Seafood is a powerhouse of nutrients and can be a great addition to your meal plan when trying to eat healthy to manage diabetes. Let’s look at all the nutrition benefits that seafood offers and some creative ways to incorporate it in your daily diet.
Why is Seafood a Healthy Choice?
Protein- all seafood is a good source of protein: white fishes like cod, halibut, tilapia and sole as well as shellfish, are lean sources of protein, that are low in fat and calories. While fishes like salmon, tuna and mackerel contain more fat and calories, they are nutritious, and these fattier fishes still contain a great deal of protein.
Omega Fatty Acids- as previously mentioned above, fishes like salmon, tuna and mackerel are high in fat, but contain healthy essential fats called omega fatty acids which have been linked to helping improve inflammation and decreasing the risk of heart disease.
Vitamins and minerals- fish like sardines, salmon and anchovies (canned with the bones), along with scallops, have plenty of calcium. Salmon and halibut are good sources of vitamin D,
iron and vitamin C. Shellfish like clams, oysters and mussels are rich in iron, as is tuna. Having seafood with vitamin c rich foods like peppers, tomatoes and citrus fruits can help enhance the iron absorption in your body.
Minimal carbohydrates- because seafood is primarily a protein food (and some fish contains unsaturated fat) it is very low in carbohydrates and consuming it will not lead to spikes in blood sugars.
Low in trans and saturated fats- some fishes, like whitefish contain very little fat and those that do, contain unsaturated fat, instead of the trans and saturated fats which are linked to health conditions such as heart disease or cancer. Shellfish does contain cholesterol, yet research shows that dietary cholesterol has only a minimal impact on blood cholesterol in comparison with saturated and trans fats.
Ways to Add More Seafood to Your Diet
So now you know what a great source of nutrition seafood is, but what are some ways to add it to your daily diet? Check out these easy suggestions below:
- Aim for two servings of fish or seafood a week, with a serving being 3-6 ounces of cooked fish or ¾ cup of flaked fish per the American Heart Association Guidelines
- If seafood is new for you, start with easy dishes like simple grilled fish, or canned tuna.
- Explore different ways of preparing and including seafood in meals by looking at recipe websites and cookbooks.
- Add fish to the grill for no fuss preparation and serve it with a side of cooked veggies, in a sandwich or on top of a salad.
- Fill corn tortillas with grilled fish or shrimp and top with your favorite salsa for delicious and healthy tacos.
- Use shrimp in stir fries with your favorite veggies and sauce.
- Make light tuna salad with low fat Greek yogurt, chopped celery and garlic powder.
- Roast fish or shellfish in the oven with veggies for a quick one sheet pan meal.
- Serve smoked salmon with eggs on a whole wheat bagel for a breakfast treat.