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Experts: "Eat Seafood 4 to 7 Times a Week"

MEDIA RELEASE -- 26 March 2006

Experts in Peak US Science Body Confirm Health Benefits of Seafood: Advice to “Eat Seafood 4 to 7 Times a Week”

A PANEL of experts convened by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has confirmed the health benefits of seafood. In fact, a recommendation has emerged to eat seafood not just the usually suggested two to three times a week but instead four to seven times a week.

"The best science coming out over the last two years has overwhelmingly been in favour of the benefits of seafood consumption," said panel chair Professor Michael T. Morrissey, from Oregon State University's Department of Food Science & Technology.

“The evidence still suggests that seafood plays a role in reducing coronary heart disease – and new studies suggest that it may reduce the onset of Alzheimer's as well as other mental illnesses,” Dr Morrissey said.

In a statement released by AAAS during its annual meeting late last month (February 2006), he said US federal government guidelines for pregnant women and young children on mercury should be followed.

“But young children and pregnant women should still eat 12 oz (340 g) a week of a variety of fish to be sure to get the important nutrients – especially Omega-3 fatty acids,” Dr Morrissey said. "For the rest of us, I would recommend eating fish four to seven times a week."

Those guidelines were echoed by Professor Michael Crawford, Director of the Institute of Brain Chemistry & Human Nutrition at the London Metropolitan University. "There is more and more evidence showing the role of seafood consumption in brain evolution, development and mental health," Dr Crawford said.

Here, the AAAS statement was welcomed today by Mr Roy Palmer, Deputy Chair of Seafood Services Australia (SSA), who is working to alert the Australian public to the health benefits of seafood.

“Omega-3 oils, the so-called ‘good oils’, in fish and other seafood can clean out your arteries, improve intelligence, concentration and mood, and reduce inflammation,” Mr Palmer said. “Studies have shown seafood consumption to help people live longer, healthier lives. Seafood cuts the risk for heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, stroke, diabetes, and inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. The nutrients found in fish and shellfish help the body heal after cancer treatments, and ward off auto-immune conditions, allergies, asthma, migraines and skin conditions. The curative properties of Omega-3 oils from seafood are amazing and SSA is dedicated to spreading that message.”

In December, Mr Palmer led a delegation to a Washington DC conference, “Seafood & Health 05”, hosted by the US Department of Commerce with the assistance of the UN Food & Agriculture Organisation, and he said the key strategic investment made by the Australian Government’s Fisheries Research & Development Corporation in funding Australian representatives at this influential international gathering was paying dividends, especially through the contacts made and the flow of information on the health benefits of seafood.

“Exciting discoveries are being made in relation to the health benefits of seafood, and we believe thousands of lives and hundreds of millions of dollars in medical costs can be saved every year in Australia if these discoveries are acted upon by governments and the general public,” Mr Palmer said.

“SSA is now in direct contact with some of the key researchers in this field thanks to FRDC’s prescience in anticipating the importance of the health benefits issue and funding Australian seafood industry representatives to be involved in the conference.”

ENDS


The AAAS release is at http://www.eurekalert.org/aaasnewsroom/2006/index.php
Also see the SSA website http://www.seafood.net.au/health

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