Have seafood questions? Ask the Seavant! A seavant is a learned person who is an expert in seafood and shellfish, including the health benefits, ease of preparation and deliciousness.
You asked and our seavant, Scott Nichols, answered!
On average, what is a good amount of fish to eat on a weekly basis?
Every five years the USDA and HHS issue food recommendations called the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The 2015 version recommends we eat 8 ounces of seafood weekly.
The minimum needed for a proper diet, however, isn’t how I make my seafood choices. I like fish. A lot. I love the enormous variety of flavors and textures. Plus fish is easier to cook than just about anything else which is nice. So, either lunch or dinner at my house is fish.
Which fish is most abundant in omega-3s?
If there were a single champion of champions, it would be red or black caviar. Nothing else comes close.
But it doesn’t have to be the champion to be great. I divided my choices into two groups—those with strong flavors and those with mild flavors. In the strong category are: mackerel, anchovy, sardine, shad and oysters (Pacific oysters have higher omega 3s than Atlantic oysters but both are great sources). In the mild category are: salmon (all are good) halibut, sablefish (which also goes by black cod), pompano, trout and striped bass.
Curious about other types of seafood? Check out this chart.
Every time I cook fish it falls apart. I usually use olive oil in a pan, heat it up and then add fish (usually cod or salmon). The cod falls apart and the salmon sticks most of the time. What am I doing wrong? Help please!
Cod in a frying pan is going vex you every time. How about this? You could cook it in a parchment or foil pouch. That way you don’t touch it and, when it’s done, you can slide it onto the plate. This won’t give you a browned caramelize surface but if that’s your target you could cook it on a cookie sheet in the oven. Rub the fish with your olive oil, put it on the pan and cook it in a hot oven (475 degrees).
The salmon should behave better for you than it is. Try this—preheat your pan over high heat. Your experience will depend on your pan. I use either cast iron or All Clad pans and I heat them for 90 seconds over the highest heat. Pour in the olive oil and immediately put the fish on it. Turn the heat down to medium high and don’t touch it! At first it will stick to the pan but after four or so minutes it will release and be easy to flip. Rub some olive oil on the top of the fish, flip it and cook it until it has the doneness you want. It may take a couple of tries to get this right but you’ll develop the specific technique for your kitchen and it’ll be great.
Does seafood cause blood pressure to rise?
Nope. In fact, omega-3 fatty acids found in seafood have been shown to reduce inflammation and triglycerides, and in turn reduce blood pressure,
How much sodium should I consume from eating seafood?
While there is no specific amount of sodium recommended per meal, a healthy person should aim to get less than 1,700-2,000 mg per day - and less is even better. Saltwater fish - which most wild fish we eat are - spend their life in salt, so naturally their flesh picks up a bit more sodium than land-based animals. That being said, most seafood options are still well under recommended limits. Of the high omega 3 species I mentioned above, halibut, salmon, sablefish, striped bass, and shad all have less than 90 mg of sodium in a four-ounce serving. Anchovies, mackerel and oysters are below 120 mg and sardines bump up to 500 mg.
I love seafood! My family does too. Our question is why so much of what's available at the grocery store is a product of China? We try to watch the country of origin on food and other products and are disappointed there is limited availability of US seafood products. What can we do to have more choices?
According to NOAA, we in the US import more than 90% of the seafood we eat. So, although domestic choices are limited that doesn’t mean choice is limited. The array of seafood choices we have is stunning.
In aquaculture as in any business there are those who practice well and those who practice poorly. The key here is to figure out who practices well. There are many groups that rate or certify fish production practices such as Aquaculture Stewardship Council, Marine Stewardship Council, Best Aquaculture Practices, FishWise, National Aquarium, Aquarium of the Pacific and Seafood Watch. Additionally, many grocers are deeply and broadly knowledgeable about seafood; engage your retailer in a discussion.
About Scott Nichols
Scott Nichols is the founder and principal of Food’s Future, LLC and works to accelerate aquaculture’s contribution to our future food supply. Prior to founding Food's Future, Scott was co-founder and managing director at Verlasso Harmoniously Raised Fish.
To learn more, visit foodsfuture.org and follow Scott on Twitter.
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