Saturday, November 14, 2009

Avoiding Mercury in Fish - Which Fish to Eat, and What to Avoid

fish market
You've probably heard all of the bad stuff about fish and mercury, and the contradictory statements about the benefits of eating fish. With all of this information, it can be confusing-- should we eat fish or not? And what kinds of fish should we even eat, if any?

First, you should know why we can't eat fish with mercury. Mercury exposure and poisoning can lead to damage to the lungs, brain, and kidney, as well as several different types of diseases. While mercury can be found in other foods and even in the air, fish consumption has been found to be the likely culprit in many cases of mercury poisoning.

How to Avoid Mercury Poisoning

Avoid eating fish that are the highest in mercury, which are, according to the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council):

Mackerel (King)
Marlin
Orange Roughy
Shark
Swordfish
Tilefish
Tuna (Bigeye, Ahi)

There are many more fish that you could possibly be eating, so check the full list of fish containing high amounts of mercury here. Not to worry though, because the article also lists many more safe fish to eat that outnumber by far the mercury contaminated species, like varieties of shrimp, clams, scallops, haddock, salmon, flounder, and tilapia.

Don't Stop Eating Fish!

There are far too many benefits of eating fish to stop eating them. Instead, just have this list handy and make educated decision when buying your fish. The essential Omega 3 fatty acid can be found in many fish, which aids in cardiovascular health, the development of the fetus in pregnant women, and may be linked to slower decline in brain loss and memory in older people.

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