Choosing Toxin-Free Fish

salmonHealth experts agree that eating seafood gives you the much-need omega-3 fatty acids that keep your heart and brain healthy. However, they also warn that some can actually be toxic. Toxins like PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and mercury are present in a variety of fish because of living in polluted water, or because of eating smaller fish that have toxins. Also, fish living in the ocean are prone to ingest toxins that they themselves produce, like their own waste.

Eating fish that have significant amounts of toxins does not kill you in an instant. However, it takes up to six years for your body to get rid of the toxins being accumulated in the body. Mercury kills nerve cells, as well as causes slower reflexes, poorer vision and coordination. People with severe symptoms of mercury poisoning include fatigue, memory loss, and nausea, while high amounts of mercury can also cause mood changes, social withdrawal, and memory difficulties among children.

Eating toxin-free fish is very important especially among pregnant or nursing women to avoid their unborn or breastfeeding children become overwhelmed by these toxins, which can slow their brain development. Here are some tips to consider when choosing a toxin-free fish.

Fish pregnant women should avoid – The Food and Drug Administration in the United States recommends that pregnant women not eat any swordfish, king mackerel, shark, or tilefish.

Limit the consumption of canned seafood – Canned tuna, crab, cod, mahi-mahi, haddock, whitefish, herring, and spiny lobster have slightly higher levels of mercury and should be limited to once a week.

Limit the consumption of large seafood – The larger the fish, the more mercury it contains. These seafood include red snapper, orange roughy, pollack, halibut, northern lobster, marlin, moonfish, saltwater bass, wild trout, bluefish, grouper, croaker, and sablefish. They should be eaten only once a month.

Choose farmed seafoods – Fish and seafood that are caught in the open ocean are prone to toxins. Even canned tuna and mackerel can have significant amounts of mercury. Meanwhile, studies show the safest seafoods available are those raised from farms as well as wild salmon, oysters, and shrimp. Farm-raised seafood comes in a variety of species including channel catfish, rainbow trout, flounder, perch, tilapia, scallop, clams, and red swamp crayfish. These seafoods can be consume more than once a week.