Seafood: Not Just Brain Food Research is clear that seafood is an important part of a balanced diet, and one of the main reasons for this is because it contains omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s from fish benefit the body from head to toe. Eating fish about twice per week can reduce the risk of dying from a heart attack–the leading cause of death in the U.S.–by 30-40 percent. Omega-3s from fish are also found in every cell of the brain. Studies show that moms who eat the most fish during pregnancy have babies with the best possible brain development. Fish also helps keep the brain healthy as we age. Many people are confused about the types and amounts of fish to eat, but the advice is actually very simple.

  • For the general population, there are no commercial fish to avoid or limit. You can get your omega-3s by eating a variety of seafood at least twice per week. Focus on oily fish including mackerel, trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon.
  • If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or feeding young children, there is special advice. Eat a variety of 12 ounces of seafood (2-3 meals) per week, especially oily fish. Half of the fish you eat every week (6 ounces) can be white albacore tuna. Do not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish.

Most Americans, especially pregnant women, do not eat enough seafood. A study from researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health looked at which conditions and lifestyle/diet choices contribute to the most American deaths. Low omega-3 (seafood) intake is responsible for about 84,000 deaths each year. The risks of a low seafood diet are very real. For more information about seafood and its benefits, visit the National Fisheries Institute.