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How to Choose the Healthiest Options for Fish

Home / Diet & Nutrition / How to Choose the Healthiest Options for Fish

haddockOne excellent protein source we didn’t mention last time is fish – which appears to be an increasingly popular choice. In fact, just after we published last week’s post, we stumbled upon a new survey which showed just how much more popular it’s become.

Over the past five years, 44% of American and British consumers added more fish to their diets.

Nearly three-fourths of the consumers surveyed said they choose to eat fish for health reasons—and that number increased with a person’s age. Fish is low in saturated fats, carbohydrates and cholesterol and high in a range of essential micronutrients, including vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids, according to the World Bank.

Yet some fish can also be a major source of mercury exposure – particularly methylmercury exposure. (Methylmercury is the metal’s most lethal form.)

 
But wait! What about salmon? Glad you asked:

 
Additionally, overfishing and other non-sustainable practices are of concern, as well. Between that and the mercury, choosing the healthiest options can seem a real challenge!

Fortunately, there are some great tools available to help you make smarter choices at the market, which we shared earlier:

Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Regional Consumer Guide or App

  • Recommendations help you choose seafood that’s fished or farmed in ways that have less impact on the environment.

Environmental Defense Fund Seafood Selector

  • Scientists analyze many aspects of wild fisheries and fish farming operations for more than 200 types of seafood frequently sold in the US market.
  • They collaborate with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program.
  • They rank mercury content in fish with a vague category: unknown, moderate, or elevated.

Environmental Working Group’s Consumer Guide to Seafood

  • Since government and independent scientists have not reached a consensus on a safe level of mercury exposure, it makes recommendations that are aimed to steer people to toward seafood with the best safety profiles.
  • Until the EPA completes its multi-year process to revise its assessment of mercury toxicity, this guide recommends that pregnant women and children consume no more than 75% of the EPA’s safety level. This builds in an extra margin of safety.

What are some of your favorite options for fish? Favorite markets or other sources in Arlington or the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex? Let us know in the comments!

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