“Eat more fish.” You must have heard this advice from your doctor or a health professional before. And you may also have heard about the risks of mercury exposure with high fish consumption? So… Is fish a friend or foe to your Health?
Firstly… Fish is among the healthiest foods on the planet.
Fish packs a nutritional punch that can help your mind, your body, and even your skin.
Fish is filled with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins such as D and B2 (riboflavin). Fish is rich in calcium and phosphorus and a great source of minerals, such as iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and potassium.
But, Is there any reason to be cautious about eating fish?
All types of fish are good sources of protein and B vitamins.
However, some fish can be high in mercury. The most common cause of mercury poisoning is from consuming too much methylmercury or organic mercury, which is linked to eating seafood and certain types of fish, notably mackerel and some tuna (bluefin and albacore). Very high levels of mercury can damage nerves in adults and disrupt development of the brain and nervous system in a fetus or young child. Small amounts of mercury are present in everyday foods and products, which may not affect your health. Too much mercury, however, can be poisonous. Avoiding fish is certainly one way to avoid mercury or PCBs. But is that the wisest choice, given the benefits of eating fish?
What are the risks, really?
Different types of fish and other seafood contain varying amounts of mercury. Larger and longer-lived fish usually contain higher levels.
Fears of these possible contaminants make many unnecessarily shy away from fish. Nevertheless, the nutritional benefits of fish likely outweigh the risks from mercury exposure, as long as you moderate your consumption of high-mercury fish.
It is advised that people at high risk of mercury toxicity, such as pregnant or breastfeeding women, keep the following recommendations in mind:
- Eat 2–3 servings (227–340 grams) of a variety of fish every week.
- Choose lower-mercury fish and seafood, such as salmon, shrimp, cod, and sardines.
- Avoid higher-mercury fish, such as tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico, shark, swordfish, and king mackerel.
- When choosing fresh fish, look out for fish advisories for those particular streams or lakes.
Following these tips will help you maximize the benefits of eating fish while minimizing your risks of mercury exposure.
Overall, you shouldn’t be afraid of eating fish. Fish remains a superfood, and with so many benefits, it should not be avoided.
Here are 20 reasons to load up on this superfood from the sea:
- It Lowers Risk of Heart Disease
- It Decreases Risk of Heart Failure
- It Lowers Risk of Strokes
- It Lowers Risk Of Cancer
- It Reduces Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
- It Lowers Blood Pressure
- It Can Help Lower Symptoms of Depression
- It’s a Great Source of Vitamin D
- It Helps Improve Vision and Eye Health
- It Can Help You Sleep Better
- It Helps Fight Acne
- It’s Helpful in Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
- It Decreases the Risk Of Autoimmune Disease
- It’s a Lean Meat
- It Helps Lower Cholesterol
- It Increases Concentration and Attention Span
- It Alleviates PMS Symptoms
- It Helps Treat Liver Disease
- It Helps Athletes Recover Faster
It Speeds Up Your Metabolism!
So, more friend than foe if you keep certain basic cautions in mind. If you truly want food to be your medicine, be sure to include fish in your meals at least twice a week.