The NHS recommends we include at least 2 portions of seafood per week in our diet. But why? What does seafood offer that other foods can’t? We asked certified MNU Nutritionist and coach Ros Mutch of Ros Mutch Nutrition why including seafood in our diet is so essential to overall health:
Why Should We Eat More Fish?
According to Ros:
Whether your goal is weight loss, muscle building or looking after your health in general, fish is a fantastic option and its recommended you eat at least 2 portions per week, which 1 portion being from oily fish.
“Fish is an excellent source of protein which is an essential part of our diet” Ros continues, “It is needed for various functions including maintaining, building and repairing tissue such as muscle – an important consideration as we age.”
What health benefits does fish provide?
“Fish is vital for carrying oxygen to cells through our blood and it also keeps us fuller for longer so if weight loss is your goal, this helps reduce feelings of hunger”, explains Ros.
“Fish is a rich source of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids,” she continues. “These essential fatty acids, known more commonly as Omega-3 and Omega-6, must be consumed as they can’t be made in our bodies. Oily fish is one of the best sources of Omega -3 fatty acids, found in salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines.”
Why is Omega-3 so important?
In the past few decades, many studies have been conducted on the myriad health benefits of omega-3 , including reduced risk of heart disease and possibly a reduced likelihood of behavioural problems, depression and inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, PCOS and endometriosis.
Described for years as ‘brain food’, the fats in fish play an important role in brain development due to these Omega-3 fatty acids. Brain cells with higher levels of Omega-3 in their membranes are though to be better at communicating with other cells in the body, a pretty important function as the brain is the control centre of your body!
Other research has shown a link between Omega-3 fatty acids and reduced vision impairment, especially in older adults.
So is it just oily fish that matters?
“No,.” disagrees Ros. “While oily fish provides excellent health benefits, white fish are also known for their heart health properties! Lower in calories and lower in fats that oily fish, they are an excellent choice for anyone looking to lose weight.”
What other benefits does seafood provide?
“Fish is a great source of selenium, which has also been linked to protection against heart disease and supporting your immune system,” explains Ros.
“It’s also a good source of iodine, which is another essential mineral and must be consumed in our diet. Iodine is vital for thyroid function, and for the role it plays in bone and brain development. Fish, and seaweed are good sources of iodine.”
How do we judge a portion size?
“A great way to gauge a portion is to use your palm size and thickness as a guide,” Ros demonstrates, holding up her hand.
“With so many benefits, it’s easy to see why we should include more fish in our diet” she concludes.
Hi, I’m Ros. I’m a fully qualified and insured MNU Certified nutritionist. I will coach you to live a sustainable, healthy lifestyle that frees you from the endless cycle of dieting. I specialise in fat loss and have helped clients with PCOS, Type 2 diabetes , IBS, heath disease and obesity. I also work with sporting clients, helping them to improve performance through enhanced nutrition and have a particular interest in weight, sports and endurance events.