Seafood is good for you – and that’s a fact! But there are certain safety guidelines that must be kept in mind when eating seafood from fish to shellfish, especially for pregnant women and children.
Eat Your Seafood
Shrimp, lobster, and crabs, among other types of seafood, are among the most delicious fruits of the sea. Their plump flesh contains unique tastes and textures not found in meats including beef, pig and poultry.
But seafood isn’t just a popular source of food because of its culinary merits. Their flesh are an excellent source of lean proteins, omega-3 fats, and vitamins and minerals so their nutritional benefits are just as important. The importance of adding omega-3 fats into your diet can’t also be emphasized since these are heart-healthy fats, which can reduce the risk of heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
Indeed, eating seafood including mollusks, shellfish, and fish will be to your health benefit. Be sure to include cold water species of fish including trout, salmon, tuna, and sardines because these are rich in omega-3 fats.
But Watch Your Consumption
According to the American Heart Association, everybody should aim for two servings of fish and shellfish every week to get the best possible heart health benefits. Like all things, nonetheless, you can aim for higher or lower amounts depending on your age, physical condition, and health goals, as discussed with your doctor. You can, for example, increase your fatty fish servings when you’re on a bodybuilding diet – fatty fishes are excellent sources of lean proteins and omega-3 fats, both of which are essential in muscle growth.
But also remember that nearly all types of fish and shellfish have traces of mercury. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), fortunately, the risk of getting harmful amounts of mercury from eating seafood isn’t a health concern. This means that relatively healthy men, women and children who eat fish and seafood twice a week have little risk of suffering from mercury poisoning, not to mention that the benefits outweigh the risks.
But there are also exemptions to the rule that emphasizes the need to watch your seafood consumption. Bear in mind that anything consumed in high quantities can be toxic, even lethal to the human system – and it applies to eating mountains of seafood in restaurants like Joe’s Crab Shack.
Here are a few guidelines issued by the FDA and EPA about seafood consumption for the vulnerable sectors of the population:
- Pregnant women and their unborn fetuses can benefit from eating fish, while eating fish during the breastfeeding phase may provide benefits to the babies’ brains. Fish contains low-fat protein, which pregnant women need in a slightly higher amount, as well as DHA, a type of omega-5 essential fatty acid crucial in the development of a fetus’ brain and nervous system.
- But there are two things that pregnant women must be aware of when it comes to fish consumption and their safety. First, they should never eat swordfish, shark, tilefish, and king mackerel because these fishes contain higher levels of mercury than other species. Second, they should limit their fish consumption to 12 ounces per week.
- The best choices pregnant women have for seafood are canned light tuna, catfish, shrimp, and pollock. If you’re into white tuna, also known as albacore tuna, be sure to limit your consumption to just 6 ounces (1 medium-sized can) per week; white tuna has higher mercury level than canned light tuna.
- Children should also follow the same basic guidelines in eating seafood and fish as pregnant women.
The bottom line: Eat your fish and seafood but keep within safe levels. You don’t want to put yourself and your family at risk of getting higher mercury levels than can be avoided.
When you’re eating fish and seafood in a restaurant, you should be aware of the number of servings you have already consumed for the week. You don’t have to be specific but it pays to keep within boundaries, even when these are approximations. You will also observe that restaurants usually serve fish and seafood in either single portions or good for a group so there’s less chance of overindulging.
You may also want to ask the servers about the safe choices for pregnant women, lactating mothers, and children where the fish and seafood are concerned. Most seafood-dedicated restaurants have employees with information about these matters for the benefit of their customers.
The beauty of eating seafood, such as shrimp, lobster and crawfish, is that you can actually eat them using your hands! You may obviously use your knife and fork, especially when you’re in a fine dining restaurant, but eating with your hands cannot be beat. You should also eat the seafood as soon as these are cooked since these are at their yummiest.
In conclusion, the risks of eating fish and seafood are outweighed by their rewards, both in terms of their culinary and nutritional aspects. So, come to Joe’s Crab Shack and enjoy your meal!