Why it’s Good to Eat Fish
Fish is a healthy choice, yet many avoid this excellent source of nutrition due to concerns of mercury, PCB’s and other contaminants.
For this reason, I also avoided fish for a while. Whenever I walked into the food store and went to the fish counter, I often forgot which fish was safest.
Even though some types of fish should be avoided due to the mercury and level of toxins (heavy metals, industrial waste products etc.), there still is a good variety of fish that are not only safe to eat, but have great health benefits unlike any other food.
Fish is the best source of omega-3 fatty acids and also supplies vitamins and minerals. Those with diets consisting of fish at least twice a week have been shown to benefit from improved immune system function, improved vision, decreased risk of heart disease, and improved brain development in infants. One study found those that consumed fish had a 36% reduced risk of death from coronary heart disease.
Important to Select the Right Kind of Fish
When it comes to eating fish, the most important part is selecting the right type of fish. All fish contain some amounts of mercury, chemicals, dioxins, PCB’s and other contaminants, but it’s most important to avoid those with the highest amounts.
Having good gut flora (beneficial bacteria) also helps reduce the negative effects of mercury because they bind with the mercury and prevent absorption.
There are quite a few varieties that contain the least amount of chemicals and mercury and are safe to eat in moderation; thus, the benefits outweigh the risks. Those listed below as “fish to avoid” should be completely avoided due to the high number of toxins.
Healthiest Fish to Eat:
Don’t Buy Farmed Seafood!
Following the chart above is an easy way to select the healthiest fish to eat, but you also have to check where the fish comes from!
The majority of fish, over 80% comes from developing countries such as Thailand and Vietnam, where regulations are not as strict. In these countries the fish may be raised in unsafe conditions such as waste. Pesticides, banned chemicals, and heavy metals are also even more of a concern for fish not raised in the USA. When the fish is raised in unsanitary conditions, they add even more pesticides and antibiotics.
When it comes to selecting fish, do NOT buy any FARMED fish! This is a great concern especially when selecting which type of salmon to get. You want to get wild caught salmon that is labeled as Alaskan salmon. If it is not labeled as Alaskan salmon, this means it is farmed or Atlantic salmon, neither of which you want because it is the most harmful to health!
*Safe-Alaskan –also labeled as: King Chinook Salmon, Silver Coho Salmon, Red Sockeye Salmon
*Not safe- farmed/Atlantic
If you have trouble finding the Alaskan salmon fresh, you can also buy it frozen. I usually get mine frozen because my local health food store rarely has any fresh available.
How Often Should You Eat Fish?
Most recommend consuming fish in moderation, about 1 to 2 times per week. This reduces your exposure to the chemicals and mercury in fish.