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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.

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.

A recent white paper was developed using the systematic review process of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans Scientific Advisory Committee. This review uncovered more than 40 scientific studies since 2000 that highlight the tremendous health benefits of consuming seafood by moms that support the brain development of their babies. A big finding from this scientific review showed children gaining an average of 7.7 full IQ points when their moms ate seafood during pregnancy compared to moms that did not eat seafood. In addition, consumption of between 4 and 12 ounces of seafood during childhood had beneficial associations with positive neuro-cognitive outcomes.

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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Eat Wild Alaska Seafood and Live Longer

Wild Alaska Seafood Health Benefits
Image courtesy of Alaska Seafood

Eat wild Alaska Seafood and live longer.

It might seem like an outlandish claim that we’ve found the fountain of youth, but more evidence keeps showing up that that eating seafood might not only improve longevity, but the quality of life in old age.

recent study revealed that higher levels of Omega-3 fatty acids found in cold water fish are associated with a lower risk of unhealthy aging (longer version of the study here). Another study, which looked at 2700 generally healthy American adults and how the Omega-3s in their blood affected their lives, showed that older adults with higher levels of omega-3s have a 27% lower risk of prematurely dying from all causes and a 35% lower risk of dying from heart disease. Those who have the most heart-healthy Omega-3s in their diets live, on average, 2.2 years longer than those with the least.

But it’s not just living longer on average that makes seafood special, incorporating more seafood as part of our diets is also associated with healthier aging. A study of over 2,500 adults between 1992 and 2015  found that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids present in seafood reduce the risk of unhealthy aging. The study found, after correcting for other factors such as age, sex, and race, that adults with higher levels of EPA and DPA had a better chance of healthy aging. Healthy aging is defined as a living a meaningful lifespan without chronic diseases.

The study found, after correcting for other factors such as age, sex, and race, that adults with higher levels of EPA and DPA had a better chance of healthy aging. Participants with the highest level of omega-3s present had an 18 percent lower risk of unhealthy aging. Participants with the highest levels of EPA and DPA, the omega-3s commonly found in seafood, had the best results: Those with high levels of EPA had a 24 percent lower risk of unhealthy aging, and those with DPA had an 18 percent lower risk of unhealthy aging.

“We found that older adults who had higher levels of omega 3 from seafood were more likely to live longer and healthier lives,” lead study author Heidi Lai of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston told Reuters. “These findings support current national dietary guidelines to consume more seafood.”

Based on these studies, nutritionists and health professionals are coalescing around the following recommendations:

  • Eating fish two or three times per week can reduce risk of chronic disease.
  • The lean protein and omega-3s in wild Alaska seafood make it a smart, nutritious choice.
  • Eating seafood is good for your heart.
  • Eating seafood not only lowers blood pressure, but can help potentially reducing risk of stroke, depression, Alzheimer’s, and other chronic diseases.

The healthy omega-3 fats, lean protein, vitamin D, and selenium in fish prove so powerful that both the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Heart Association recommend eating seafood at least two times a week.

This February we’ll be celebrating American Heart Month. With one in four deaths in the United States caused by heart disease, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. The good news is that heart disease can often be prevented when we make healthy choices. One healthy choice to make is including more seafood in our diets. A number of our customers have noted on the phone with us that their doctors’ recommendations of including more seafood in their diets led them to find Alaska Gold. With our line-caught wild salmon and sablefish, which are particularly high in Omega-3s, you can’t go wrong. Being line-caught means that the salmon are by definition actively feeding, at their peak, and especially loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids.

Alaska Seafood is also good choice if you are watching salt in your diet. Evidence suggests that eating seafood with omega-3s contributes to lower blood pressure, especially in people with high blood pressure (hypertension) or on weight-loss diets. In addition, omega-3s act on blood vessels and kidneys to help lower blood pressure. Reducing salt while increasing omega-3 intake further lowers blood pressure.

Eat wild Alaska seafood for your heart. Live longer and healthier.

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Top 5 Reasons to Eat Seafood for Health

Coho Salmon with Peach Salsa
Baked Coho Salmon with Tamari Peach Salsa Recipe. Photo by Food Network Star top finalist Emma Frisch at emmafrisch.com.

80 to 90% of Americans are not meeting the recommended two to three servings of seafood‬ per week. And there are a lot of reasons we should be eating more heart-healthy delicious Alaska Seafood.

Here are our Top 5 Reasons to Eat Seafood for Health:

  1. Seafood is a low calorie protein. Just a small 3-ounce portion offers a third of the recommended daily protein. Plus, with less connective tissue, fish protein is easier to digest than red meat or poultry. Seafood is also a much heart-healthier protein source. Studies suggest that if you include one portion of seafood in your weekly diet, you may halve the chances of suffering a heart attack.
  2. For expecting moms, eating seafood is super important for their baby’s brain and eye development.
  3. In order to get the minimum recommended 1750mg of weekly Omega-3 proteins, eat at least 2 servings of seafood. You can get that amount of Omega-3s and more with just one of our salmon or tuna portions.
  4. Seafood is versatile. Our coho salmon works well with so many different recipes, like this Baked Coho Salmon with Tamari Peach Salsa. Halibut doesn’t lose flavor or texture to poaching, grilling, sauteing, or however you like to cook it.
  5. Seafood is a good source of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Just a single serving of salmon provides the daily requirement for Vitamin D.

Here’s what some of our fitness-minded customers are telling us. An ultra-marathoner from Idaho who regularly orders our king salmon portions recently discovered our canned albacore tuna: “I am loving the canned albacore as a mid-day protein hit.” He takes it on backpacking trips and other adventures to get a quick, easy delicious protein shot.

A weight lifter from Kansas who subscribes to our Alaska Gold Loyalty Program told us: “We’re doing more salmon for breakfast these days. Sweet potato and salmon, and my lifts are greatly improved.”