I enjoy writing about seafood as much as I like eating it. And nothing beats the summertime seafood festival I savor every time I’m staying back in my hometown of Gloucester, MA. This quaint, little coastal town has been the center of the American fishing and maritime industry since the early 1600s. And you can bet the seafood there is as fresh as it gets.
Of course, besides being tasty, seafood is a rich source of omega-3 essential fatty acids. And, in my view, omega-3 levels in your blood — not cholesterol levels — are the optimal predictor of both heart 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.
As you may have already heard, I’ve completely rethought my daily requirements for omega-3 fatty acids. And based on the mounting evidence, I think you should strive to take in 3,000 to 4,000 mg of omega-3s per day.
Now, if you eat fatty fish or seafood at every meal — every day — there’s really no need for you to take fish oil supplements. But unless you’re a character from The Old Man and the Sea, it’s quite unlikely your fish intake is that high.
I find most people do need to take a high-quality fish oil supplement daily. You can learn what nobody else will tell you — exactly how much you should take daily, based on your personal fish and seafood consumption — in the June issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter. (Not yet a subscriber? No worries — it just takes one click!)
For the record, eating seafood does NOT cause high cholesterol
Of course, for decades, the government told us to avoid foods like seafood that contain cholesterol. But scientists have known since the early 1980s that the cholesterol in seafood does NOT translate to cholesterol in blood.
This disastrous dietary advice did not achieve its intended purpose to lower cholesterol levels in the blood. Plus, we now know that a majority of all men and women who suffer heart attacks have normal blood cholesterol levels.
When it comes to cholesterol, the government simply got it wrong for decades.
Now, I’m not saying the government never gets it right. Or that the government is always wrong and constantly covering up their errors.
What I will say is that government experts are “often wrong, but never in doubt.”
So, the bigger problem here is that we can never really be sure when the government is actually right…wrong…or outright lying.
Therefore, I’ve found it best to treat everything the government says with suspicion and deep reservations until solid evidence points one way or the other. Speaking of which, my skepticism piqued when I learned how the government has been handling the fishing industry in my dear hometown near Gloucester.
Let’s listen to the fishermen
If you’ve never been to Gloucester, let me tell you a little about it. The town is surrounded on three sides by the Atlantic Ocean. So, you can easily admire the expanse of sparkling blue water from virtually any place in the city…except from the new industrial park, which houses the swanky offices of the fisheries bureau of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Of course, NOAA is in charge of telling U.S. fishermen what to do. But I doubt any of its bureaucrats have ever even been in a boat! The only signs of life outside the Gloucester building can be observed at quitting time at 4 p.m. — or during smoking breaks.
For years, the government has been trying to put the historic Gloucester fisheries out of business. Meanwhile, some fishermen continue to look to the government for help — or at least relief. (They must be gluttons for frustration and disappointment.)
To add insult to injury, the environmental crony capitalists in Washington, D.C., often team up with big oil and other big business to push out fishermen, so they can implement programs that protect undersea mineral rights — but not the environment. It’s disgusting…
In fact, my daughter’s friend — whose family I’ve known for more than 50 years — recently recounted how the government used environmental regulations to throw the fishermen out of their traditional fishing grounds so they could build a liquid natural gas (LNG) pumping platform.
We did have a New Englander on the inside in D.C. at one point who tried to help the fishermen…
My friend Scott Brown, the former U.S. Senator from Massachusetts (2010 to 2013), spent a lot of time on the North Shore of Massachusetts prior to serving in Congress.
I first met Scott at an event hosted by George Lodge, an old friend who had attended the University of Pennsylvania with my wife and me during the late 1970s.
At the time, the one-party monopolists of Massachusetts were saying that we couldn’t elect a Republican like Brown to the “Kennedy seat” in the Senate, which had been in the Kennedy family for 50 years. (Scott was eventually elected to the U.S. Senate after the death of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.)
Since it was a necessity to follow politics in my line of work, I learned that before JFK came along, that Senate seat had actually been in the Lodge Family for 60 years.
I pointed out to George Lodge and Scott Brown at the event that the “Kennedy seat” was really the “Lodge seat.”
George laughed, and Scott said, “No, it’s the ‘peoples’ seat.’”
Thinking like Scott’s is unfortunately a rarity in today’s political climate and line of governmental “leadership.”
Scott didn’t last in the U.S. Senate thanks to the merry, old, one-party monopoly in Massachusetts. He now serves as U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand, where he sends me news of his adventures regularly.
Fortunately, the commercial fishing industry in Massachusetts has since banded together. The fishermen know quite well how to make fisheries environmentally sustainable. They’re out on the waters every day making observations.
In fact, the fishermen report what they catch and help develop recommendations about how to regulate the amount of fish that can be caught each day. Today, the local commercial fishing industry relies on the latest technology and production practices with a workforce of more than 20,000 people.
Before I sign off, I thought I’d share with you the recipe for my famous New England Seafood Boil. It makes for a hearty, nutritious meal that’s sure to satisfy the whole family.
Classic New England Seafood Boil
Yields 8 Servings
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups white wine
- 2 bulbs of garlic, cut in half, horizontally
- 1 large white onion, quartered
- 2 lemons, halved
- 1 tbsp. paprika
- 4 ears of corn, cut into thirds (Try to find organic varieties, since most corn grown today in the U.S. is genetically modified.)
- 3 yellow squash, cubed
- 3 cups, lima beans
- 1 lb. shrimp, unpeeled
- 1 lb. clams
- 3 petite lobster tails
Note: Don’t peel the shrimp or de-shell any seafood before cooking. Shells deepen the flavor and the colors with concentrated carotenoids.
- In a large stock pot, bring water, wine, garlic, onions, lemon, and paprika to a boil.
- Lower heat to medium. Add corn and other vegetables of your choice. I recommend cubed squash and beans (the other two siblings of New England native Americans’ “three sisters,” together with corn, known as succotash).
- Cover with lid and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add in assorted clams, Maine crabs or lobsters, and other seafood in the shells.
- Cover with lid and steam for 5 to 8 minutes until shrimp are pink and fully cooked, lobster shells turn bright red, and clam shells open.
- Season to taste as needed.
- When ready, strain the broth and spread food onto parchment paper or newspaper. (With most of today’s “news,” that’s about all the paper’s good for anymore.)
- Provide individual bowls to discard shells for easier après-boil bowl clean-up.
Enjoy the gifts the sea gives us this summer and don’t shy away from seafood. And if you ever make your way to Gloucester, send me an email — I’d be happy to recommend where to find the best lobster tail, scallops, and shrimp.