I grew up near Gloucester, MA—a quaint, little, coastal town that’s been the center of the American fishing and maritime industry since the early 1600s. So, we always enjoyed delicious, fresh seafood.
Of course, many people (especially those who live in the middle of the country) don’t grow up feasting on fish, clams, shrimp, lobster, and other saltwater delicacies. Which is a shame—because aside from adding delicious variety to your weekly menu, seafood also offers a bounty of health benefits. That’s why, in a moment, I thought I’d share with you some fun, simple ideas for preparing healthy and delicious seafood dishes.
But first, let’s back up and talk about why seafood should be a regular part of your healthy, balanced diet…
The most unprocessed food on the planet
Wild-caught, fresh seafood is perhaps the most untouched, unprocessed food remaining on the planet! And that’s important—because studies link a diet high in ultra-processed foods with an increased risk of developing any number of chronic diseases, as well as a higher all-cause mortality risk. (Which is a higher risk of death from ANY cause.)
In addition, fresh, wild-caught seafood contains loads of healthy omega-3 essential fatty acids. And, in my view, omega-3 levels in your blood are the No. 1 predictor of both heart health and overall health.
In fact, in a recent study, researchers measured levels of two key omega-3s in 2,500 men and women. Turns out, men and women with the highest omega-3 levels had a 33 percent lower risk of dying from any cause over the seven-year study compared to those with the lowest levels.
More specifically, men and women with higher omega-3 levels had a lower risk of suffering both fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular disease events, including heart attack and stroke, over those seven years.
This finding is especially meaningful when you consider one out of every three deaths in the U.S. relates to a cardiovascular event.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of people in North America and Europe don’t eat nearly enough seafood to achieve optimal omega-3 levels. And part of the challenge may be that if you didn’t grow up around the coast, as I did, you may be unfamiliar with how to select, prepare, and enjoy seafood.
So, here’s some inspiration from around the country for how to get more fresh fish and seafood onto the weekly menu…
Four ways to prepare fish and seafood any day of the week—and especially now, during Lent
1.) Try an oyster roast. In the Charleston, South Carolina “low country,” they often employ the traditional, Native American technique of steaming oysters over a fire pit. Simply place a single layer of fresh, clean oysters on a sheet of metal over a wood-burning fire. Then, cover the oysters with burlap—which steams them and imparts a smoky flavor.
2.) Consider a Cajun crawfish boil. To prepare a crawfish boil as they do in Louisiana, simply steam the crawfish in a big pot of boiling water along with andouille sausage, corn, garlic cloves, and red potatoes. (Most boils call for four to five pounds of crawfish per person, because of the high proportion of hard shell to the tender meat of the little claws and tail.) For a Florida Gulf Coast twist to the traditional boil, simply substitute fresh shrimp for crawfish and add a few cans of beer to the boiling water.
3.) Make it a fish fry Friday. In Arkansas, along the Mississippi River, where there is an abundance of catfish, people love a good fish fry. They typically dip the filets in cornbread, then drop them in a big fryer to quickly bring them to a golden-brown crisp. Onion-laced cornbread balls go in as “hush puppies,” eaten together with okra, dill pickles, and coleslaw (shredded cabbage and carrots with mayo and vinegar). You can replicate this technique at home using any type of wild-caught, white fish, dipped lightly in bread crumbs and fried in a thin layer of olive oil in a cast-iron pan.
4.) Try a traditional New England seafood boil. In my neck of the woods, we enjoy preparing a traditional New England seafood boil. It combines several different kinds of fresh seafood—including shrimp, clams, and lobster tail—along with some fresh vegetables in a large stock pot. You simply bring the ingredients to a boil to steam, add season to taste, and strain the broth and spread the food onto parchment paper or newspaper to enjoy!
Make sure you still supplement
Of course, unless you eat fatty fish or seafood at every meal, every day, you probably still don’t get the optimal amount of omega-3 fatty acids that you need to protect your heart and overall health. That’s why I always recommend taking a daily fish oil supplement.
You can learn exactly what dose of fish oil you should take daily—as well as how to choose a quality supplement—in the upcoming April issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter (“Getting to the heart of the omega-3 ‘controversy’”). So if you’re not yet a subscriber, consider becoming one today. Believe me when I say, you won’t want to miss this eye-opening report!
“5 Traditional Seafood Feasts in the US.” Trip Trivia, 9/11/20. (triptrivia.com/traditional-seafood-feasts-in-the-us/X06Lzxy3iwAHYd9c)