Table of contents

What’s so healthy about seafood?

Seafood is an important part of a healthy diet and is becoming the food of choice for the health-conscious. Some great reasons to eat seafood are shown in the nutrition information table below. It’s good for our brains, and lots more!

In Australia, we don’t eat enough seafood. The Australian Dietary Guidelines and Heart Foundation advise eating one or two fish-based meals per week (a serve of fish is 80 to 120 grams cooked weight), but according to the last National Dietary Survey, only one in four of us reported eating fish at least once a week.

“The evidence is now largely unequivocal that some fish each week is an advantage to health and longevity”.

This view is supported by a great deal of scientific and medical research. A good starting point to understand this information is FRDC's publication What’s so healthy about seafood?

For more detailed information visit the Super Seafood website or download the Super Seafood information booklet.

The Omega-3 Centre

The FRDC is a member of the Omega-3 Centre. The Centre was set up and operates as a centre of excellence in Omega-3 fatty acids for Australia and New Zealand. Its primary focus is communicating the health benefits of long chain Omega-3s.

All communications from the Omega-3 Centre are based on sound science, and scientific advice will always be sought from leading researchers in the area. The Centre has strong links with a range of scientific organisations in Australia, New Zealand and internationally. The Centre acts as a catalyst for scientific research into Omega-3s and the benefits for human health, and helps translate the science of Omega-3s to actions.

For more information, visit the Omega-3 Centre website.

What are Omega-3s?

Omega-3s are essential nutrients just like vitamins and minerals and they play many critical roles. Omega-3s are a type of polyunsaturated fat which our bodies cannot make naturally.

The Omega-3 (called ALA) found in plant sourced foods such as canola oil, linseeds and walnuts needs to be converted by the body to the long chain Omega-3s to be used effectively. Unfortunately, this conversion is very inefficient so it is desirable to include long chain Omega-3s in the diet as well.

Sources of long chain Omega-3s

Where are they found?

Oily fish, other fish and seafood are the main sources of long chain Omega-3s with eggs and lean red meat providing smaller amounts. Supplements of fish oil are rich in long chain Omega-3s and foods enriched with long chain Omega-3s are beginning to appear in supermarkets.

There is a vegetarian source of Omega-3 (called DHA) made from marine algae, which is used in a variety of Omega-3 enriched foods and infant formulas. Interestingly, it is the marine algae that fish feed on which helps make them a rich source of long chain Omega-3s.

How much do you need?

To prevent a deficiency of long chain Omega-3s, health authorities recommend 90mg/day for women and 160mg/day for men. However, to lower chronic disease risk, a much higher amount is recommended:

  • For women 430mg per day
  • For men 610mg per day

For some health conditions (such as arthritis and high blood triglyceride levels) doctors recommend higher intakes and fish oil supplements are required.

Rank

Species

Marketing name

Scientific Name

Oil (%)

Total Omega-3

LC PUFA (mg/150g)

1

Tuna

Slender Tuna

Allothunnus fallai

16.5

5640

2

Swordfish

Swordfish

Xiphias gladius

7.7

1530

3

Morwong

Banded Morwong

Cheilodactylus spectabilis

3.2

1230

4

Redfish

Alfonsino

Beryx splendens

5.2

1195

5

Whitebait

Whitebait

Lovettia sealii

2.6

1100

6

Trevally

Bigeye Trevally

Caranx sexfasciatus

4.7

1065

7

Whitebait

Whitebait

Galaxias maculatus

3.3

1030

8

Mackerel

Blue Mackerel

Scomberomorus astralasicus

3.8

760

9

Australian Bonito

Australian Bonito

Sarda australis

1.5

650

10

Gemfish

Gemfish

Rexea solandri

2.6

640

11

Rudderfish

Rudderfish

Centrolophus niger

14.4

620

12

Mackerel

Spanish Mackerel

Scomberomorus commerson

3

575

13

Sweep

Sweep

Scorpis lineolatus

1.3

555

14

Australian Herring

Australian Herring

Arripus georgianus

1.3

540

15

Grouper

Western Blue Grouper

Achoerodus gouldii

3.6

540

16

Boarfish

Bigspine Boarfish

Pentaceros decacanthus

1.5

530

17

Australian Salmon

Australian Salmon

Arripis trutta

1.1

505

18

Mackerel

Spotted Mackerel

Scomberomorus munroi

1.2

500

19

Mackerel

School Mackerel

Scomberomorus queenslandicus

1.1

490

20

Mackerel

Grey Mackerel

Scomberomorus semifasciatus

1.1

490

21

Tailor

Tailor

Pomatomus saltatrix

1.3

490

22

Emperor

Threadfin Emperor

Lethrinus genivittatus

2.6

490

23

Redfish

Bight Redfish

Centroberyx gerrardi

0.5

485

24

Australian Sardine

Australian Sardine

Sardinops sagax

1.2

470

25

Trevalla

Blue-Eye Trevalla

Schedophilus labyrinthica

1.3

470