With all the warnings about seafood safety, many fish lovers aren't happy. But where does the real truth lie regarding the safety of fish in our diets?
We've heard how bad mercury can be for us, but what really makes it so bad? It accumulates in waters where our ocean critters feed and can accumulate in our blood stream over time, possibly harming an unborn baby or young child's developing nervous system. Even if you're not pregnant, it may take more than a year for mercury levels to drop, which is why women of child-bearing age need to be aware of this issue early on. Other adults can also suffer health effects from fish contaminants--but in most cases, they would have to be exposed to more of the contaminants than either children or fetuses.
So is fish good or bad for you? Celebrity nutrition and fitness expert JJ Virgin gets to the bottom of these different fish theories and lets us know once and for all what types of fish we should be feeding our families. The key is to keep servings in proportion and eat different kinds of seafood from meal to meal, JJ says.
Adults: A serving size is about 4 to 6 ounces
Children: 2 to 3 ounces (or one tuna fish sandwich)
1. The fish that are lowest in contaminants generally are small in size, low in fat, live in cold water and don't live on the bottom of waterways (like sardines and trout).
2. Avoid large, predatory species (like shark and swordfish). Canned light tuna is better than canned white/albacore tuna and should not be eaten more than once a week.
3. Choose wild-caught instead of farmed for most species. Farming can have negative impacts on the environment and/or health. Farm-raised fish are often fed diets that are not indigenous to them, which negatively affects their fatty acid profile--and they may be treated with herbicides, fungicides and hormones, which can store in their fat.
4. Try not to eat the same fish or shellfish more than once a week.
If you follow these guidelines below, anyone can safely eat 2 to 3 servings of fish per week and gain tremendous health benefits for life!