Brain and Bone Health are Critical

The Lempert Report
December 19, 2019

So why don’t we eat more fish?

Consumer Reports magazine writes that the advantages of eating seafood as you get older is critical. Fish is loaded with nutrients that are crucial for healthy aging, such as high-quality protein, ­iodine, selenium, and zinc. And it has more vitamins B12 and D—necessary for brain health and bone health, respectively—than any other food you can eat. But perhaps most important, it’s the best source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

 “Omega-3s have been shown to reduce blood clots [which can cause heart attack or stroke] because they prevent blood platelets from getting sticky,” says Julia Zumpano, R.D., a dietitian at the Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute at the Cleveland Clinic told Consumer Reports. “They also lower triglycerides—fat that can accumulate in the arteries—reduce blood pressure and inflammation, and increase levels of good cholesterol.”

Omega-3 fatty acids also appear to help prevent other problems that can come with growing older, such as muscle and bone loss—and possibly even cognitive issues. The health effects are so widespread that a 2018 study of older adults published in The BMJ found that having higher blood levels of omega-3s from fish is linked to healthier aging—reducing the risk of having a chronic disease or serious mental or physical problem by 24 percent compared with having low levels.

To get the health benefits of omega-3s, the American Heart Association recommends eating at least two 3½-ounce servings of nonfried fish per week. 

The magazine organized the following low-mercury fish into two healthy categories, depending on their omega-3 content: “Great Choices” have the most omega-3s, and “Good Choices” have less but are still healthy. “Eat Rarely, If Ever” fish are high-mercury types you should have only once in a while, if at all.

Great Choices: High in Omega-3s

 • Anchovies

• Atlantic mackerel

• Herring

• Oysters

 • Pacific chub mackerel

 • Sardines

 • Shad

 • Trout

 • Wild and Alaskan salmon (canned or fresh)

Good Choices: Lower in Omega-3s

(but still healthy)

 • Atlantic croaker

 • Canned light tuna

 • Catfish

 • Crab

• Flounder and sole (flatfish)

 • Haddock

 • Lobster

 • Mullet

 • Pollock

• Shrimp (wild and most U.S. farmed)

 • Tilapia

 • Scallops

 • Squid (wild)

It’s time to make your store’s fish monger the next food celebrity.