6 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Eating Seafood

The idea that eating seafood benefits your health is nothing new — human history is loaded with civilizations that have flourished on fish-rich diets. However, modern science continues to find evidence supporting the many direct benefits of seafood consumption. Whether you're eating seafood for weight loss, better heart health, lean protein, or simply great taste, we now know eating fish and shellfish offers all of the following health benefits.

1. Nutritional benefits

While fish is generally known to be an optimal source of protein, evidence shows the benefits of seafood consumption include a wider range of vital nutrients than you may realize. Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which (as we'll see below) benefit the body in many ways. They're an incredible source of vitamin D, a nutrient of which most Americans are deficient. They also pack in vitamin A, and B-complex. Meanwhile, most shellfish prove excellent sources of iron, zinc, and vitamin B12.

2. Seafood for weight loss

While more than capable of providing vital protein to our diets, fish does so with far fewer calories and much lower fat content than meat sources. Studies find that in one week, dieters who replace five beef or pork dishes with equivalent servings of fish and shellfish may lose up to four additional pounds!

3. Cardiovascular health benefits

Fish and shellfish are low in saturated fats and cholesterol, which means as great as seafood is for weight loss, it's also an unparalleled protein source for a heart-healthy diet. Even more so, research has shown that eating seafood rich in omega-3 fatty acids lower blood pressure and cholesterol, significantly reducing the risk of heart attacks, arrhythmia, and strokes. The big surprise here is that the more fatty fish offer the most heart-healthy benefits. Salmon provides an especially rich source, but even shellfish can provide the recommended daily intake when it's not overcooked.

4. Cognitive and emotional health benefits

Omega-3 fatty acids don't just help the heart, they protect the brain. The evidence is mounting that eating seafood benefits cognitive development in young people and maintains cognitive health in adults who routinely eat fish and shellfish over the course of their lives. Some studies even indicate the benefits of seafood consumption include protecting the brain from memory loss and debilitating diseases such as Alzheimer's. Studies also show that regularly eating fish and shellfish makes a person less likely to suffer from depression.

5. Autoimmune health benefits

Your immune system also benefits from omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to strengthen your immune response, while preventing detrimental over-responses, as experienced with asthma and allergies. The immune system benefits of seafood consumption even extend to diabetes, as omega-3 consumption has been shown to reduce the risk of the autoimmune condition in both children and adults.

6. Anti-aging properties

If you're not sold on the seafood benefits contained in omega-3 fatty acids, consider that they've been proven to counter several of the degenerative effects associated with aging. For example, they preserve eyesight, reducing macular degeneration and even promoting better night vision. Regular seafood consumption has also been shown to be healthful for your joints, even relieving the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. And our vanity benefits more than merely eating seafood for weight loss — the fatty acids can also protect your skin over time, protecting against sun damage, increasing moisture, and thereby extending the lifespan of your healthy, youthful glow! 

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