Seafood does not refer to food for sea. Ironically it means the food that we get from the sea and other water bodies. Seafood includes all aquatic life that humans can consume as food.
Humans tend to consume everything which is edible, and from the end of all seafood lovers, I can assure it is not just anything but delectable and tasty food with a not so pleasant aroma though.
Many regions of the world rely especially on seafood for their source of consumption as many poor people can directly catch and cook these beings and they may not necessarily be purchased from the market.
Seafood is also sometimes one of the exquisite items or a restaurant’s menu and can be very expensive too.
As the word in itself represents a vast genre of beings thus, naming each being separate would be a task. So, to ease this job, broad categories have been carved.
The Five Broad Types of Seafood are:
Various type of fishes are considered edible and are loved by humans. 15% of worlds total protein intake comes from Fishes.
Seafood includes bony fishes, sawfish, sturgeons, lampreys, rays, skates and even some primitive sharks.
Fishes are a rich source of proteins, Vitamins, and Omega 3 Fatty acids. Fish allergies are common in people, and thus, you should only consume a little amount in the first go to check for allergies if any.
The fishes can further be classified under broader and smaller categories based on their fat content, shape and even in the waterbody that they exist in.
A lean fish usually provides us 18-25% of our protein intake which is almost equal to that provided by poultry with much fewer calories.
Some of the most commonly consumed types of fish are:
- Salmon: It is further available in various types and is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and most of all a great source of Omega 3.
- Mackerel: It is a great source of vitamin B12 in particular.
- Sardines: On the whole of the plant, sardines are the highest ever source of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Cod: Codfishes have a good amount of lean protein and vitamin B12.
- Angler Fish: The essential benefit being the formation of new cells on consumption of this fish.
- Tilapia: It is a good source of vitamins, minerals, and protein.
- Catfish: All fishes contain mercury which is a hazardous substance, it is often believed that catfish have the least mercury content.
- Eel: Consumption of Eel helps in the formation of DNA and also the regeneration of cells.
- Tuna: This fish helps in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system.
Furthermore, the fishes can also be categorized under various subheads:
- The Freshwater Fishes: These are those fishes which spend most of their life in freshwater, i.e., in the rivers, lakes, and ponds. The examples of fishes under this category include the herring, carp, and tilapias.
- The Marine Pelagics: These fishes do not travel all the way to the seabed and are rather residing closer to the surface of the sea. These fishes usually have a red skin focussing and highlighting the strength in their muscles that are needed to swim. Salmons, Tunas, sharks, and mackerels are common pelagics.
- Diadromous Fishes: These fishes chose to swim and migrate their way through the freshwater to the sea and vice versa. Some examples of Diadromous fishes include Eels, Lampreys, and Shads.
- The Marine Demersal: Just the opposite of the marine pelagics, the marine demersal are usually found in the bottom of the sea column. These usually have white flesh. The Stingrays and Cods fall under this category.
Crustaceans are generally hard-shelled and often walk around in jointed legs. Their frontal limbs have pincers or claws to create a grip on things. Crustaceans always do have gills and a segmented body with appendages.
Just like fishes’ crustaceans are a rich source of proteins, carbohydrates, and omega 3 fatty acids. They help in boosting your immune system apart from various other benefits which they provide to your overall growth.
Various crustaceans are fit for human consumption. Some of the commonly heard of crustaceans types are:
- Lobster: Copper and selenium are received by consuming lobsters.
- Clam: It has a high content of Iron.
- Barnacles: More than their nutrient content they are often famous for their high-quality taste.
- Shrimp: Carotenoid astaxanthin is found uniquely in shrimps. Freshwater shrimps are called Prawns.
- Crayfish: It is rich in vitamins, minerals, zinc and amino acids.
- Oyster: Oysters are often said to be a great source of vitamin C, selenium, zinc, and iron.
- Crabs: Crabs are low in fat and also contain polyunsaturated acids along with Omega-3.
- Krill: It has Omega-3 in abundance and also a rich source of high-quality protein.
These animals are generally invertebrates, i.e., they do not have a vertebral column. Mollusks are a great source of zinc, magnesium, copper, and iron along with protein, Omega-3 and other vital nutrients that are also present in other seafood’s.
Some types of the edible mollusks are:
- Scallops: These have great content of vitamin B12 and phosphorus.
- Mussels: Mussels are famous for their exceptionally high content of vitamin B12.
- Cephalopods: These have shell-like protection over them, and their foot generally seem to be issued from their heads. These are popular in certain cultures and are prepared in various ways. They propel or move by laying down and simulating a water jet.
- Gastropods: They are also called sea snails and seem to be propelling themselves using their stomach. They are covered in a single shell. For examples:- Albones and Whelks.
- Bivalves: These crustaceans have a hinged shell which is divided into two parts. For example:- the above spoken of, Scallops are bivalved.
These are marine invertebrates, both sea urchins and sea cucumbers are the most common edible echinoderms. The sea cucumbers are often used in Chinese medication system. Apart from these two, the starfish which is also an echinoderm is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties.
A fully ripe egg of the fishes. Roe earlier was only limited to that of sturgeons, but now with growing popularity, more varieties are also available.
This roe is often consumed in the form of Caviar. Caviar is a highly nutritious and delicious delicacy. It is famous for its unique taste and exquisite flavors.
Usually served at Sushi places or Chinese restaurants and as mentioned are a rich source of vitamins, iron and also high in sodium which in turn causes various health issues, and thus you should consume them in moderate quantities only. Another downside is its high price.
• Jelly Fish
As the name suggests, these fishes are gelatinous and wiggle. They are in the shape of an umbrella or bell. Their long tentacles help them sting to capture their prey. These are occasionally seen in freshwater. They are a favorite in Japan.
These are microorganisms which can be fit for consumption of both human and animals. They can be either bacterial, fungal or algae. One such example is spirulina.
• Sea Weeds
The edible seaweeds have a high amount of fiber and complete proteins. The examples of some of the seaweed groups are red, brown and green algae. These are not microscopic. These delicacies are a part of not just Korea, Japan, and China but also some European dishes.
Further, these seafood items have various examples of living beings under each class apart from the examples mentioned in each category that we consume.
Also, each fish or mollusk can be cooked in several different ways. Thus, giving rise to such a huge variety of seafood. It is not only healthy for our internal body, but the benefits of consuming various seafood items indicate that seafood is equally healthy and important for our outer body and well-being.
Sea creatures are also used in various medications which help you receive important Omega 3 acids for your body along with other vital nutrients.
Before ending this article, we must also warn you about the various risks and hazards of consuming seafood.
Many people are allergic to seafood, and it is a common phenomenon. You may be allergic to just one of the seafood varieties, or it is also possible that you might just be allergic to seafood as a whole.
If any reaction is thus, notice within a few minutes to a few hours after consumption of seafood one must instantly consult a doctor as these can be dangerous.