Fish is one of the world’s best natural foods. Not only does it taste fantastic, it is also high in omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids, is low in energy and saturated fat. In fact, gram for gram, seafood is one of the lowest-fat, highest protein foods around with comparable protein levels to other meats such as chicken, beef and pork. Better still wild caught seafood is all natural – they are a ‘free range’ product!
Seafood is excellent for our health. It helps maintain our brain function, protect our hearts and increase our overall health and wellbeing. But sadly Australians don’t eat much seafood. The Australian Dietary Guidelines suggest that we should eat at least one or two fish based meals each week, but the only one in four Australian’s actually eats fish each week!
We are starting to increase our seafood consumption, however to harness the sensational health benefits of seafood we need to eat more. Seafood includes:
- fish, both the white and oily varieties,
- molluscs, including shellfish (e.g. mussels, oysters and cockles), and cephalopods (e.g. octopus and squid), and
- crustaceans (e.g. prawns, crabs and yabbies).
There are many and varied ways to enjoy seafood at home! Many Aussies are a little scared to cook fish at home – but it is easy! You might like to try steaming, grilling or baking as an alternative to frying to increase the nutritional value of the seafood. Just remember the key – DON’T OVER COOK YOUR SEAFOOD!
Some consumers are concerned that we are “fishing out” the oceans, but rest assured, Australia has some of the best managed fisheries in the world! But don’t just take the Industry’s word on that visit www.deh.gov.au so see how Australian Fisheries are being independently assessed. All Australian fisheries are managed under the principles of Ecologically Sustainable Development with the goal of long term sustainability. The entire Australian Seafood Industry is committed to and proactive at adopting World’s Best Practices. In fact we lead the way! Just ensure that it is Australian seafood that you are purchasing!
Other consumers are concerned about mercury levels in our fish, particularly pregnant, women who are breast feeding or those trying for a baby. Australian fish consumers should be guided by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ). The FSANZ guidelines suggests that pregnant or breast feeding women should eat no more than 2-3 serves (1 serve is 150g) of fish other than shark (flake), billfish (broadbill, swordfish or marlin) or orange roughy (deep sea perch) per week. For the rest of the population there is a low risk. But for the latest information and guidelines visit www.foodstandards.gov.au.
So there is it - Seafood is a great, nutritious, simple and quick meal. It comes from sustainably managed resources and from oceans relatively free of pollution and heavy metals. It’s easy to prepare and can be enjoyed with many and varied flavours. So get to your local fish shop today!