Friday, February 10, 2012

I fell hook, line and sinker

Nederlands: Plateau van zeevruchten
Image via Wikipedia
From Holland, a platter of heart-healthy seafood.

Heart disease kills nearly 1,400 people a day in the United States -- 500,000 every year -- so you have to wonder whether we are eating ourselves into the grave. 

I had open-heart surgery last September to repair damage from a heart murmur, which isn't diet related. But I didn't require bypasses to get around blockages in my coronary arteries from an over-consumption of animal proteins.

I have always loved fish, and two years ago, I stopped eating meat and poultry. I haven't had butter or cream for decades, and fruit satisfies my sweet tooth.

A monthly newsletter from an importer, the Mazzetta Co. in Highland Park, discusses heart-healthy seafood and increasing shortages of beef and poultry. 

February is National Heart Month, according to the company. "Protect your heart by eating seafood," the newsletter says. 

I've fallen for that argument hook, line and sinker.

Mazzetta imports the farmed Black Tiger Shrimp I buy at Costco Wholesale under the "Seamazz" name. Here are excerpts from the newsletter:

"Every year, heart disease takes the lives of over half a million Americans, and it remains the leading cause of death in the United States.  This devastating epidemic leaves no one untouched; its victims are fathers and daughters, grandparents and siblings, and friends.  Every February, we remember the steps each of us can take to reduce the risk of heart disease and recommit to better heart health for all Americans.

"People with heart disease tend to have something in common: Many have spent decades eating too much saturated fat and not consuming enough fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins like seafood.  Many people with heart disease try to banish fats, but they're missing out on lots of foods that can protect the heart. Fish, avocados, nuts, and olive oil-they're all fatty, and they can all help keep you alive.  In fact, Omega-3 fatty acids found in cold-water fish have been shown to prevent blood clots, lower blood pressure, and slow the buildup of plaque in the arteries.  Large studies suggest that Omega-3 fatty acids from seafoods can lower the risk of heart disease by more than 35% and can reduce the risk of sudden death from heart attack by more than 50%."

Rising beef prices

"The price of beef has hit an all-time high in each of the last four months, and experts expect cattle prices to rise even more throughout the year.  An agricultural economist at the University of Missouri has projected an average price $5.10 - $5.15 per pound of beef in 2012.  The rising price of beef began in 2011 when blistering heat and drought killed cows and grass and also sparked wildfires that consumed 4 million acres of pasture in Texas and Oklahoma.  At the same time, U.S. beef exports grew 23 percent while beef imports fell 12 percent - adding even more pressure on an already tight supply chain.

There is now less beef on grocery shelves and in restaurants, per American, than there has been since 1952.  Likewise, the U.S. supply of poultry, pork, and turkey continues to decline albeit far less dramatically than beef.

Unlike these other proteins, seafood is experiencing increases in production.  Pangasius and shrimp farming in Southeast Asia continues to grow and higher volumes are expected through 2013. Additionally, Chilean and Norwegian salmon farming will continue to experience greater outputs which will allow more affordable market prices.  The seafood industry as well as retailers, restaurants, distributors, and foodservice organizations need to be prepared to take advantage of this opportunity to promote seafood as a cost-effective, nutritious, delicious, and readily available protein."
Here is a link to the newsletter:
Seamazz Newsletter

According to its Web site, Mazzetta was founded in 1987 and is "one of the world's leading, fully integrated, direct importers of premium-frozen seafood."

"The company manages all of the intricate steps involved in identifying, harvesting, processing and delivering an uninterrupted supply of fish and shellfish from sustainable resources worldwide.  

"Mazzetta's customers include restaurants, retailers, distributors, hospitality and foodservice organizations across North America."

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