Is the food you’re eating working for you? We’re not talking about just the taste. We’re asking if the nutrients the food provides are helping you stay healthy. Not all foods are created equal when it comes to providing vitamins, minerals, and other benefits we need to stay healthy. One category of food stands above the competition when it comes to healthy eating: seafood. And we’re not just saying that because we sell seafood. It’s science, baby! Studies confirm you can boost your immune system with seafood.
Research Shows Eating Seafood Boosts the Immune System
When researchers examined some of the healthiest regional cuisines in the world—Mediterranean, Japanese, and Nordic, among others—there were a few key similarities between them. One of those similarities was their reliance on seafood. An analysis by the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) of 20 such studies involving hundreds of thousands of participants showed that eating two or more servings of seafood each week boosted the immune system of the studies’ participants.
Many varieties of seafood contain essential nutrients that support the immune system by promoting overall health and reducing inflammation. This can help to avoid illness, recover faster when you get sick, and aid in preventing the development of chronic health conditions in the future.
The HSPH concluded that "one to two 3-ounce servings of fatty fish a week—salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, or sardines—reduces the risk of dying from heart disease by 36 percent."
The authors continued by describing "known or likely" benefits:
"Eating about 2 grams per week of omega-3 fatty acids in fish, equal to about one or two servings of fatty fish a week, reduces the chances of dying from heart disease by more than one-third. … Both observational studies and controlled trials have also demonstrated that the omega-3 fats in fish are important for optimal development of a baby’s brain and nervous system, and that the children of women who consume lower amounts of fish or omega-3’s during pregnancy and breast-feeding have evidence of delayed brain development."
The HSPH analysis also detailed some "possible" benefits of eating fish:
"Eating fish once or twice a week may also reduce the risk of stroke, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and other chronic conditions."
"Eating fish fights heart disease in several ways,” the authors of the analysis explained. “The omega-3 fats in fish protect the heart against the development of erratic and potentially deadly cardiac rhythm disturbances. They also lower blood pressure and heart rate, improve blood vessel function, and, at higher doses, lower triglycerides and may ease inflammation. The strong and consistent evidence for benefits is such that the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the American Heart Association, and others suggest that everyone eat fish twice a week."
Essential Nutrients Found in Seafood
When talking about nutrients found in seafood, many may already be aware that salmon is loaded with them, but shellfish are often overlooked as a great source for vitamins and minerals too.
Salmon is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help with inflammation and can, when consumed regularly, significantly lower the risk of heart disease. Salmon is also an excellent source of vitamin D and the antioxidant selenium, both of which support immune health.
Other types of fish with omega-3 fatty acids include herring, sardines, anchovies, halibut, rainbow trout, and tuna.
Crab meat is a high-protein meat source that comes packed with vitamins and minerals. Crab could be added to the growing list of “superfoods” health experts recommend.
Crab meat offers a whopping 16 grams of protein per 3 oz. serving. Crab meat also contains vitamins B12 and C, and the antioxidants zinc and selenium. Zinc helps support bone mass and immune function, while selenium aids in preventing cellular damage. And there’s more. Crab meat is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help lower inflammation and can reduce the risk of heart disease.