Friday, January 10, 2014

The Healthiest Food You Can Eat?

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) the leading cause of death in the U.S. is heart disease, killing nearly 600,000 people each year. What might be your best, and easiest, way of reducing your chances of heart disease by over one-third?

The answer: Eat more seafood!

In the latest issue of Urner Barry's Reporter (Winter 2014), there is an article by Linda Cornish, the Executive Director of the Seafood Nutrition Partnership, reiterating the sentiment that Americans need to eat more seafood for all its health benefits. Back in March 2010, I posted about the significant health benefits of seafood, and I have repeated my words a few times since then. And I am here to sound the horn once again, because it is so important an issue.

As I have mentioned previously, Americans' annual seafood consumption has been on the decline, down to 14.6 pounds per person in 2012. The USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that people should actually consume about 26 pounds of seafood, more than 11 pounds the current average consumption. The recommendation is that people should consume seafood twice a week. Do you reach that goal?

Seafood is so healthy because it can contain significant amounts of Omega-3s, fatty acids including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Since the 1970s, over 20,000 research studies have been conducted on the health benefits of EPA and DHA. The main conclusion is that eating seafood twice a week reduces the chances of dying from heart disease by 36%. You probably won't find another single food that has been scientifically proven to reduce heart disease so significantly.

It is easy enough to eat seafood twice a week, and the health benefit is enormous. Reducing the chance of dying by the #1 killer by 36% is something everyone should desire. Unless you are allergic to seafood, then there really is little excuse not to eat it at least twice a week. Some people in the media, for the sake of garnering a greater audience, have magnified the potential dangers of seafood, ignoring the overwhelming benefits derived from seafood. These fear tactics though should not prevent you from consuming more seafood.

For example, the CDC noted that from 1998-2008, there were 1451 deaths in the U.S. from foodborne illnesses. Only 94 of those deaths were attributable from seafood while 278 were from poultry, 240 from vegetables and 140 from red meat. As for the risk from mercury, PCBs and dioxins in seafood, that danger is extremely low, and far outweighed by the health benefits. See my prior article for more info on that issue.

If you are considering resolutions for 2014, then endeavor to eat seafood at least twice a week. Of everything you can do for your health, it may be one of the most helpful, with proven scientific results. What's your excuse for not eating enough seafood?

1 comment:

Thoughts on Design said...

I agree. Yet, you still need to be careful of your food sources. The data on farm raised salmon is scary. Full of pesticides and chemicals. Meat color is enhanced with food additives, etc. So if you can, by fresh and buy local.

John Kelsey