The UK is hooked: Four times as many Brits are choosing seafood over avocados to get fit and healthy

Wed 11th March 2020
Monkfish Curry Recipe Image

New ‘Sea for Yourself’ campaign unveils Brits’ cooking habits at home, raising awareness of seafood caught in UK waters including sole, crab, monkfish, mussels, and herring. Study reveals over half (56%) of the UK is planning to eat more healthily this spring - with seafood high on the menu. 4 in 10 Brits (40%) would incorporate even more fish into their diet if they felt more confident cooking it, with over two thirds (67%) calling out seafood’s health benefits as the main reason for wanting to.

12th March 2020: As the Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch is lit today, new research has revealed that more than four times as many Brits (26%) think seafood such as hake, mackerel, and trout is better to eat than avocados to get fit and healthy. Brits are picking fish, fruit, and wholegrain carbs as the top health foods to help them prepare for exercise and training, over wellness favourites like protein shakes (9%) and avocados (6%).

The study of 4,000 adults for the ‘Sea for Yourself’ campaign, an initiative supported by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and Non-Departmental Public Body Seafish, highlights the foods Brits are cooking at home, and their attitudes towards exercising and healthy eating. The findings come as British Olympian, Denise Lewis OBE, backs seafood caught in UK waters as an important part of a well-balanced diet.
Packed full of protein, omega-3 fats and essential vitamins and minerals such as phosphorus, selenium, iodine and certain B vitamins, as well as zinc in shellfish, and vitamin D in oily fish, the health benefits of eating seafood are widely acknowledged, and more than half of the UK (52%) are already cooking salmon and tuna dishes at least once a week. 

However, 40% of Brits admit they would integrate more fish into their diets if they felt more confident cooking it, with over two thirds (67%) calling out seafood’s health benefits as the main reason for wanting to. Delicious, easy-to-cook species such as monkfish, mussels, and lemon sole are sometimes overlooked for our nation’s favourites but provide a great alternative to mix up a healthy diet and help Brits out of a recipe rut.
Denise Lewis OBE, British gold-medal Olympian, said: “As a former Olympian, I’ve always been committed to maintaining a healthy diet so I can live life to the full and stay fit enough to race around with my kids. 20 years on from winning gold at the Sydney 2000, seafood continues to be my favourite source of protein and healthy fats, and I love the variety it allows me. Whether I’m concentrating on my training regime or whipping up a tasty meal like grilled brown trout with spinach for my family, testing out a simple yet delicious new seafood recipe is my go-to cooking choice.”
Juliette Kellow, Consultant Nutritionist at Seafish, added: “Most of us are familiar with nutrition advice that encourages us to eat a wide variety of fruit and vegetables for optimal health, and it’s the same when it comes to seafood. Many varieties of fish provide a range of B vitamins, including vitamins B3, B6 and B12, all of which help fight fatigue for those of us always on the go. 

Incorporating new fish like herring, coley or hake, and shellfish like crab and mussels into your diet is smart as they provide a great source of protein and allow you to make the most of all the health benefits seafood offers. Whether you’re going through a busy period or have an active lifestyle, you don’t have to be an Olympian to enjoy the wealth of health benefits seafood has to offer.”

Brits’ top 5 food sources for training and exercise 

  1. Fruit 33% 
  2. Wholegrain carbs such as brown bread, rice and pasta 28% 
  3. Fish and shellfish 26% 
  4. Cruciferous vegetables such as kale, broccoli, and cabbage 25%
  5.  Eggs 21%
Discover more about the Sea for Yourself campaign here