Seafood Week, in the UK, and the countdown is on ... because it runs from Friday 9th to Friday 16th of October. Funny how it starts on a Friday! F is for Fish and F is for Friday!
The aim of Seafood Week is simple; to get more people, to eat more fish, more often! You can find out more here.
Research has shown that eating fish and shellfish regularly is beneficial to our bodies in many ways; here are ten great reasons to introduce a little more seafood into your diet.
1. Great for your heart:
It's no coincidence that fish-eating Inuit populations in the Arctic have low levels of heart disease; seafood is low in saturated fat and high in omega-3, (which can both) protect the heart from disease and lower the amount of cholesterol in the blood. One study has even suggested that an extra portion of fish every week can cut risk of heart disease in half.
2. Clearing the vessels:
Eating fish can improve your circulation and reduce the risk of thrombosis. The EPA and DHA - omega-3 oils - in seafood can save your body from having to produce eicosanoids, a hormone-like substance which can make you more likely to suffer from blood clots and inflammation.
3. Joint benefits:
Eating fish as a regular part of a balanced diet has been shown to ease the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, a condition which causes the joins to swell up. Recent research has also found a link between omega-3 fats and osteoarthritis, suggesting that eating more seafood could help to prevent the disease.
4. The eyes have it:
Eating oil-rich fish regularly can help to keep the eyes bright and healthy. A recent study has suggested that omega-3 fatty acids can help to protect the eyesight of those suffering from age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition which causes the retina to degenerate and the eyesight to become blurred. Fish and shellfish also contain retinol, a form of vitamin A which boosts night vision.
5. Essential nutrients:
Seafood provides the body with many essential nutrients which keep us running smoothly, including iodine, selenium, zinc and potassium. Iodine is important for the thyroid gland, and selenium makes enzymes which can help to protect us from cancer. Fish and shellfish are also excellent sources of many vitamins, including vitamins A and D.
6. Take a deep breath:
A number of studies have indicated that fish and shellfish may help to protect our lungs. Not only can seafood relieve the symptoms of asthma in children, but it has shown signs of preventing it. Eating a lot of fish can also keep your lungs stronger and healthier as you age in comparison to those who don't eat a lot of fish.
7. Brighten your outlook:
Seafood may also play a large part in preventing depression; research has highlighted links between low omega-3 levels and a higher risk of depression. Seafood could also help us to avoid Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and post-natal depression.
8. Your skin looks great:
Not only does omega-3 help to protect the skin from the harmful effects of the UV damage, but eating lots of fish can also help with the symptoms of skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Fish is also a great source of protein, which is an essential ingredient of collagen, a substance which keeps the skin firm and flexible.
9. Good for down below:
Evidence suggests that a diet rich in fish oils can help to protect us against serious inflammatory bowel diseases (BD) including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. There is also evidence to suggest that omega-3 could help to slow the progression of inflammatory bowel disease in some sufferers.
10. Boost your brainpower:
The human brain is almost 60% fat, with much of this being omega-3 fat. Probably for this reason, research has indicated that people who eat plenty of seafood are less likely to suffer dementia and memory problems in later life. DHA, an omega-3 fat found in seafood, has also been linked to improvements in children's concentration, reading skills, behaviour, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).