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Seafood is brain food. Here is how wild Alaska Seafood can help restore and maintain mental health.

The impact of diet and lifestyle play a large role in our mental health. The most positive lifestyle changes that we can make to reduce risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and mental health disorders include increasing physical activity, building healthy social relationships, and eating a nutrient-dense diet. Studies are coming to a consensus that the inclusion of seafood in our diets is essential to maintaining mental health.

The brain is largely composed of omega-3 fatty acids. Seafood, particularly fatty fish like sablefish and wild salmon, is rich in vital long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3s), such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), both of which contribute to brain health. These omega-3s also benefit heart health, the immune system, and other aspects of our health.

DHA, the dominant omega-3 in our brains is a critical component of every cell. DHA increases growth for new cells and protection for existing cells, in addition to increasing neuroplasticity, which is the ability of the brain to connect one brain cell to the next. Omega-3 fatty acids also help to decrease inflammation in the brain, which can occur with traumatic brain injuries, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s Disease or Multiple Sclerosis.

EPA and DPA from seafood help to protect, restore and rebuild the brain.

When it comes to prevention of depression and reducing symptoms of depression, diet is a well-known factor. Most commonly associated with reducing symptoms of depression is the Mediterranean diet, which includes fruits and vegetables, legumes and seafood. EPA, in particular, has neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects that are suggestive to reduce depression.

Seafood is also an essential component for maintaining mental health for expecting mothers. Research that measures blood levels of omega-3s during pregnancy shows a clear link between low blood levels of omega-3s and increased rates of post-partum depression. Seafood is one of the best sources of Omega-3s; however, pregnant women tend to minimize their intake of seafood during pregnancy because of the mercury content in seafood. Yes, longer living predatory fish such as shark, mackerel and swordfish have higher levels of mercury and should be avoided by pregnant women. However, seafood such as wild salmon, have lower levels of mercury. In addition, wild salmon and sablefish have high levels of Omega-3s and selenium, the latter of which protects against mercury toxicity.

Avoiding seafood entirely makes for diets insufficient in omega-3 fatty acids and can place women at risk for developing perinatal depression. Studies recommend that pregnant women should consume 4 ounces of fatty fish per week, twice a week as recommended by the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Especially important is to include seafood that is high in omega-3 fatty acids and low in mercury, such as wild salmon and sablefish.

Still under the radar is just how important vitamin D is to our overall health and how good a source of vitamin D that seafood is. Sablefish and wild salmon are especially good sources of vitamin D3. A 6-ounce sablefish portion has 90% of the daily value for vitamin D, as does coho salmon, while a 6-ounce sockeye salmon portion has 100% of the daily recommended value of vitamin D.  Vitamin D plays a role in neuromuscular function and influences cellular growth. It also enhances the secretion of insulin. Low levels of vitamin D are found in people who suffer from depression, anxiety and are associated with cognitive decline. Due to modern lifestyles, people spend less time outdoors in the sun and are deficient in this key ingredient. Dietary vitamin D coming from seafood, one of the best natural dietary sources of vitamin D (particularly wild salmon and sablefish ) can help reduce There is also increasing evidence that vitamin D can help reduce the risk of dying from cancer, particularly the vitamin D3 in seafood.

With all of the health benefits illustrated here, there are great reasons to make seafood a regular part of your diet. Eat seafood and be happy. It’s truly brain food.

Sources

Zhang Y et al. “Intakes of fish and polyunsaturated fatty acids and mild-to-severe cognitive impairment risks: a dose-response meta-analysis of 21 cohort studies.” Am J Clin Nutrition. 2016; 103(2): 330-340

Grimm et al. “Omega-3 fatty acids, lipids, and apoE lipidation in Alzheimer’s disease: a rationale for multi-nutrient dementia preventia.” Journal of Lipid Research 2017; 58(11):2083- 2101

Klimova, Blanka and Valis, Martin. “Nutritional Interventions as Beneficial Strategies to Delay Cognitive Decline in Healthy Older Individuals.” Nutrients 2018.

