Advice about Eating Seafood

Jennifer McGuire, MS, RD

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans name seafood among the handful of foods Americans should eat more of for heart and brain benefits. At a time when people are often told what not to eat, a thorough review of dozens of seafood studies shows Americans, especially pregnant and breastfeeding moms, should increase the amount of seafood they eat to at least two servings each week. Here is the latest advice about eating seafood:

  1. Increase the amount and variety of seafood consumed by choosing seafood in place of some meat and poultry

    Eating seafood at least twice a week reduces the risk of heart disease, the number one cause of death among both men and women. Aim for at least two 4-ounce servings of seafood per week. A 4-ounce serving is about the size of a cell phone. The average American eats about one serving of seafood a week, so this means most people should double the amount of fish they eat.

  2. Seafood choices can include those with higher and lower amounts of omega-3s, but, some choices with higher amounts should be included.

    Fish and shellfish of all types are nutrient-rich, meaning they pack healthy nutrients like omega-3s and protein into less than a couple hundred calories per 4-ounce serving. Types of seafood especially high in omega-3s include canned albacore tuna, salmon, trout, and sardines.

  3. Specifically for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, consume 8 to 12 ounces of seafood per week from a variety of seafood types.

    Eating seafood 2-3 times a week during pregnancy and breastfeeding boosts eye and brain development in babies. The average pregnant woman eats less than half a serving of seafood per week, so this means most moms-to-be should quadruple the amount of fish they eat. There are four exotic fish to avoid during pregnancy and breastfeeding: tilefish, shark, swordfish, and king mackerel. Up to half (six ounces) of the seafood pregnant women eat each week can be white albacore tuna.

    For effortless ideas on how to make seafood for your family, visit

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