Fish is considered one of the healthiest foods around. It is rich in nutrients and a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which is good for the brain and body.
But not that many Americans have fish routinely in their meals. One of the reasons for this is fear of the mercury content in fish.
All fish has mercury and the levels are classified as low, moderate, and high. Although these aquatic creatures have mercury, you do not necessarily need to deprive yourself of a tasty food product with heaps of potential health benefits. It thought to be safe to consume fish with high-mercury content, as long as it’s not too often — three times a month or less.
However, these seven types of fish should be AVOIDED:
- King mackerel
- Orange Roughy
- Tilefish (from the Gulf of Mexico)
How to Buy High-Quality Seafood
The taste of your dish depends on the freshness of your ingredients, the taste of stale ingredients will reflect in seafood. There are a few things to consider so you can buy the best seafood.
You’ll find the freshest catch of fish and shellfish at your best fish market. Mussels, oysters, and clams close their shells when touched, crab and lobsters are lively, shrimps are jumping, and fish are healthy. Everything is fresh and never frozen.
But everything changes when you shop at your grocery store where fish are frozen. You may begin to doubt the freshness, and while it’s not always bad to be afraid if you see the word frozen, do know that you can buy frozen fish that is fresh and high-quality. Just be sure to check the meat; it should hold tight to the skin and bones without any gap, and the scales should be smooth. The smell of decayed fish is also a factor.
Live mussels last a few days, live oysters are good for no more than a week, and salmon doesn’t actually last that long. If you’re preparing a meal made from fresh seafood, also make sure you’re on top of the recommended cooking time for the product and double check the product’s best before date.
Barriers to Eating Fish
Although fish provides many benefits, not all Americans include it routinely in their diet. Some simply don’t like fish and there are other factors why there is low consumption of fish.
Fish contains toxins
All fish has mercury, but the small amounts in fish are not believed to pose danger to consumers. You should not deprive yourself of the many health benefits of eating fish. Eat wisely and live healthy with this guide we prepared about mercury levels in fish.
|LOW-MERCURY FISH||MODERATE-MERCURY FISH||HIGH-MERCURY FISH|
|Anchovies, Catfish, Clam, Crab, Crayfish, Croaker, Flounder, Haddock, Hake, Herring, Mackerel, mullet, Oyster, Perch, Pollock, Salmon, Sardine, Scallop, Shrimp, Sole, Squid, Tilapia, Trout, Whitefish||Bass, Buffalo Fish, Carp, Cod, Halibut, Lobster, Mahi Mahi, Monkfish, Perch(freshwater), Snapper, Skate, Tilefish, Tuna
(canned chunk light)
|Bluefish, Grouper, Sea Bass, Mackerel, Croaker, Sablefish, Perch (ocean), Tuna (canned albacore, yellowfin)
It is safe to consume two to three servings a week of fish with low mercury content. However, pregnant, nursing women, and small children should not have more than two servings (12 ounces) a week.
Eating in moderation of six servings or less per month is safe for fish with moderate mercury level. However, pregnant, nursing women, and small children should refrain from eating any.
Dangerous levels of mercury are found in fish with high-mercury and should be consumed to just three servings per month or less. Pregnant, nursing women, and small children must not eat them entirely.
If temptation gets the better of you consume selenium for protection against excess mercury.
Too high in fat
Fish is rich in healthy fats that are high in quality nutrients and protein, low in saturated fat, and the main source of omega 3 fatty acids. Yes, fish is high in fats but it protects your heart, lowers blood pressure, and improves blood vessel function among others.
If you don’t want the fat, you can help lower the amount by removing the skin of the fish.
Difficult to cook
Most people think that it’s hard to cook fish, but it’s not hard as you think. You can fry, grill, or steam fish. But really, no matter how you decide to cook fish you can be sure that it’s not impossible to make it into a delicious and healthy dish.
Add a dash of salt, a sprinkle of pepper, and a little olive oil on cod or tilapia and sear it on a pan or grill it. For a flavorful dish, prepare a batter with your favorite ingredients, coat the fish then fry it. Fish is delicious on its own, you don’t need time-consuming sauces. Pair your fish dish with pico de gallo made of fresh tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, cilantro, and cilantro and you’re on your way to a hearty meal.