Cutuili, Debora. “Functional and Structural Benefits Induced by Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids During Aging.” Current Neuropharmacology 2017: 15(4): 534- 542

Li Y. et al. “Dietary patterns and depression risk: A meta-analysis.” Psychiatry Res. 2017;253:373–382. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2017.04.020

Bountziouka V et al. J “Long-term fish intake is associated with less severe depressive symptoms among elderly men and women: the MEDIS (Mediterranean Islands Elderly) epidemiological study.” Aging Health 2009 Sep;21(6):864- 80. doi: 10.1177/0898264309340693. Epub 2009 Jul 8.

Berk, Sanders, et al. “Vitamin D deficiency may play a role in depression.” Med Hypotheses 2007; 69(6): 1316-9. Epub 2007 May 11

Cole G. et al. “Omega-3 fatty acids and dementia.” Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 2009 Aug-Sep; 81(0): 213-221

Golding J, Steer C, et al. “High levels of depressive symptoms in pregnancy with low omega-3 fatty acid intake from fish.” Epidemiology 2009: 20: 598-603

Sontrop J, Avison, W.R., et al “Depressive symptoms during pregnancy in relation to fish consumption and intake of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids.” Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology 2008: 22(4): 389-399

Sontrop J, et al. “High levels of depressive symptoms in pregnancy with low omega-3 fatty acid intake from fish.” Epidemiology 2009: 20(4); 598-603

Patrick R., Ames B. “Vitamin D and the omega-3 fatty acids control serotonin synthesis and action, part 2: relevance for ADHD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and impulsive behavior.” FASEB 2015 (29): 2207-2222

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Why Swap Meat for Seafood…

Wild Alaska seafood is a venerable powerhouse source of nutrients and is of the highest quality of lean proteins. Alaska seafood is a complete and highly digestible protein, which means that the amino acids are readily absorbed by the body. Low in saturated fat, high in heart protective monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, Alaska seafood also boasts a complete array of essential amino acids, which help repair and rebuild muscles, making seafood a great meal for athletes recovering from a workout.

While being relatively low in calories, Alaska seafood is high in vitamin D. Did you know that 41% of adults in the United States are deficient in Vitamin D? Six-ounce portions of our wild salmon and sablefish  contain 90% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin D. Vitamin D has numerous health benefits to our lives and particularly those of us in northern climes do not get nearly enough of it. Alaska seafood, particularly wild salmon and black cod, contain plentiful Vitamin D and all of the wonders this vitamin brings for our bodies. In addition to strengthening teeth, bones and our immune systems, vitamin D can help curb depression, maintains good blood pressure, and acts as an antioxidant removing the damaging free radicals that are produced in our cells from vigorous exercise.

Nutritional Benefits of Alaska Seafood with ballet dancer Misty Copeland
Misty Copeland. Ballet Dancer. Photo courtesy of Alaska Seafood.

Alaska seafood is naturally high in essential vitamins E, A and C and also a good source of potassium, which is an important electrolyte that maintains fluid balance in the body as well as being responsible for proper muscle contraction and transmitting nerve impulses.

Just about the only way to get the Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA recommended by health specialists for heart and brain health is by eating fatty fish from cold waters. Our Alaska Gold Wild Salmon, Sablefish, and Albacore Tuna are some of the fish with the highest concentrations of Omega-3 fatty acids that exist. These fatty acids reduce inflammation and increase heart and brain health.

DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) is an important nutrient that inhibits aggregation of blood platelets, making it difficult for blood clots to form and thereby enhancing blood flow. The Omega-3 fatty acid DHA is also an important nutrient for generating brain cells and function for learning, especially in the early brain and nerve development of infants, but is also thought to help prevent dementia in elderly people.

EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) thins the blood and is effective against LDL (bad) cholesterol. Most importantly, EPA maintains blood and blood vessel health. EPA can help prevent stroke, heart attack, hardening of the arteries, and other coronary diseases.

Seafood is also easier to cook than other proteins. It does not require the cook times that other meats do, for example, and if it’s of great quality, like our Alaska Gold Seafood, it requires minimal seasonings. Pull one of our coho salmon portions out of the freezer, put it in the fridge for 24 hours, then in the oven at 425 F for 6-8 minutes with a few basic seasonings.

Or try our Easy Salmon on sale through the end of June, 2018. Try these Easy Salmon Recipes made by our customers.