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How Healthy is Seafood?

a plate of food on a wooden table

Did you know the FDA recommends that adults eat two to three full servings of seafood a week? Most people clearly don’t--80% of Americans are not eating close to enough. The Luke’s team is squarely in the 20% that does eat enough seafood, so we thought we’d explain why.

  • Seafood packs a lot of protein, which is essential for every one of your body’s functions, particularly cell growth and repair, your brain function, your digestion, and hormone regulation.

  • Almost all types of seafood are low in fat compared to land-based proteins (beef, pork, and even chicken), and many have tiny amounts of saturated fat (the bad kind). Lobster and scallops, for example, have .1 grams of saturated fat per serving, while ground beef has 4 grams per serving.

  • Seafood is high in Omega 3 fatty acids, which are critical for brain development and function and also lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.

  • While popular myth holds that seafood is high in cholesterol, the vast majority of seafood actually has similar or less cholesterol than white meat chicken (70 milligrams), lobster has 61 milligrams per serving, scallops 55 milligrams.

    • There are some exceptions which are high in cholesterol, such as shrimp, but studies have shown that even in shrimp, the Omega 3s and low saturated fat make it more helpful than harmful to heart health. 
  • Seafood is naturally packed with a wealth of vitamins and minerals your body needs:

    • Vitamin A for healthy growth and fighting infections

    • Zinc, which is crucial for your immune system, your metabolism, healing wounds, and brain activity

    • Calcium, which builds strong bones and teeth and is important for pregnancy health

    • Iron, which is critical for transporting oxygen throughout the body

    • Iodine, which promotes thyroid health and cognition 

  • Lobster specifically is high in a few other nutrients that make it extra-healthy:

    • Phosphorous, necessary for forming teeth, bones, healthy joints, and supporting a healthy metabolism

    • Vitamin B12 for blood cell maintenance and prevention of neurological disorders

    • Selenium, which is helpful to your immune system, metabolism, and prevention of heart disease

In short, eating seafood gives you a wealth of the nutrients you need for a healthy heart, sharp brain, strong bones, active metabolism, vigilant immune system, low blood pressure, and more. And it has much less of the bad stuff than the land-based proteins that Americans eat so much more of (and that do WAY more harm to our environment).

Concerns about mercury in seafood are valid for some of the largest, top-of-the-food-chain fish. Check this super helpful chart from the FDA’s website to see which seafoods you need to eat in moderation.

Of course, the best thing about seafood is that it tastes amazing! When it comes to celebratory foods, seafood is right up there with cake and ice cream, but with seafood your body gets to celebrate, too. It’s easy to maintain a healthy diet once you realize that some of the world’s most delicious food is also some of its healthiest.