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As new fish counters launch throughout Daylesford farmshops, our resident nutritionist Rhaya Jordan explains why sustainable seafood should be a regular part of a varied, balanced and delicious diet.

Easily prepared, quick to cook, packed with lean protein and a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids: fish may just be the perfect fast food.

Eating fish is associated with longevity; the longest-living populations in the world tend to be cultures that have plenty of seafood in their diets.

Today, increasing scientific and medical evidence points to a variety of ways that a diet that incorporates seafood can benefit your health and wellbeing. We know now that fish and seafood are linked with protection against dementia and mental health. You can think of seafood as brain food; the omega3 fatty acids are beneficial for brain health and development.

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Quite simply, the quality and effectiveness of the omega3 fatty acids in fish and seafood is unsurpassed. It is possible to find plant sources of omega3s, but they are not effective or efficient in this form. Eating a wide variety of seasonal seafood is ideal, including oily fish, white fish and shellfish (aim for 2-3 portions a week, or 1 per week if you are pregnant). Crustaceans and shellfish are particularly high in minerals and are one of the few sources of iodine in our diet, a vital nutrient for your thyroid gland. Bivalves such as mussels and oysters are a rich source of zinc, which is very good for the immune system, skin healing and so many other things in the body.

Sadly, even for an island nation such as the UK, it can be a challenge to eat fish responsibly and conscientiously and justified concerns about the pollution in our oceans, the problems with intensive fish farming, overfishing, ocean dredging and dwindling resources. Many people who have appreciated the benefits of delicious British seafood have been discouraged from eating it regularly.

Encouragingly, lots of fish stocks are recovering, including cod which was on the “red list” of endangered species in recent years. There are still plenty of very sustainable choices to be found, such as mussels and oysters – growing oysters actually helps to clean ocean.

Choosing sustainably sourced, responsibly fished, seasonal British seafood is the best way to support and future-proof fisheries with sound practices – and therefore the wider industry and environment. The variety of organic and wild fish and shellfish from the fresh counters at Daylesford means you can go ahead and enjoy the fruits of the sea without guilt, feeling totally comfortable about their provenance.

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