Increasing the production of “blue foods”, derived from animals, plants and algae from marine environments, contributes to improve human nutrition and sustainability of the food industry, according to a collection of articles published this Wednesday in the scientific journal Nature.

The studies, dedicated to evaluating the potential of “blue foods” Faced with the challenges of the food systems of the future, they suggest that some categories of aquatic foods are more nutritious than beef, lamb, goat, chicken or pork, in terms of the average of all the components analyzed: omega-3, vitamins A and B12, calcium, iodine, iron, and zinc.

However, despite being so beneficial to the diet, aquatic foods are underrepresented in nutritional assessments and environmental aspects of food systems, according to the researchers, coming from the universities of Stockholm and Copenhagen, as well as the American universities Harvard, Stanford and the American University, among others.

A team led by Christopher Golden, from Harvard, prepared a global database for the study with nutritional details of more than 3,750 aquatic foods and concluded that the seven main categories of nutrient-rich animal foods come from marine environments, including pelagic fish – such as tuna or herring – shellfish and salmonids – such as salmon and trout.

Likewise, experts estimated that increasing global production of “blue foods” by 8% by 2030 could reduce prices by 26%, so that the nutrient consumption would be improved in about 166 million people.

Even with a moderate increase in global production, research suggests that aquatic foods could provide an average of 186% to the diet more omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, 13% more vitamin B12, 8% more calcium, 4% more iron and 4% more zinc.

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Regarding the environmental impact of “blue food” production, a team led by Jessica Gephart of the American University in Washington concluded that bivalves, such as clams and oysters, and farmed seaweed produce fewer emissions than their captured counterparts.

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