June is Seafood Month!

Get Your Summer Seafood Fix

Seafood is a popular dietary option packed full of key nutrients that will keep you strong and healthy, and it’s no wonder. Seafood tastes amazing and the high quality fare is fairly easy to find if you know where to look. It’s also quite easy and quick to prepare for family meals on a time schedule. Fish as a general rule is very high in protein and very low in fat. This doesn’t stand true for things like shellfish which can be a less-smart choice for people with cholesterol problems. Fish are very high in OMEGA-3 vitamins which are essential to healthy living. OMEGA-3s can keep your eyes working like they should, improve brain function, and are believed to help with cardiovascular problems. The low-fat, high protein option is also good for those seeking to lose weight.

What to Know When Buying

Because the water they live in may be contaminated, it is important to be cautious when eating wild-caught seafood. Knowing where your fish is from and what fish are more prone to high levels of contamination from metals like mercury can help to ensure your safety. Tuna is especially noteable as having high levels of mercury. It’s important to know that eating these fish in moderation is fine for most people. You can often find recommended quantities online so that you can continue to enjoy your favorite food without worrying about your safety. Getting your fish from a good fish market can also help to ensure that you’re getting high quality cuts with the least possible contamination. It’s important to remember when buying fish that it should not smell ‘fishy’. Some seafood has more odor than others, but be aware that if it smells overwhelmingly it probably is.

Flavors and Food Ideas

With white fishes like cod, catfish, haddock, trout, and flounder, the taste is incredibly mild and can be paired almost any way you can think of. Fish sticks are a popular way to get kids into eating fish, but the breading is often unhealthy. Opt to bread them in whole wheat flour or panko bread crumbs for a healthier touch, and choose oils like olive or coconut oil to create a different flavor while increasing the healthiness of the meals. Alternatively, baking your breaded fish sticks adds a whole new flavor and make an already yummy snack even better for you!

Some fish like salmon have a stronger flavor and need to be paired with light sides that will enhance but not overwhelm the natural flavor of the fish. Consider pairing a baked salmon filet with a bed of brown or long-grain wild rice and some rosemary.

Sushi – what are the risks?

In recent years raw or undercooked fish has become a fad in the United States. Sushi, while delicious, does come with its own set of risks that everyone should be aware of. First off, it is often incredibly salty- either the fish or rice itself, or the soy sauce used with it. People who are watching their sodium should avoid this treat. It is also important when eating sushi to be sure that only high quality fish is used. Also, FDA regulations require all fish that is served raw to be flash-frozen to kill potential parasites, so finding any of that is likely very rare. Still, it is important to know what you’re up against and ways to keep yourself safe. The most common parasites are worms that can cause issues with your digestive tract. Training to be a sushi chef takes years and the qualified professionals know what to look for and usually spot issues with the fish before it is served.

Eating fish that come from salt water environments can decrease your chances of getting sick from these parasites, as does using the wasabi that comes with your sushi. Tuna is the most resilient of the fish that is commonly used in sushi, so sticking to it will also lower your risk.
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Sources: Renegade Health and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies

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