Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Consuming Seafood

The average intake of seafood in the US is about 3.5 ounces per week. That amounts to about 1 serving. One of the recommendations from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines is to increase consumption of fish and seafood. Increase consumption of something, now ain’t that good news! Before you get too excited, increasing consumption of seafood does not mean you get to increase total food consumption. Remember, most of us could stand to reduce total calorie intake.

In recent years, moderate evidence has emerged about the health benefits of consuming seafood. The guidelines recommend increasing consumption of seafood to 8 or more ounces per week (less for young children). Seafood contributes a range of nutrients, notably the omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Moderate evidence shows that consumption of about 8 ounces per week of a variety of seafood, which provide an average consumption of 250 mg per day of EPA and DHA, is associated with reduced cardiac deaths among individuals with and without pre-existing cardiovascular disease.

There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids. Two, EPA and DHA, are found mostly in coldwater fish. Fish that live in cold water have adapted to higher omega-3s allowing the fat in their tissues stays liquid. Salmon contains the highest amount of omega-3s, followed by trout, white tuna, king mackerel, sea bass, herring, oysters, and sardines. The third type of omega-3, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is found in plant sources, such as flaxseed, English walnuts, soy, wheat germ and canola oil. Most potential health benefits are attributed to EPA and DHA, which are readily absorbed and put to use. Your body converts ALA to EPA, and to a lesser extent, DHA. However, this process is relatively inefficient. Only about 5% is converted to EPA.

If you are looking for tasty ways to increase your consumption of seafood, give these recipes for salmon and catfish a try.

Mustard Crusted Salmon

Serves 4.


1 pound salmon fillets, cut into 4 portions
¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
¼ cup reduced-fat sour cream
2 Tablespoons coarse grained mustard
1 Tablespoon lemon juice, preferably fresh
Lemon wedges for garnish


1. Preheat broiler. Line a broiler pan or baking sheet with foil, then coat with cooking spray.

2. Place salmon pieces, skin –side down, on the prepared pan. Season with salt and pepper. Combine sour cream, mustard and lemon juice in small bowl. Spread evenly over the salmon.

3. Broil the salmon 5 inches from the heat source until it is opaque in the center, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.

Source: The Essential Eating Well Cookbook, 2004

Lemon Pepper Catfish


1 Tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt
1-2 teaspoons finely crushed black peppercorns
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon butter, melted
4 catfish fillets, about 1 pound total
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice


1. In a small bowl combine flour, cornstarch, salt, and black pepper. Add vegetable oil and butter. Stir to combine.

2. Pat fish dry. Brush each side with coating mixture.

3. Preheat a nonstick skillet. Add fish and cook until brown. Turn and cook until second side is brown.

4. Add lemon juice.

Additional Recipes

Mediterranean Tuna Antipasto Salad - http://bit.ly/bCK8IF
Tuna Melt - http://bit.ly/dNypLj


  1. This fish recipe is really delicious despite having little salt!

  2. Thanks swirledand sprinkled. Glad that you enjoyed it. Let us know if you make it. We love to hear from you.

    Keep 'discovering food'.