I was reading an article discussing whether or not it is safe for people to eat fish. There is much controversy and debate over pregnant women not eating fish because the mercury found in fish can have a detrimental effect on fetal brain development. However, a more recent study showed that children of women who ate fish on a frequent basis did better on tests displaying higher cognitive scores compared to the children of women who did not eat fish.
There is no doubt that fish is a healthy food– it’s a good source of high-quality protein, contains essential nutrients, are low in saturated fat, contain omega-3 fatty acids and DHA; all of which are vital to brain growth and development and help reduce your risk of heart disease. However, some caution is needed regarding eating too much fish that contain high amounts of mercury. All fish and shellfish contain trace amounts of mercury, however some fish you should only eat occasionally or completely avoid because they have very high amounts of mercury include: shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. Fish that contain low amounts of mercury include: shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish (all of which can be eaten on a more regular basis). Another good rule to follow is to purchase only “wild” fish and avoid fish that are “farm-raised.”
There is no reason to freak-out about whether or not you should eat fish. The thing to remember with fish, and all food for that matter, is to practice variety and moderation. Yes, fish does great things for your body, but this doesn’t mean you should eat fish everyday. Incorporating low mercury-containing fish two-three times a week in addition to a well-balanced diet will help keep you healthy and help slim down your waist line.
October 14th, 2008