There is much in our history as humans where health and the sea are intertwined. Who can forget the first journeys of discovery undertaken by the Portuguese, recorded in our history books, that were decimated by disease and hunger? On the other hand, even today, how many peoples depend on the sea for their subsistence, even survival? We could say, then, that our health and the sea are far more interconnected that at first meets the eye!
But what makes the sea so special, setting it apart from the land? Why are land animals so different from sea animals wherever you are on the planet? Because of the water, this precious asset that humanity tends to take for granted, and regards as plentiful, unchangeable, and inexhaustible.
Under water, everything is different: the way animals breathe, the way they move, and what they feed on (plankton, other animals, or algae). These characteristics set the nutritional properties of all sea animals apart from those of animals found on land. So, we must get to know them in order to understand and appreciate them:
Let me define the word “flesh” for you: it is “the soft part between the skin and bones in human beings and animals, mainly muscle tissue” Thus, the flesh of fish is distinguished from the flesh of land animals not only by its “good” omega-3 fat content, but also its vitamin and mineral content: depending on the fat content, it is rich in B-complex vitamins and vitamins A, D, and E, but also in minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Shellfish and bivalves stand out for their content in iodine, manganese, silica, iron, copper, and zinc.
Therefore, to achieve the suggested daily nutrient requirement, the recommendation is to eat lean fish every day, while ensuring the intake of fatty fish (swordfish, herring, halibut, salmon, mackerel, and sardines) up to three times a week, as well as seafood.
In vegetarian diets, the lack of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and zinc are a reality – and these nutrients are all found in sea animals!
Let there be no doubt: these days, we must look for the highest quality and safety when choosing anything that we put inside our own body and that will go on to form our cells and those of our children. Therefore, as a dietitian, I recommend this: choose quality, not price, because our health is priceless. Appreciate what comes from the sea: it is synonymous with health.
Dietitian Catarina Cachão Bragadeste, n.º 0402N
A Dietitian’s Daily Blog®