LIVING in Andalucia certainly opens up a tasty range of seafood options, and the good news is that the health benefits of eating it are well proven.
Studies show that including one portion of seafood in your weekly diet can reduce the chances of having a heart attack by half.
And while oily fish like salmon and cod is known for its high content of omega-3, seafood options such as prawns, crabs, squid and octopus also contain high levels of this essential fatty acid which is key to a healthy heart.
When consumed in seafood, omega-3 has also been shown to help reduce the risk of dementia and memory problems late in life.
Moreover omega-3 is not the only benefit – seafood also contains many other important vitamins and minerals.
And while seafood does contain cholesterol, it is unlikely to affect your blood cholesterol level because it is low in saturated fats.
Discover more about shellfish here with the Olive Press’ easy reference guide, which includes the Spanish words to help you choose what to go for…
Shrimps (camarones), crayfish (langostos) and prawns (gambas)
Healthy because…they are high in B12 and selenium. Many Britons are lacking in B12, which can only be found naturally in animal-based foods. Selenium is important for the immune system and thyroid.
Avoid if…you start itching. You might be having an allergic reaction to the tropomyosin protein, which can lead to full throat swelling and even death.
Healthy because… they have high levels of iodine which is good for a healthy thyroid, along with folic acid and B12. Mussels are also the shellfish with the highest levels of omega-3.
Avoid if…you are pregnant. Although they are officially safe, there is always a risk toxins will remain.
Healthy because…it contains high levels of B2, which can help fight migraines, bone-strengthening phosphorus and also minerals zinc and copper. Copper is vital for absorbing iron.
Avoid if…you are sensitive to other seafood, or if you suspect it is not completely fresh. Fried and battered squid is also very high in fat.
Healthy because…they are high in zinc, which is important for sexual function, and vitamins A, C and B12 which promote energy.
Their high content of tyrosine, an amino acid, also helps improve the mood and regulate stress.
Avoid if…you have had an allergic reaction before. Also, be wary of unfarmed oysters as they can contain high levels of poisonous mercury.
Healthy because…it is lean, and contains lots of vitamin E – which is good for the skin – plus vitamin B.
Avoid if…you are trying to lose weight. Traditional lobster dishes such as Thermidor contain cognac, cream and cheese and therefore have extremely high calorie contents.
Healthy because…they are low in calories and contain practically no saturated fat. They are a great source of vitamin B plus minerals magnesium and potassium.
Avoid if…you are sensitive to shellfish. Gout and kidney stones sufferers should also avoid them because of their high purines levels.
Healthy because…it is high in protein but very low in calories and contains high levels of and omega-3. It also contains the trace mineral selenium which is a powerful antioxidant.
Avoid if…you suffer from gout or kidney stones. Crab contains a high amount of purines which make symptoms worse.
Healthy because…it contains iron, potassium, selenium and lots of B vitamins. It can also have a calming effect on the nervous system, and is high in taurine, an amino acid which can help prevent heart disease.
Avoid if…you are a child. Seafood should be avoided by the under-ones, and after that children should only eat it cooked.