Seafood ranks among the highest-quality sources of protein for athletes—right up there with eggs, poultry and dairy. Since October is National Seafood Month, there's no better time to talk about how you can reap the benefits of adding seafood to your diet.
Nutritional Benefits of Seafood
- High levels of vitamin B, which helps convert protein and sugar to energy.
- Reduces your risk of heart disease by 36 percent.
- Improves memory and sharpness thanks to omega-3 fatty acids, which help keep athletes both physically and mentally in shape for game day. Omega-3 fatty acids also help reduce inflammation post-workout.
- Fattier fish provides a good source of vitamin D and vitamin A.
- Canned fish (salmon and sardines), which contain bones softened during the canning process (don't worry, you can't taste or feel them), can be a good source of calcium.
USDA dietary guidelines recommend eating seafood twice per week; however, only one in five Americans actually do this. Perhaps this is because there is so much confusion about what kind to buy, the price and the logistics of preparing seafood at home.
Here are some tips on how to make eating seafood twice per week more of a reality:
- Confused by the labels in the grocery store? Look for MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) and BAP (Best Aquaculture Practices), which "defines the most important elements of responsible aquaculture and provides quantitative guidelines by which to evaluate adherence to those practices."
- Don't forget about frozen and canned options. These are more manageable in terms of planing ahead and not having to use fresh seafood within 1 or 2 days of purchasing. Canned salmon, tuna and sardines are great options. Gorton's is a great brand of frozen seafood, free of preservatives and artifical flavoring and responsibly sourced.
- Know the facts! Seafood can seem ovewhelming if you are not used to prepping it regularly. Yet most cuts of fish actually cook in 15 minutes or less.
- Plan recipes ahead of time. Whether it's fish tacos, salmon cakes or a simple tuna salad, have a plan in mind before purchasing your seafood so you have ingredients and side items to complement it.
Here are some great seafood recipes for you to try, using a combination of fresh, frozen and canned sources.
- Kath Eat's Real Food: Simple Sardine Salad
- Seafood Nutrition Partnership: Gluten Free Grilled Tilapia Tacos (using Gorton's frozen fish)
- Real Simple: One Pot Salmon with Snap Peas and Rice
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