What Are the Health Benefits of Red Snapper?

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Red snapper, or Lutjanus campechanus, is a warm-water found fish in the Gulf of Mexico and southern Atlantic coast. This large fish may provide several health benefits when you eat it as part of a balanced diet. You can broil it with herbs, make fish soup, or try pan-seared snapper with Cajun seasoning or a tomato and wine sauce.

Control Your Weight

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Low-calorie, high-protein foods can help you lose extra weight, lowering your risk for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and osteoarthritis. A 3-ounce serving of red snapper has only 109 calories, and provides 22 grams of protein, or 44 percent of the daily value, based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Protein is a satisfying nutrient that digests slowly and reduces hunger. Meals high in protein, such as red snapper served with black bean salsa, can help you control your weight because they satisfy your hunger for longer after eating than meals without much protein.

Reduce Heart Disease Risk

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Each 3-ounce serving of cooked red snapper provides 41 milligrams of eicosapentaenoic acid and 232 milligrams of docosahexaenoic acid. These omega-3 fatty acids may help lower your risk for heart disease and high blood pressure. You should consume at least 250 milligrams of EPA and DHA per week, or the amount in 8 ounces of seafood, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010.

Prevent Megaloblastic Anemia

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A 3-ounce portion of cooked red snapper has 3 micrograms of vitamin B-12. This vitamin is essential for forming healthy red blood cells. A deficiency can lead to megaloblastic anemia, or improperly formed red blood cells. Vitamin B-12 deficiency can also result in permanent neurologic damage with numbness or tingling of the hands and feet. Healthy adults should get 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B-12 per day.

Considerations

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The way you prepare and serve your red snapper affects its nutritional value and health benefits. Breaded, fried red snapper is higher in calories, fat and carbohydrates than broiled. Another concern is the mercury content of red snapper, notes the University of Michigan website. Mercury is an environmental contaminant in seafood that can affect cognition. Pregnant women in particular should avoid certain fish species, like red snapper, which are higher in mercury than others.