NUMEROUS studies have shown the benefits of seafood for women's health, as this category of food offers a wide range of health benefits due to the high nutrient content.
There are several types of seafood that are particularly beneficial â€” including salmon, mussels, tuna, and sardines, which support heart and brain health, and in some cases, reproductive health too.
"Seafood also helps with weight management, bone health, and skin health," explained nutritionist and dietician Claudhia Ashley. "It's important to choose a variety of seafood to maximise these benefits."
Here are some ways Ashley says seafood is good for women's health:
Omega-3 fatty acids
Seafood, especially fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines, is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fats have been linked to heart health, reducing inflammation, and supporting brain function.
Heart and brain health
Omega-3 fatty acids found in seafood can help lower triglycerides, reduce blood pressure, and lower the risk of heart disease. They can also improve the ratio of "good" HDL cholesterol to "bad" LDL cholesterol. Also, Omega-3s, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are crucial for brain development and function. Consuming seafood can support cognitive health and may even help reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.
Bone health and weight management
Seafood like salmon and sardines are high in vitamin D and calcium, which are essential for maintaining strong bones and preventing conditions like osteoporosis. Lean protein found in seafood can contribute to feelings of fullness, helping with weight management and satiety.
Eye and skin health
Seafood is a good source of nutrients like vitamin A and DHA that promote eye health and may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (eye disease that can blur your central vision). Omega-3s and antioxidants found in seafood can help maintain healthy skin by reducing inflammation and supporting collagen production.
Pregnancy and foetal development
Seafood is rich in nutrients like DHA that are essential for foetal brain and eye development during pregnancy. However, pregnant women should choose low-mercury options and avoid high-mercury fish.
Reduced depression and hormone regulation
The omega-3 fatty acids in seafood have been associated with a reduced risk of depression and can help manage mood disorders. Seafood provides nutrients like iodine and selenium, which are important for thyroid function and hormone regulation.
Reduced risk of certain cancers
Regular consumption of seafood has been associated with a reduced risk of certain cancers, such as breast and colorectal cancers.
Here are the best seafood options for your health:
Salmon and sardines
Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA, salmon supports heart and brain health. It's also a good source of vitamin D and protein. Sardines are packed with omega-3s, calcium, and vitamin D, making them beneficial for bone health and overall well-being.
Similar to salmon, trout is rich in omega-3s, protein, and vitamin D. It's a great option for heart health and bone strength.
Low in calories and high in protein, shrimp is a good source of iodine, which is essential for thyroid function.
Mussels and oysters
Mussels are rich in vitamin B12, iron, and zinc, which are important for energy metabolism and immune system health. Oysters are high in zinc, which supports immune function and skin health. They also provide B vitamins and omega-3s.
Crab is a good source of protein, vitamin B12, and selenium. It's also low in mercury and a suitable option for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Tuna (light canned) and herring
Light canned tuna is lower in mercury than albacore tuna and provides protein, omega-3s, and vitamin D. Herring is also high in omega-3s and vitamin D, making it beneficial for heart health and bone strength.