Something’s Fishy

Lent is almost upon us and ’tis the season for fish. Reading this article may be helpful, and will hopefully calm your fears of mercury poisoning from eating too much fish. First, let’s start with the serving size. Four ounces of fish (about the size of your palm) is an adult serving size. For a child (4-7y/o) the serving size is two ounces.

Fish is a good source of protein, vitamin D, selenium, and omega-3s. Omega-3s are heart healthy and help to lower blood pressure, triglycerides and inflammation. Omega-3s are also known to help with the development of a baby’s brain and nervous system. Eating too much of the wrong kind of fish with high levels of mercury can be dangerous. So keep reading to find out the best fish to consume, and what not to indulge in too often.

One of the biggest fears of enjoying fish on a regular basis is mercury poisoning. There are only a few fish (uncommonly consumed) that contain high levels of mercury. These are: mackerel, shark, swordfish, marlin, tilefish, orange roughy, and bigeye tuna.

Selenium, a mineral that combats mercury, is found in large amounts in fish. Most of the regularly consumed fish contains more selenium than mercury, so there’s little need to be overly concerned about mercury poisoning. Selenium improves immunity and lowers the risk of cancer with its antioxidant property. Like omega-3s, selenium lowers the risk of heart disease, decreases inflammation, and helps with healthy blood flow.

Another fear of eating fish is that it contains dioxins and PCBs. Fish is not the highest source of these toxins. Pork, Chicken, Beef (PCB, get it? Okay, just kidding.), dairy products, and vegetables have higher levels of these toxins than do fish. There is no need to worry about getting too much of these toxins from fish.

Fresh fish tastes mush better than does frozen and wild-caught is better than farm-raised. Just be sure to eat fresh fish within a couple days of buying it, and always make sure the fish does not smell of ammonia or brine, which may mean it is spoiled. If you are able to smell the fish before purchase, do so.

There are many benefits to eating fish several times a week. Fish is a low-fat source of protein, vitamins D and B2, omega-3s, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and potassium. There is no need to be afraid of mercury unless you are consuming mackerel, shark, swordfish, marlin, tilefish, orange roughy, and bigeye tuna, all of which are quite high in mercury. So enjoy!

If you have any comments, questions, or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact me. I would be happy to help with recipes, cooking tips, food safety, and more! Once again, thanks for stopping by!

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