Monday, August 20, 2012

Fish + Mercury – Should You Be Worried?

The facts on fish are clear. In addition to being an excellent source of protein, fish is THE best (yes, I can confidently say this) source of OMEGA-3 fats*. Which is why it is recommended you eat at LEAST TWO SERVINGS per week.

*Don’t be fooled, the type of omega-3 found in fish (EPA & DHA) is superior to the type found in plant-based foods such as flaxseed, canola oil, walnuts, etc (ALA). 

Mainstream media however has managed to strike fear in people (not surprising) when it comes to fish and mercury. 

Let’s clear the air.

If you are part of the general population (aka NOT pregnant, a baby or breastfeeding), don’t worry! Your risk is so low - you’re more likely to get struck by lightning before getting too much mercury from fish. This is because the types of fish we usually eat are low in mercury anyways and we don’t usually eat enough of them in the first place for there to be a high risk.

Mercury is a toxin that can concentrate in the muscle tissue (aka protein) of fish. The larger and more predatory the fish, the more mercury it accumulates in it’s body over time. 

Fish highest in mercury are: shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, marlin, orange roughy, escolar, and fresh or frozen tuna steaks and albacore canned tuna (these are also some of the biggest fish - so it makes sense). 

These are the fish that people at risk (pregnant and breastfeeding women and small children) need to watch out for. Otherwise the other lower mercury fish is fair eats for everyone
Low mercury fish to enjoy regularly include:

‘Light’ canned Tuna (specifically labelled ‘skipjack’, ‘yellowfin’ or ‘tongol’).
Cod, Haddock, Halibut
Sole and Tilapia
Rainbow Trout
Blue crab, Scallop, Shrimp, Clam, Mussel, Oyster
Anchovy, Sardines
Perch, Bass

Got fish questions? Leave it in the comments!

- A & M, GetRealGurls Nutrition 

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