(BPT) – You’re shopping for tonight’s dinner and decide fish sounds delicious. You visit the seafood section of your local market and are suddenly overwhelmed with choices. Salmon, tilapia, clams or shrimp? Imported or U.S. farm raised?
It can feel like there are endless options when shopping at the grocery store. Knowing what’s best for you and your family is difficult enough, yet alone weighing environmental concerns and other impacts of food choices.
When selecting seafood, there are various things to consider before deciding what to put in your cart. For many people, U.S. farm-raised options are their seafood of choice for a variety of reasons.
U.S. farm-raised fish and shellfish are an amazingly nutrient dense food and are excellent sources of high quality, easily digestible protein. What’s more, they are packed with important vitamins and minerals including essential B-complex, A and D vitamins as well as selenium, iron and zinc. An average serving has less than 200 calories. Some of the leaner varieties like tilapia, clams, oysters, mussels and shrimp have less than 100 calories.
Coronary heart disease continues to be the No. 1 cause of death in the United States. According to most health experts, eating fish and seafood just twice a week can reduce the risk of heart disease while providing a host of other benefits. U.S. farm-raised seafood is low in cholesterol and high in omega-3 fatty acids that play a major role in maintaining coronary heart health, as well as the health of the brain.
If you want to help ensure that the seafood you consume is safe to eat, opt for products that have been farm-raised in the United States. Look for country of origin and method of production labels in your supermarket. The U.S. has strict regulations that help ensure you and your family are eating the highest quality, safest seafood. For example, in the U.S. it is illegal to use antibiotics and hormones to promote growth. Plus, you are supporting family farms that generate jobs for Americans.
More than 90 percent of the seafood consumed in the United States is imported, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service. Those imports can often come from countries that do not have strict environmental and product safety standards. In the United States, fish and shellfish are farmed using methods that do not harm the environment while helping to meet the growing demand for seafood by supplementing wild harvests.
There is a growing body of evidence that children whose mothers regularly consumed seafood during pregnancy had better motor skills and brain function after birth. The USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 recommend that pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers consume at least 8 ounces of seafood each week. Good choices include fish like salmon, trout, channel catfish, hybrid striped bass and tilapia.
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