continued blessings as long as possible! The best advice that I can give to every person, especially those of us who hail to be West Virginians (historically having a poor family health history), is to start early in life and maintain/sustain your personal health! We are not invincible, and we must pray for strength and work hard every day to invest – the greatest wealth one can have is good health!
I have always been a lover of seafood and fresh fish (especially if I’m lucky enough to get out to a stream or lake and catch it myself!). Since my heart stent was placed, I have made a conscious effort to eat fish or other seafood at least 2 – 3 meals a week.
The staff, Board of Directors, and chef ambassadors of the Seafood Nutrition Partnership invite the public to join us in sharing the health impacts they have achieved through the Healthy Heart Pledge. We invite you to share your story!