You have likely heard the term sustainable eating being tossed around in the media and at the grocery store. While the phrase is commonly used, many of us don’t understand it. That’s because the term is used in so many different ways and you will be challenged to find a universally agreed-upon definition. Eating sustainably usually means choosing food that takes into consideration the long-term preservation of our planet’s resources. Sustainable food is generally very good for you, and there is even more health benefits from choosing sustainable seafood.
Health Canada recommends eating at least two servings of seafood a week, which will allow you to get the nutritional benefits that are found in food sourced from the ocean. Seafood is rich in nutrients and filled with healthy omega-3 fats. Omega-3 can help lower the risk of heart disease, it is linked to brain development in infants and research has shown it can play a role in lowering the risk of cancer, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and depression. As we continue to deplete our oceans, consuming sustainable seafood is becoming an increasingly important issue.
“When you are planning your next meal, remember that not all seafood is created equal,” says Josh Laughren, Executive Director, Oceana Canada. “Some seafood has a bigger environmental impact and often can’t be consumed sustainably.”
By eating fish lower on the food chain, with forage fish species such as sardines and anchovies, or invertebrates, such as oysters, mussels and clams, we can dine on seafood that reproduces more quickly, requires fewer resources to grow and often has higher levels of omega-3. Because these species are lower on the food chain, they also have little of the toxic mercury that can be found in some of the ocean’s top predators, such as tuna and swordfish.
“To find more seafood that is healthy for the oceans, check with your local grocer and favourite restaurants to see if they buy from sustainable fisheries,” Says Laughren.
There are also several sustainable seafood certifications that you can find on products sold in Canada such as SeaChoice, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC).
Next time you are choosing what to eat, opt for clams, oysters, mussels, and sustainable seafood that will help keep you and our oceans healthy.
You can also protect our oceans by becoming a Wavemaker with Oceana Canada.