I just read in the Executive Living section of Saturday’s Australian that we should be eating more fish.
Well I have know this for awhile 🙂
But given the disposition of most periodicals with respect to seafood I almost fell over to see it in print.
But I have to agree.
Seafood is a super food. It has no preservatives, emulsifiers, colours, acidity regulators or other dubious additives (it is simply ‘what you see is what you get’). Seafood contains all sorts of proteins and minerals that our bodies just love and can’t get from other food sources efficiently. And what’s more the harvest of seafood requires less environmental modification that organic vegetables, and free range livestock. And unlike the fishstocks of the late 1980s and early 1990’s, domestic fishstocks are increasingly meticulously managed as are the effects of harvest on the environment…
But instead of providing you with some personal declamation on the benefits of of fruits de Mer; I have included a rather more refined discourse from the Australian’s food editor Necia Wilden‘s entitled 9 reasons why we should eat more fish:
1. Get With the Strength: Fish is the world’s most traded protein, and it’s twice the size of the coffee trade. It had an estimated export value of $US136 billion last year, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation. And it will be even more important in future. As World Aquaculture Society president Graham Mair points out, by the end of this century we will need to produce the same amount of food as we produced in the past 10,000 years, so aquaculture will be pivotal to global food security.
2. Health: Yes, of course you already knew fish is good for you. Just how good? Have a look at the accompanying graph, published earlier this month in a report by the High Level Panel of Experts to the UN Committee on World Food Security: the case for obtaining your essential omega-3 fatty acids from fish just keeps getting stronger (and, yes, the authors say it is indeed correct that the level of iron in beef is lower than in most fish, particularly small freshwater fish). At the same time, in light of increasing evidence of neurodevelopmental benefits from eating fish, the US Food and Drug Administration has revised its dietary recommendations to encourage pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and young children to eat more of it — two to three servings a week — from choices low in mercury.
3. We were meant to eat it: Remember Sam Neill in those red meat ads? Well, sorry Sam, but it was the Neanderthals who ate lots of red meat. Modern humans became modern by eating lots of oysters, mussels and fish (paleo nuts, take note). As a Scientific American article, “When the Sea Saved Humanity”, reveals, when the number of breeding humans crashed to about 600 in five locations across Africa, it was seafood and root vegetables that helped us survive, not steak.
4. It tastes better: Of course, we’d all like to eat wild fish that jumped into the boat on a longline shortly before hitting our plates. We’re dreaming, mostly. Fact is, thanks to advances in aquaculture combined with a more focused approach to eating quality, the best farmed fish in Australia is emulating those desirable wild-caught characteristics of flavour and texture. (See breakout.)
5. Dementia prevention: In Don’t Miss the Bus, a new book drawing on the latest findings in neuroscience from the University of California, South Australian author Rex J. Lipman names a list of a dozen “Gold Medal” food groups vital to maintaining brain health and preventing dementia and Alzheimer’s. The only animal products on the list are fish — specifically salmon, trout and sardines — and dairy foods.
6. Weight loss: Seafood can help tackle the global obesity crisis, says health writer Martin Bowerman, author of Lean Forever: The Scientific Secrets of Permanent Weight Loss. Speaking at World Aquaculture Adelaide, Bowerman said fish provided more protein for comparably lower calorie intake than other meats and this “calorie efficiency” was key to a high-protein weight-loss diet.
7. The Price of Fish: Yes, I too have seen King George whiting at up to $84 a kilogram at my local market. But fish doesn’t have to be just a Good Friday luxury. Ask your fishmonger for these delicious, underrated, affordable species, among others: sardines, blue mussels, banana prawns, albacore tuna, pink snapper and eastern school whiting.
8. Sustainability: While all farmed animals need to be fed, aquaculture represents the most efficient method by which to convert feed to edible protein. And some species, such as the molluscs, oysters and mussels, do not need to be fed at all.
9. It will help you live longer: In a recent report prepared for Canada’s aquaculture industry, How Higher Seafood Consumption Can Save Lives, the authors quote a study from Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Washington that found older adults with high blood levels of fish-derived fatty acids lived, on average, 2.2 years longer than those with lower levels. “Increasing levels of fish consumption (to the recommended levels) could save about 7000 lives (in Canada) a year,” the report concluded.