'blue Food' Helps Build Healthy, Sustainable And Equitable Food Systems

'blue Food' Helps Build Healthy, Sustainable And Equitable Food Systems

Nature publishes a collection of aquatic food research and analyzes future potential

Science and Technology Daily News The British "Nature" magazine recently published a number of environmental scientific studies at the same time, and established a global database of micro and macro elements in aquatic species, one of which showed that increasing the production of "blue food" is expected to increase food consumption and improve diets - "Blue food" refers to plants, animals and algae in freshwater and marine environments. The paper is included in this "Blue Food Collection", a collection of research papers, reviews and opinion articles published in Nature, Nature Food, and Nature Communications on the impact of aquatic food on future food systems. Contributions and the challenges that need to be overcome to achieve them provide insights.

Aquatic foods may have the potential to improve human nutrition and increase the sustainability of food production, but are often underrepresented in nutritional and environmental assessments of food systems. The latest Blue Food Assessment examines the role of aquatic food in building healthy, sustainable and equitable food systems.

The team, including scientists from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, described a global database of trace and macro elements in 3,753 aquatic food species (including fish, crustaceans, and seaweeds) in Nature. By comparing it to terrestrial sources, the analysis showed that the top 7 most nutrient-rich animal-source foods were all aquatic, including ocean fish (such as tuna and herring), shellfish, and salmonids (including salmon and trout). The team simulated the impact of an approximately 8% increase in global "blue food" production by 2030, and estimated that this could reduce related food prices by 26%, potentially improving trace element intake for up to 166 million people.

The study found that some types of aquatic products were found to be more nutritious than beef, lamb, goat, chicken, or pork, on average for various nutrients (omega-3, vitamin A and vitamin B12, calcium, iodine, iron, zinc). Nutritious. Modelling shows that even with a small increase in production, aquatic food may provide more calcium (8% increase; country median), iron (+4%), omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA (+186%), zinc (+4%), vitamin B12 (+13%), but vitamin A is estimated to drop by 1%. The study also showed that increased consumption of aquatic food is almost three times as beneficial for women as for men, or points to a possible pathway towards achieving nutritional equity.

In another paper, the American University team assessed the environmental impact of "blue food" production. They analyzed 23 aquatic food species, which account for nearly three-quarters of global production, and used standard estimates for greenhouse gas emissions, nitrogen and phosphorus pollution, freshwater and land use. The analysis found that farmed bivalves (such as clams and oysters) and seaweed fared best, producing lower emissions than their fished counterparts. The findings help to mitigate environmental impacts, drive data-poor environmental assessments, and provide guidance for achieving sustainable diets.
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