Why Seafood’s Key to Essential Fatty Acids

By , Category : Food and Nutrition

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Seafood is high in EPA and DHA, which play a huge role in brain health.Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are exactly what they sound like—they’re something you must have. The only way to get EFAs is through your diet. Your body needs EFAs to be healthy, but it can’t synthesize these beneficial nutrients on its own. You have to consume certain foods to get enough EFAs into your diet, and that likely means adding seafood to your meals. There are still many of you out there who prefer to cook a steak or a chicken breast, but here’s some solid proof that you need to get some fish broiling in the oven, too.

German researchers have just reconfirmed that seafood, such as fish and shellfish, contains many nutrients beneficial for the human diet, like n-3 polyunsaturated long chain fatty acids (PUFAs). In particular, the researchers were talking about eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

EPA and DHA combine to play a huge role in the health of your brain. These two fatty acids help preserve your thinking processes and memory, acting as a shield against Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Not only that, but seafood also contains essential elements, such as selenium and iodine. When you’re deficient in selenium, you may be opening the door to a number of health conditions like cancer, HIV, tuberculosis, and diabetes. But before you run out and buy a selenium supplement, you should know that you only need a trace amount of the mineral—too much is toxic to your body. It’s better to get selenium in its natural form by eating seafood.

As for iodine, it helps to keep your thyroid running smoothly. Your thyroid is a regulator of your metabolic rate. Iodine is needed for the production of key thyroid hormones.

Now, what else can eating seafood once or twice a week do for you? It can give you a healthy dose of potassium, vitamins D, A, E, and B12, as well as taurine, among other nutrients.

Seafood is high in protein that’s highly digestible due to its low connective tissue content (unlike red meat). Fish is low in cholesterol content.

The only downside to eating fish is that its habitat has become polluted. This means there is the possibility of health risks associated with organic pollutants, toxins, parasites, and heavy metals. However, many studies have proven that the benefits of fish intake exceed the potential risks, even for vulnerable consumers.

For more on the issue of toxins and fish, read “The Lowdown About Mercury in Fish.

Sources for Today’s Articles:
Why Seafood’s Key to Essential Fatty Acids
Oehlenschlager, J., “Seafood: nutritional benefits and risk aspects,” Int J Vitam Nutr Res. June 2012; 82(3): 168–76; 10.1024/0300-9831/a000108.




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Dr. Richard Foxx, MD

About the Author, Browse Richard's Articles

Richard M. Foxx, MD has decades of medical experience with a comprehensive background in endocrinology, aesthetic and laser medicine, gynecology, and sports medicine. He has extensive experience with professional athletes, including several Olympic competitors. Dr. Foxx practices aesthetic and laser medicine, integrative medicine, and anti-aging medicine. He is the founder and Medical Director of the Medical and Skin Spa located in Indian Wells, California, at the Hyatt Regency Resort. Dr. Foxx is certified by the National Board of Medical Examiners... Read Full Bio »