Good Mood Seafood

Why are fish and seafood brain healthy foods?

  • Highly digestible, complete protein – protects from degenerative diseases
  • Omega-3 fatty acids – boost the performance of brain neurons, stronger cognitive performance while also helping ease anxiety
  • B vitamins – key for overall brain functioning and preventing depression. They help the brain produce and synthesize the neurotransmitters that regulate mood and boost memory. B12 and niacin help with mental energy and memory. Choline strengthens mental focus.
  • Fat-soluble vitamin A helps regulate the brain’s plasticity (ability to form new neural pathways) and promotes the ability to learn new mental skills
  • Fat-soluble vitamins D helps avert cognitive decline as we get older
  • Essential minerals iron, zinc, copper, calcium, sodium, phosphorus and selenium.
    • Iron helps make the covering that protects neurons and helps control the synthesis of chemicals involved in mood. Depression has been linked to low iron levels
    • Selenium is required for the activity of 25 – 30 enzymes that protect the brain from oxidative damage
    • Zinc is important to the functioning of memory
[su_expanding_quote_book alignment=”right” source_author=”Uma Naidoo” source_title=”This is Your Brain on Food” full_quote=”Omega-3s promote brain health by lowering inflammatory markers and protect neurons from excessive inflammation. Eating foods high in omega-3s may protect you against depression. The very best source of omega-3s, especially EPA and DHA, is fish” short_quote=”Omega-3s promote brain health by lowering inflammatory markers and protect neurons “]

Which Fish? These are especially nutrient-dense

  • Anchovies – Vitamin B12 and calcium
  • Halibut – Packed with vitamin D and Vitamin A
  • Salmon – Good source of niacin and choline
  • Sardines – Loaded with vitamin B12 and niacin
  • Scallops – Loaded zinc and magnesium
  • Shrimp – Loaded with B12, choline and B6
  • Tuna – Great source of 5 different B vitamins and vitamin D
[su_expanding_quote_book alignment=”full” source_author=”Sarah Ballantyne” source_title=”Paleo Principles” full_quote=”Fish and shellfish are the richest sources of the long-chain omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, which block multiple inflammation pathways in our cells. Deficiencies in these anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fats have been linked to dyslexia, violence, depression, anxiety, memory problems, Alzheimer’s disease, weight gain, cancer, cardiovascular disease and many others.” ” short_quote=”Deficiencies in these anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fats have been linked depression, anxiety, memory problems”]

Shellfish Refresh

These are avariety of small, mineral-rich fish from two families that have had an important role in the diets of coastal humans throughout history

  • Mollusks –include clams, oysters, mussels, and scallops
  • Crustaceans – crabs, lobsters, and shrimp
[su_expanding_quote_book alignment=”full” source_author=”Drew Ramsey, MD” source_title=”Eat to Beat Depression and Anxiety” full_quote=”Sardines, oysters, mussels, salmon and cod are chockful of vital brain healthy nutrients B12, selenium, iron, zinc and protein. A lot of people have concerns about fish, especially around mercury and microplastics. But this food group can truly make a huge difference when it comes to preventing and managing depression and anxiety symptoms. One simple step is to simply eat small fish and bivalves. With so many seasonings, sauces, and methods to prepare seafood, there is an option that will work for you and your brain.” ” short_quote=”Sardines, oysters, mussels, salmon and cod are chockful of vital brain healthy nutrients B12, selenium, iron, zinc and protein”]

But What about Pollutants and Sustainability?

Generally, you can avoid mercury and microplastics by eating smaller fish (like anchovies or sardines), or shellfish like clams and mussels. Check out Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Watch for sustainably caught seafood.

Even with eating farmed fish, the health benefits far outweigh the risks. Especially because of the importance of Omega-3 fats for overall health.

Canned fish is generally the most affordable. Look for wild-caught varieties (anchovies, salmon, sardines) in BPA-free cans.

Learn more about choosing seafood at What’s the Catch, one of my earlier blogposts.

What to Do?

  • Experiment to expand your palate. Be adventurous. Try the seafood special at your favorite restaurant
  • Visit your local farmer’s market. Ask for recommendations
  • Try different fish. Prepare different ways.

Here are some of my favorites:

Sheet Pan Shrimp Fajitas – Number 2 Pencil

You can also use fish (i usually use cod, snapper)

Salmon Patty – Well Plated

Cajun Shrimp Sweet Potato Hash – Babaganosh

Paella inspired – Epicurious

Sardine with Shredded Potato Cake – Epicurious

Rice cake with mashed avocado and sardines is an excellent quick lunch or afternoon snack

Next Step

  • Share your favorite fish recipe! 😊 Or the new one you will try