good health and learning, and schools are in a great
position to help children meet this recommendation.
The draft report recommends that a beneficial dietary change would include consuming two servings of seafood per week (4 oz. cooked, edible seafood per serving) that provide an average of 250 mg/day of n-3 (omega-3) fatty acids from marine sources. For example, 4 ounces of Alaska pollock provides 537 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids, so a typical 2-ounce edible protein serving in a school lunch would provide 268 milligrams of omega-3s.
Omega-3s Found in Seafood Are Essential for Good Health
Omega-3s are a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid. The body needs these fats, but because it cannot make them itself, they must be obtained from the diet. The two types of omega-3s found in fish and shellfish, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are known as “long-chain” omega-3s. Numerous scientific studies have shown them to be important in brain and retina development, for brain and visual function, and for protection against heart disease. In addition, omega-3s from seafood have been shown to be beneficial in treating type 2 diabetes and immune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and psoriasis. Additional studies have shown that some children with behavioral disorders show improvement in their learning and behavior when they consume fish oil or DHA, and omega-3 consumption has been linked to a lower chance of developing depression and bipolar disorder.
Freezing Only Once Preserves Nutrients
Unlike many seafood items produced for schools, Genuine Alaska Pollock is frozen once immediately after harvest to preserve all its important nutrients. Purchasing once-frozen fish is especially important for preserving the quality of the healthy omega-3 fatty acids found in seafood. If seafood is frozen more than one time during processing, fats can oxidize, degrading their quality and creating off flavors and odors.
Extremely Low in Contaminants
There is a lot of concern in the media about the levels of mercury and other contaminants in seafood. If you serve Alaska pollock, you don’t have to worry. The State of Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation regularly tests Alaska seafood for the presence of environmental toxins, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and heavy metals, such as mercury. In all tests, Alaska pollock received a clean bill of health, with extremely low amounts of contaminants – well below the levels of concern set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Alaska public health officials recommend unrestricted consumption of Alaska pollock for everyone, including pregnant and nursing women and young children. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration agrees, listing pollock is as low in mercury and safe to eat. And the American Heart Association includes pollock in its list of popular fish that are low in mercury.
|Cooked, edible portion, per 100 grams
|| 23.50 g
|| 0.00 g
|| 1.10 g
|| 0.20 g
|Omega-3 fatty acids
|| 0.50 g
|| 116.00 mg
|| 0.28 mg
|| 96.00 mg
Scientific Research on Seafood & Health
Recent research regarding the benefits of eating fish and its effects on young people is overwhelmingly positive from a variety of sources:
Overview of Scientific Information on the Effect of Fish Consumption and Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Cardiovascular Disease
Overview of Scientific Information on the Effect of Fish Consumption and Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Neurodevelopmental Health Benefits
Researchers conclude that boosting the intake of fish, EPA and DHA may be an important strategy for the prevention of depression
What’s New? - Omega-3’s – a selection of documents on Omega-3s and Health by nutrition expert, Dr. Joyce Nettleton
Are Fish and Plant Omega-3s the Same?
Fish Watch – Facts about Seafood and Health