For years, the EPA has advised adults limit the amount of seafood they eat. The concern is mercury. In excessive amounts, mercury can poison the body causing muscle weakness and impaired hearing, mobility, speech, and vision. At the same time, it’s also recommended that adults eat plenty of seafood in order to gain the health benefits found in omega fatty acids.
The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Protection recommends approximately 25 to 35 grams of fats per day for men over the age of 70 and 25 to 30 grams for women. Health.gov recommends at least two servings of seafood a week, but there’s still the concern over mercury. This makes it hard to decide how much seafood is safe for your aging parent. Here are some tips.
A Study Finds Seafood May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 8 ounces of an oily fish is the recommendation.
Rush University Medical Center did a study on high seafood diets and the effect on cognitive skills. The researchers found that the benefits of fish oils outweigh the risk of mercury.
In the study, 544 elderly men and women ate a diet that exceeded two seafood meals per week. They were monitored for 10 years. Most of the participants lived to their 90s and then their brain was autopsied. In many cases, while mercury levels were higher than normal, the participants also showed fewer signs of having Alzheimer’s. Participants who only used fish oil supplements did not seem to gain the same benefits.
Stick to Lower Mercury Options
Let your aging parent enough seafood. You can limit the exposure to mercury by choosing seafood options that are high in omega fatty acids but low in mercury. These options include:
- North Atlantic Mackerel
Fresh and wild caught are better than farm raised fish, when possible, so keep that in mind when shopping. Keep the list handy for anyone else who might help your parent shop.
Are you unsure that your parent is eating a proper diet that is rich in seafood? Call a senior care agency to discuss having a caregiver take over meal preparation. Not only can the senior care professional help your
mom or dad with shopping, but the caregiver will also help prepare meals and plan a menu that ensures there is seafood in your mom or dad’s diet.