Seafood is a nutritious food and is a great source of protein. Many species are low in saturated fat and a number of them are also a source of Omega 3 fatty acids which is good for heart health. The New Zealand Heart Foundation recommends that you should have at least two servings of fish each week.
What's in seafood that makes it so good?
Protein plays an important role in our health, it is necessary for building and the repair of tissue in our body, and for the growth and development of bones in children aged 4 years and over. It also contributes to the growth and maintenance of muscle mass.
However, seafood also contains many other vitamins and minerals that also play important roles in our health. Many species are a good source of selenium and vitamin B12. Selenium is necessary for a healthy immune system and vitamin B12 is necessary for normal brain function. Both of them contribute to the growth and development in children.
Some species are also a source of vitamin D which is necessary for bone structure and for our bodies to utilise calcium and phosphorus, and it contributes to the maintenance of our teeth.
Some of the other vitamins and minerals you find in a number of species of seafood include, iron, iodine, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin B3, vitamin A and vitamin E.
For species specific nutrition information visit our Species page.
Safe consumption during pregnancy
Eating New Zealand seafood is an important part of maintaining a healthy, balanced diet. You can continue to eat seafood or to introduce seafood into your diet while pregnant. Most seafood is safe to each and contains many nutrients that are important for health, a number of species are a source of Omega 3 fatty acids.
According to the Ministry for Primary Industry’s website Omega 3 is important for the development of the central nervous system in babies, before and after they are born.
However, you shouldn’t eat raw seafood (fish, shellfish or crustaceans etc) when pregnant but it is ok to eat well- cooked seafood, such as steamed mussels, or fish and shellfish cooked in a chowder, providing that it is cooked thoroughly until steaming hot throughout and then eaten hot.
Safe exposure to mercury
Most seafood contains some mercury. The Ministry for Primary Industries website has advice on safely consuming seafood while pregnant and keeping your exposure to mercury within safe limits.