If I asked you what was the number one thing you could do to live longer, what would you say? You might say “quit smoking” or “lower my stress levels” and those would both be very good moves toward having a longer, healthier life. But in terms of diet–the biggest thing you can do is to eat more seafood. A 2015 study found that people with the highest fish intake had a significantly lower risk of dying from all causes. But Americans are nowhere near getting enough seafood. In fact, only 10 percent of the population gets the recommended 8 to 12 ounces per week.
Fish and shellfish are low in calories, low in saturated fat, a great source of protein, and one of the main sources of omega-3 fatty acids (both DHA and EPA) in our food supply. And not only does fish consumption cut down on various risk factors for disease in both men and women, it’s also incredibly important when it comes to having a healthy baby.
The seafood guidelines for pregnant and breastfeeding women was recently updated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in January 2017. The guidelines recommend that pregnant and breastfeeding women eat 8-12 ounces of a variety of fish each week. The high mercury fish that should be avoided by these groups, as well as young children, are tilefish, shark, swordfish, orange roughy, bigeye (Ahi) tuna, marlin and king mackerel.
Growing babies need omega-3 fats for their developing brains and nervous systems. Research by the FDA shows that when a mom-to-be eats the recommended 2-3 servings of seafood each week, her baby gains about 2.6 IQ points. To me, that’s reason enough to dig in!
But, currently, pregnant women are only eating a half of a serving of fish per week, which is not even close to the recommended amount. Ladies—listen up! Even if you’re not a huge fan of the stuff, it’s super important to eat it, so let’s find ways to like it. In addition to salmon, anchovies, sardines, cod and scallops, albacore tuna is also a fantastic source of DHA omega-3.
And guess what–little kids’ brains keep developing and need those amazing omega-3s for their noggins to continue to grow and develop. Kids over age 2 should be eating 1-2 servings of fish each week. A serving size for a child is more like 2 ounces, compared to the 4-ounce serving recommended for adults.
Just Eat It!
So, if you’re already a seafood lover, you might say that you enjoy eating it, but it’s too expensive or inconvenient to make. If you’re not a seafood lover, it may be because you’re not sure how to safely prepare it, or perhaps you don’t like the flavor. To all of these points I will still say, eat more! It’s that important. And really, nothing could be more simple than opening a can or pouch of tuna, adding a few ingredients and serving it on top of a green salad or whole grain bread. I enjoy premium, wild-caught Bumble Bee Solid White Albacore. Per the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), each 4 oz serving of albacore tuna contains a whopping 1,000 mg of DHA and EPA combined.
Here are a few other ideas for enjoying albacore tuna:
I love making rice bowls because they’re visually appealing and you can include all different flavors and textures. In a large, shallow bowl, make a base with 1 cup of cooked brown or white rice. Add in ¼ cup of shredded carrots, ¼ cup of sliced radishes, ¼ cup of sugar snap peas or snow peas, ¼ of an avocado, and 2 ounces (1/2 can) of albacore tuna. Add a drizzle of sriracha or another Asian-style sauce, mix and enjoy!
Tuna + crackers:
Afternoon snacks are a great time to boost your protein intake and fit in another serving of seafood. I like to top whole grain crackers with a small piece of aged cheddar and a little tuna. You can certainly dress up the tuna with a little mayonnaise and lemon juice or simply us it as is. Serve with apple slices or grapes. This makes an easy, healthy after school snack as well.
We have three kids, so we always keep boxes of pasta on hand. I love taking a pound of cooked penne or rigatoni and tossing it with 2 cups cooked frozen peas, 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan, 2 tablespoons of EVOO and 1-2 cans of albacore tuna. It’s delicious fresh and hot, or chilled and served as a pasta salad. This healthy dish is versatile, budget-friendly and super satisfying. It’s a triple win!
It’s fine to take baby steps to work up to your 8 to 12 ounces a week. It’s a delicious step you can take toward living your healthiest life ever!
Blog post content sponsored by Bumble Bee