The healthy heart and brain benefits of eating fish, especially fatty varieties such as tuna and salmon, make it a smart choice to include in your diet. But concerns over mercury content in fish abound. The FDA and the EPA advise that pregnant women, nursing moms and young children avoid varieties with the highest mercury levels, including shark, swordfish and mackerel. They also recommend not eating more than 6 ounces per week of tuna steak, and 12 ounces per week of canned tuna.

Furthermore, farmed fish, such as salmon, is found to have high levels of PCBs and other organic pollutants.

How do you enjoy the health benefits of fish and avoid the contaminants?

  1. Eat fish in moderation, 4 to 6 ounces no more than two or three times per week. If you are a woman of childbearing age, follow government advisories on fish consumption at http://www.epa.gov/mercury/advisories.htm.
  2. Eat fatty fish lower on the food chain, including sardines, herring and anchovies.
  3. Use the “mercury calculator” offered by Take Action at http://www.gotmercury.org/
  4. Choose wild salmon whenever possible; canned salmon also comes from wild varieties. If you eat farmed salmon, opt for fish from South America.
  5. Remove skin and fat from farmed fish to reduce PCB exposure, and broil, bake or grill fish on a rack, allowing fat (where chemicals reside) to drain off.
  6. Learn more about sustainable fishing practices, and support these efforts through your purchasing power. http://www.oceansalive.org/.

 

— University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter

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