If you’re on a low-fat diet and looking for a delicious and healthy dinner, seafood is the way to go. A good source of high-quality protein, vitamins and minerals, seafood is low in saturated fat—a perfect solution for your diet. Many kinds of seafood are also packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which contribute to improving health and reducing risk for certain conditions such as heart disease. Naturally delicious, seafood is tough to beat and many kinds can be easily prepared in 30 minutes or less. Here are some recommendations from nutrition whiz Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S., and author of The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth.
Crustaceans are one of two main classifications of shellfish (the other being mollusks), and include crayfish, prawns, shrimp and lobster. Crayfish are freshwater cousins of the lobster. Prawns are basically really large shrimp. And shrimp are the most popular shellfish in the world. They’re a great source of protein, and a low-calorie one at that. One 3-ounce serving has 17 grams of protein and only 90 calories. Shrimp have all nine essential amino acids, plus small-to-moderate amounts of nine important minerals. Ounce for ounce, lobsters are similar to shrimp in nutritional value, with a few differences. A 3-ounce serving of lobster meat has about 95 calories and delivers almost 19 grams of high-quality protein, with all nine essential amino acids. Lobster is even higher than shrimp in the cancer-fighting trace mineral selenium. Both shrimp and lobster have only about 1 gram of fat per 3-ounce serving.
Mollusks include all other shelled creatures of the sea (with the exception of barnacles): clams, mussels, scallops and oysters. Clams are one of the richest sources of iron on the planet, containing many times the amount found in beef liver. Three ounces of raw blue mussels provide more than 100 percent of the daily value for manganese, an important trace mineral that’s essential for growth, reproduction, wound healing, peak brain function, and the proper metabolism of sugars, insulin and cholesterol. Oysters are one of nature’s most concentrated packages of zinc, with a 1-cup serving of drained oysters supplying many times more than the daily value.
White-fleshed fish, a category that includes cod, flounder, halibut, orange roughy, pollack and rockfish, are a great way to get all the benefits of seafood that the experts keep telling us about. They may not be quite as beneficial as fatty fish, because they're not as good a source of omega-3s, but white-fleshed fish have plenty of other good things to recommend them. Lean fish are low in fat and calories, but extremely rich in high-quality protein. They typically have a mild flavor, making them adaptable to every sort of cuisine. And although fatty fish have more omega-3s than lean fish, white-fleshed fish do contain some of these powerful fatty acids, which are found in very few other foods.