Kitchen Essentials – Quick Seafood Meals

By / Food / December 21st, 2010 / 1

Health and nutrition are only minutes away when you have canned seafood stocked in your pantry. Canned seafood? I know. It doesn’t sound all that healthy, does it. Well, as long as you keep a few pointers in mind when you’re scanning the grocery store shelves, you’ll find that canned tuna, salmon, mackerel and all the rest can become the bases of fast, nutritious and tasty meals.

Health and nutritional scientist Dr. Bruce Holub, Ph.D., founder of the DHA/EPA Omega-3 Institute, has narrowed the nutritional benefits of canned seafood to a shortlist of five:

1) heart health
2) brain health
3) vision health
4) reduced risk of cancer
5) reduced risk of stroke

“Canada’s Food Guide recommends that Canadians eat at least two servings of fish each week,” said Dr. Holub. “Unfortunately the average adult consumes only one serving every seven days, meaning as many as half or more of Canadian adults eat under one serving each week. Our kids also consume an average of less than one portion of fish each week.”

Benefits of a seafood rich diet include reducing the risk of heart disease, lowering blood triglycerides, improving heart function and reducing damage from heart disease, supporting cognitive and brain  development, lowering blood pressure, and improving symptoms of inflammatory diseases and arthritis. Recent studies also suggest greater fish intakes in the aging population appear to benefit the retention of hearing capacity and reduce age-related macular deterioration. Seafood is also a rich source of protein, vitamins, and minerals including vitamin D, calcium and selenium. Many varieties of seafood are also low in sodium and cholesterol.

Sounds like a miracle food, doesn’t it. Of course, it is — as long as the seafood is as close to natural as possible. If you can purchase and prepare fresh, organic seafood several times a week, you’ve got it all covered. But, for many of us, fresh, organic seafood is either inconsistently available or priced too high to consume regularly. Some people simply don’t like dealing with the fishy smell that’s left wafting through their homes for days. But, are canned products a viable option? Yes. But, make sure you look for cans that contain a food grade liner (that doesn’t contain BPA), seafood that is sustainable and contains little to no mercury and companies that use dolphin-friendly fishing methods. Check out the ingredients list, too. There should be little else in that can. Fish, olive oil (perhaps sunflower oil) or water. Some companies add salt, others add one type of preservative or another. The less there is in the can along with the fish, the healthier it is. The exception is if all ingredients are certified organic and in as natural (unprocessed) state as possible.

Canned seafood is high in protein, low in fat and a good source of essential vitamins and minerals including Vitamin D and calcium. Research also shows both tuna and salmon have some of the highest concentrations of omega-3 healthy fatty acids which provide a wealth of nutritional benefits.

Tangy Tuna Ginger Broth
Recipe courtesy of Clover Leaf.

Serves 2

113 g     canned tuna
1            garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp    pureed, packaged ginger
2 cups   vegetable broth
1 cup     rice vermicelli noodles (angel-hair style)
1 tbsp    lemon juice

1. In a large pot, combine the tuna, garlic and ginger; sauté together for 2 minutes.
2. Add the vegetable broth and noodles and bring to a boil.
3. Serve immediately. If desired, garnish with Thai basil leaves and/or lemon wedge.

Serve with a glass of chilled Sparkling Wine.


Rosemary Mantini has always loved words. When she isn't working as the Associate Editor at Tidings Magazine, she's helping others achieve their writing dreams, and sometimes she even relaxes with a good book and a glass of wine.

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