Seafood is a healthy choice for people of all ages. It provides high-quality protein and a wide range of important vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids.
Seafood is an excellent source of lean and easily digestible protein. A 100 g serving of seafood can provide almost half of an adults daily protein needs for only 100-200 calories. Fish and shellfish contain protein that includes all of the essential amino acids, making it a complete source of protein.
Seafood is considered to be a low calorie food when compared to other protein-rich foods such as meat and poultry. Most lean or lower fat species of fish, such as cod or flounder, contain 100 calories per 100 g, and even the fattier fish like mackerel and herring, contain approximately 200 calories or less in a 100 g serving.
Fish and shellfish are considered to be low in both total fat and saturated fats, generally containing less than 5% total fat in lean fish (e.g.: cod, flounder) and 15% total fat in fattier fish (e.g.: mackerel, herring, salmon). A large portion of the fat in seafood is unsaturated and contains a unique kind of polyunsaturated fat, called omega-3 fatty acids that can provide additional health benefits, are crucial for body and brain function and are strongly linked to reduce the risk of many diseases.
Generally, most types of seafood contain well under 100 mg of cholesterol per 100 g serving and many leaner types of fish have less than 60 mg. Shrimp, however, contain somewhat higher levels with 170 mg per 100 g, while squid is the only seafood that has a significantly elevated cholesterol content which averages almost 400 mg per 100 g.
Fish are naturally low in sodium and even those species with the highest sodium levels contain less than 100 mg per 100 g portion. Most shellfish have more sodium ranging from 100-500 mg per serving, while products that are brine frozen may contain as must has 800-1000 mg of sodium per serving.
Vitamins and Minerals
Seafood is generally considered to be a reasonable but not particularly rich source of vitamins. Fish have levels of B vitamins that are similar to other protein-rich foods, while fattier fish can be a good source of Vitamin D and A.
Most seafood are a reasonable source of minerals, such as phosphorus, potassium, selenium, while shellfish can be a good source of iron, zinc, magnesium, copper, iodine and other trace minerals.