Protein from fish and seafood is in many ways better than red meats. High in protein and polyunsaturated fats (the good kind,) a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acid and EPA/DHA, fish and seafood are more sustainable than red meat sources.
If you are following a calorie-restricted diet, want to lose weight or just need to maintain a higher metabolism as in an athletic lifestyle, protein sources from fish and seafood is a good choice.
Protein from Fish, Omega-3 and Amino Acids Too
Fish protein contains high quality protein and amino acids. Amino acids obtained from the protein we eat are converted in our bodies to create new proteins and help build and maintain lean muscle mass. Some amino acids are created naturally in our bodies but most must be acquired from protein in our diet, usually in the form of some kind of meat or seafood, cheese, nuts and legumes plant sources.
Eating a wide variety of high nutrition food combinations be it from plant, dairy or from the many available meat source provides your body with the necessary protein building blocks to build and repair damage.
While fish and seafood do lack some of the nutritionally important ingredients our bodies need such as creatine (created in the body naturally, beneficial if supplemented in diet) and B-12 (bio-available in red meats such as beef,) many of the seafood/fish are protein-rich and provide much nutrition. Fish and seafood is typically low fat and also a vital source of essential amino acids.
Importance of Omega-3 Fatty Acid from Fish
The fatty acid "Omega-3" is an essential fatty acid because your body cannot produce its own. It must be obtained from the diet. A nutritionally important source of Omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA found in oily fish such as sardines and anchovies, the American Heart Association recommends at least two servings of 'fatty fish' weekly.
Selecting fish with good levels of Omega-3 and low amounts of mercury is a bit of a balancing act, but generally any fresh, frozen or canned salmon, canned tuna, herring or Atlantic mackerel are both low in the toxic element mercury yet high in Omega-3 and other Omega-acids (there are several.)
In coastal areas of the world, seafood comprises most of the protein in the diet whereas inland, more red meats and grains and plant sources are used. Protein is important no matter what the source. A good required daily protein ratio to strive for is to consume 1g. of protein every kilogram of body weight.
Determining your daily protein requirement in pounds is as simple as this formula:
Wt. in lbs. / 2.2 = kilograms
Wt. in kg x 2.2 = pounds
The result shows roughly how many grams of protein you required daily. Therefore, a 156lbs. man (~71kg) would require approximately 70.5 grams of protein daily to maintain optimal muscle fuel. From the chart below we see the amount of available protein from the sources listed. Fish/meat sources based upon a 100g serving.
|Fish / Seafood
||Meat / Poultry
- Cod = 21g
- flounder (baked) = 24g
- haddock (steamed) = 23g
- Tuna = 23g
- Octopus = 30g
- lobster (boiled) = 22g
- Prawns = 23g
- veal = 30g
- beef heart = 25g
- beefsteak = 27g
- Lamb = 18g
- Chicken breast = 29g
- Pork tenderloin = 23g
- Turkey = 28g
- rabbit (stewed) 14g
- Tofu = 48g
- Parmesan = 42g
- Camembert (25g serv.) = 23g
- cheese spread = 18g
- Pink Lentils = 25g
- Walnuts = 24g
- cashews (10 = 20g) = 18g
- Almonds = 22g
Advantages of Protein Derived from Fish/Seafood
Advantages to fish and seafood is their sustainability. While overfishing is a genuine concern, no fish or seafood specie has been brought to extinction from overfishing. With proper regulation (and anti-pollution) measures in place, formerly over-fished species have always rebounded.
Also an advantage of fish and seafood protein sources is for people concerned about use of growth hormones and use of genetically-engineered grain products being fed to ruminant grazers. Wild-caught or even farmed fish is a viable and sustainable protein alternative.
Vegetarians have a more difficult time obtaining their necessary proteins from cereal grains and vegetables because amino acids that are often deficient in one type or another of every vegetarian alternative. A wider variety of items must be eaten to obtain the necessary proteins and amino acids.
For example: Wheat and grains lack certain proteins that are present in from lentils and vice-versa. In short: man cannot live on bread alone.
Maintaining a wider variety of plant and grain food options is more important to the vegetarian lifestyle for maintaining optimal health. Fish and seafood while not considered "meat" to vegetarians, is still considered to be "animals" and therefore, not on their menu.
Eat More Fish for Better Health and Weight Loss
But for those whom desire to include fish and seafood in their diet as their primary source of protein will be assured of getting the required protein, amino acids and Omega-3 that their bodies require. And if managed properly, eating more fish and seafood is not only more ecological than eating red meat, it will be healthier for you.