Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Eat the Right Fish

We've all heard the news over and over again- fish contains omega-3's that help brain function, fish is low in saturated fat, fish are high in protein, people who eat a diet with fish live longer, fish is low in cholesterol...but what kind of fish? There's salmon, tuna, mackerel, tilapia, mahi mahi, cod, flounder, sardines, anchovies, swordfish, and a whole ocean of other kinds! Which do you eat and which picks are best for the environment?

One major concern is overfishing. The stocks in the oceans are being depleted at a far faster rate than they can recover. If you buy and consume the species that are in abundance, you won't only being helping biodiversity - you might be saving a few bucks too.

Here are the best fish to eat:

1. Atlantic Herring
2. Pollock
3. Crawfish (farmed)
4. Tilapia (farmed)
5. Alaska Salmon
6. Atlantic Mackerel
7. Mahi Mahi (poll and troll caught)
8. Dover Sole
9. Catfish (farmed)
10. Black Sea Bass

This Seared Pollock Fillet with Carmelized Onions recipe from the Washington Post looks delicious and is healthy!

Here are the worst:

1. Caviar
2. Shark
3. Atlantic Salmon
4. Snapper
5. Halibut
6. Orange Roughy
7. Chilean Sea Bass
8. Atlantic Bluefin Tuna
9. Grouper
10. Atlantic Cod

The above info was taken from The Blue Ocean Institute.
Also, you should watch out for mercury and PCB levels. These dangerous chemicals bioaccumulate and biomagnificate up the food chain, meaning usually that bigger fish have higher levels.

Highest levels of mercury
1. Shark
2. Swordfish
3. King Mackerel
4. Tuna steaks
5. Canned tuna

Lowest levels of mercury

1. Flounder
2. Haddock
3. Trout (farmed)
4. Salmon (wild Pacific)

So it seems like shark is a bad option, not that I know of anyone who eats shark on a daily basis. People who eat a lot of tuna should be cautious though. The main idea is that fish is a great nutrional choice but some kinds are better than others. The top image is courtesy of Simple Healthy Recipes.


Tanya said...

Wow - this is great info. Glad to see Salmon (Alaska) made it on the list - I would hate to have to give it up.

Molly said...

Yep, salmon is a great source of omega-3s and protein! It's definitely a great pick!