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Step Aside Halloween-Let’s celebrate seafood too!

Jared Mason
Dietetic Intern Bay Pines VA Healthcare System

October has arrived! While October is synonymous with Halloween for many of us, let’s not forget that October is National Seafood Month. In celebration of this month-long extravaganza, we will be bringing you some information about the different types of seafood and the good taste and great nutrition that seafood brings to the table.

Beyond Fish
The ocean is an abundant source of life (and food). While fish may be the first thing to come to mind when you hear the word “seafood,” there are a variety of different types of seafood that are commercially available.
• Fish
– Salmon, Tilapia, Grouper, Bass and many more
• Mollusks
– Clams, Oysters, Scallops, Octopi, Squid
• Crustaceans
– Shrimp, Crabs, Lobsters
As Floridians, we are fortunate to have countless types of seafood available to us throughout the year. Some common finds at your local market include alligator, amberjack, blue crab, bluefish, catfish, clams, flounder, golden tilefish, grouper, king mackerel, mahi-mahi, mullet, oysters, pompano, rock shrimp, scallops, sheepshead, shrimp, and snapper to name a few.

Good Nutrition in Every Bite!
There are a variety of nutritional benefits associated with seafood. Eating a varied, balanced diet is important to maintain your health, and incorporating seafood is an excellent way to both flavor up your plate while reaping the many health benefits.
Firstly, seafood is an excellent source of lean protein. There are 9 amino acids that your body does not produce that you must obtain from foods. If a food source has all 9 “essential” amino acids, it is deemed “complete.” Seafood has all 9 of these essential amino acids, making it an excellent source of protein in your diet.
Secondly, seafood is an excellent source of heart healthy fats. There are two different types of fats found naturally in foods, which are saturated and unsaturated fats. Saturated fats are generally associated with increased cholesterol levels and cardiovascular risk, whereas unsaturated fats are considered much more “heart healthy.” The best seafood sources of these heart healthy fats are generally fatty fish such as salmon. Other seafood sources of these healthy fats include herring, sardines, oysters, tuna, and mackerel.
Thirdly, seafood is an excellent source of a variety of different vitamins and minerals including an assortment of the B vitamins like niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, B6 and B12, vitamin E, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron, potassium. Oily fish are also one of the few food sources with natural vitamin D, which is necessary for building and maintaining healthy bones.

For more information on selecting, cooking, and storing seafood visit
Fresh From Florida.