North Carolina Sea Grant

April 14, 2010 | David Green

seafood is health food

You’ve probably heard of omega-3 fatty acids. Including more omega-3 fats in your diet is a common recommendation for improving heart health and preventing some chronic diseases. In North Carolina, you only need to look as far as the coastal waters or inland rivers and lakes to find natural sources of omega-3s. The American Heart Association recommends consumers eat a “fatty-type” fish at least twice a week (0.5 – 1.8 grams per day), giving you regular doses of these beneficial nutrients. Regular consumption of seafood has been shown to improve a number of diseases and disorders including coronary heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disorders, periodontal disease, mental disorders, and more.

The table below lists fish and shellfish commonly farmed or caught in North Carolina. You can compare their grams (g) of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) per 3.5-oz serving. EPA and DHA are both important omega-3 fats. Not surprisingly, the highest amounts of omega-3 fats are found in fish oils, which are often sold as food supplement capsules. So add North Carolina seafood at least twice a week to your diet. Your culinary enjoyment today might mean some healthy payoffs for a lifetime!


Data from the USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory.

Contributed by David Green

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