Health benefits of seafood
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As well as tasting good, seafood can play an important part of a healthy, balanced diet. It is high in protein, packed with vitamins and minerals and oily fish is rich in omega-3 fats.
Seafood is the only protein with Public Health England backed consumption guidelines. It’s recommended that a healthy, balanced diet should include at least 2 portions of fish a week, one of which should be an oily fish. Further guidance on eating fish and shellfish is available on the NHS website from the link below:
There is legislation in place that governs what businesses can say when making health and nutrition claims about food. These regulations exist to make sure that businesses do not make false, ambiguous or misleading claims.
The legislation applies to claims made on all commercial communications. This includes food labels, advertising, website content, social media posts, point of sale materials and menus. It covers:
- Nutrition claims – such as saying a product is low fat, high protein, high omega-3 or high vitamin D
- Health claims – such as saying that protein contributes to the maintenance of muscle mass or claiming that health will be affected if a product is not consumed
- Making claims about weight loss – you must not refer to a rate or amount of weight loss
- Making comparative claims against other products
If any permitted claims are made then nutritional information must also be provided. Guidance on nutrition and health claims is available on the UK Government website from the links below.
If you have further questions about regulations on health and nutritional claims please contact our Regulation team on firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2018 Seafood 2040 worked with a nutritionist to create nutritional profiles for species typically found around the English coastline. These profiles provide macronutrient, vitamin and mineral values.
They were designed for anyone interested in knowing more about the nutritional benefits of the fish and shellfish. Those serving consumers – such as fishmongers, fish fryers and foodservice businesses – can use the profiles to discuss and promote different species.
Each profile has been created as a pdf for easy printing. There are 42 profiles in total and they can be downloaded from the links in the table below:
Seafood 2040 has conducted research on the wider socio-economic benefits of increasing seafood consumption in England. This research was commissioned under Recommendation 6 in the Seafood 2040 strategic framework. It asks whether it’s possible to estimate the potential value to society, via health benefits to the economy, if people eat more seafood.
When reviewing the benefits of seafood consumption the researchers noted that:
- Including fish in the diet produces several health benefits.
- These benefits stem mostly from weight control and reduced risk of being overweight, as fish is a lean source of protein.
- The socio-economic benefits include both avoided NHS care costs and business savings from reduced work absenteeism.
- There will also be further benefits to consumers linked to reduced ill-health and better quality of life.
Overall, the research provides insight into what the potential scale of benefits of increased seafood consumption in England – as well as the UK – could be. It suggests potential savings of £1.3 to £3.5 billion per year. The analysis also suggests that:
- Yearly socio-economic benefits from increasing seafood consumption are likely to far exceed the costs to the consumers from buying seafood.
- The benefits to individuals from reduced risk of ill-health from type 2 diabetes and cancer are valued between £80 per week and £140 per week.
- The NHS could save £270 to £600 million per year from reduction of preventable cases of type 2 diabetes and cancer.
- Businesses could benefit from £160 to £360 million per year from reduced absenteeism due to better health of workers.
- The net socio-economic impacts of increasing seafood consumption to one more portion a week across the English population can be valued at between £14.5m and £58.2m.
This research is an important first step in calculating the wider benefits of seafood consumption, and potential savings are clear. However, it doesn’t paint a full picture. The economic calculations focused solely on avoided cases of type 2 diabetes and cancer. This means that some positive impacts, such as benefits of seafood consumption to cardiovascular health, were not investigated.
You can download an executive summary of the research and read a blog about the research from the Seafood 2040 Chair from the links below: