Why Wild Caught Fish & Seafood Is So Important For Winter Diets

As the seasons change, so should our nutrition to support general health and wellbeing. There’s never been a better time to embrace autumnal eating and wintery recipes than with wild caught Alaska seafood. 

We asked Nutritional Scientist (MSc Nutr Med), Integrative Medicine Practitioner, Health

writer and Consultant, Toral Shah a few questions about nutrition as the weather changes and how meal planning could be the key to staying well. Shah’s consultancy, The Urban Kitchen focuses on practical advice for people wanting to get more from their nutrition.  Shah also specialises on the role of diet and nutrition in the prevention of disease, particularly cancer.

Here’s what the nutritional scientist had to say… 

Generally speaking, how can individuals support their health through nutrition in autumn and winter months? 

As the year progresses and the seasons change, our body has different requirements and one way of supporting this is through what we eat. In autumn and winter, as we have less sunlight hours in the Northern Hemisphere, we require more vitamin D from our food as we are no longer able to make this from the reaction of the sun on our skin. 

Our immune system often has to work a little harder in the cooler months as we spend more time indoors and are more prone to infections. Eating to support our immune system can help us to reduce the impact of colds and flu. 

What nutrients can wild caught salmon provide in our diets to help general wellbeing?

Eating wild caught salmon and seafood can be a great way of ensuring that we are meeting our vitamin D needs as well as those of other nutrients which support our overall health and immune system including omega-3 fatty acids and selenium.  

Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of unsaturated fatty acid that may reduce inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation in the body can damage the blood vessels and lead to heart disease and strokes. Eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids supports reducing inflammation and any associated diseases. 

Selenium is a key nutrient which we require for many aspects of our health but one of most important roles is in supporting the initiation of and regulating our immune system. 

How many serves of fish or seafood should we aim for in a week?  

Nutrition studies suggest that we should aim for at least two portions of oily fish a week to support not only our immune health but as it may also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, depression, Alzheimer's disease, and other chronic conditions. 

If you are pregnant, or trying to become pregnant or breast-feeding, you will also need to ensure that you are minimising your exposure to mercury and other pollutants found in fish and seafood. Wild caught Alaska seafood including oily fish is naturally lower in these pollutants than farmed fish due to what they are fed, and the pesticides and other pollutants which make their way into our waterways. 

Is this the same for white fish, for example Wild Alaska Pollock or shellfish? 

White fish and shellfish are an important part of a healthy diet as they are also rich in nutrients such as protein, vitamin B12 and low in saturated fats. They are also a valuable source of calcium, as is wild caught salmon, and iron, which we require for healthy bones and red blood cells for carrying oxygen around our bodies. 

 Wild Alaskan Pollock or Yellowfin sole provides us with our daily requirement of vitamin B12 which our bodies need for healthy functioning and development of brain and nerve cells, red blood cells and DNA.

Is it important to know where your seafood is coming from? 

 Understanding  where your fish and seafood comes from is important for the environment and to protect our oceans from overfishing and pollution. Sustainable fishing means that fish is caught in a way that ensures the future of the fish species, whilst maintaining the well-being of the ocean and communities that rely on fishing around the world. Wild Alaska fish and seafood can be traced back to its origins and is caught to ensure sustainable practices.

Do you have any tips on how to incorporate more fish into weekly diets?

Meal planning is one of the most important ways to ensure you are incorporating enough fish and nutrients into your diet, whilst limiting food waste which has a huge impact on climate change. In the winter, one of my favourite ways to eat fish is in warming and nourishing dishes such as salmon laksa or fish curry. 

You can batch cook these, adding in your favourite seasonal vegetables and freeze in portions to save time and reduce waste. Dishes you can prepare ahead of time such as fish pies, chowder or fish burgers can be spiced to according to your family’s needs and often become week night favourites. Eating wild Alaska fish and seafood is great for body and mind!