Fishy Study Still Supports Seafood Consumption

January 04, 2017

Newly released study shows fish oil supplements significantly improve heart health. So why not push your shoppers to eat the real thing?

Could this be the year that shoppers buy more seafood? According to the annual Fisheries of the United States Report released by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration late October, it’s already happening. And to add to the recent increase, a new study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings shows that those who consumer fish oil supplements have an 18 percent lower risk of developing heart problems. 

But here’s the fishy part about that study.

Discerning minds are a little concerned about the findings being biased as the study was funded by the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED), according to Time. This group makes and markets fish oil supplement products.

While we suggest always considering details like this in clinical research, the fact is that many studies over the years have shown the benefits of Omega-3s. And most experts will say that vitamins and nutrients are best consumed in their real food form. Yes, a supplement is better than nothing, but the studies confirm that these nutrients found in fish are vital to our health.

Americans increased their seafood consumption to 15.5 pounds of fish and shellfish per person in 2015, up nearly a pound from the previous year, making it the biggest leap in seafood consumption in 20 years. However, The American Heart Association recommends that we eat at least two servings of fish a week (8 oz), and we are still only eating about 4.77 ounces of seafood a week.

Numerous studies over the years have shown that Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) can help reduce inflammation, support cardiovascular health, improve mood, support brain development in babies, protect against age-related mental decline and more. 

Retailers can help guide their shoppers to the seafood counter by offering preparation and recipe ideas, in-store sample stations that also offer information that reinforces the wide variety of health benefits. And while some shoppers are intimidated by the cost of seafood, frozen products can be a great alternative. Or what about all the things you can do with a can of tuna or sardines? (Check out Chowhound’s 13 Things You Can Do With Sardines).

Here are the types of fish highest in Omega-3s:

  • Anchovies
  • Bluefish
  • Herring
  • Mackerel
  • Salmon (wild has more omega-3s than farmed)
  • Sardines
  • Sturgeon
  • Lake trout
  • Tuna

And for those shoppers with fish allergies, here are some other foods high in Omega-3s:  

  • Flaxseeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Spinach
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Tofu

We recommend that retailers encourage shoppers to download the Seafood Watch app, an excellent guide for consumers in making informed choices for sustainable seafood.