Ray Rice is a food scientist and a recognised authority on the health effects of omega-3 polyunsaturates. Having lectured internationally on the subject of fish nutrition for over 20 years, Ray offers us his take on seafood and nutrition.
"If there really is such a thing as a superfood, then seafood must be it! The fact that humankind is thought to have evolved as a separate species while living in coastal regions (hence with good access to seafood) probably has a lot to do with it.
Seafood is packed full of many of the things our bodies need to operate as nature intended. Right from the earliest moments of life, at conception, we know that the nutrients in seafood provide vital ingredients to ensure optimal fertility. Through every stage of life thereafter, the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients in seafood help to ensure that the human body is kept in tip-top shape.
Seafood of course is a lot more than just a tasty source of long chain Omega-3, though that is an important part of its uniqueness. The fact that no other food category even comes close to being able to supply sensible amounts of the long chain Omega-3's is a major factor behind the UK Government's recommendation that we should all eat seafood at least twice a week. Research is adding more and more evidence to support this advice all the time, but is also adding to our knowledge about some of the other nutrient "bonuses" from seafood.
Vitamin D is one case in point. Once consigned to the nutritional "been there, done that" cubbyhole, we are now realising that Vitamin D is much more important than we once thought, and that many folks in the UK (particularly those in the North) do not have enough in their bodies to keep them as healthy as they could be.
At least twice a week it should be then, not just fish such as
cod, mackerel or salmon, but also shellfish such as mussels,
lobster and prawns. There is a great variety of super value seafood
out there, so it is not hard to eat it twice a week, without eating
the same things over and over again."
Words by Ray Rice