Fish is supposed to be good for you, right?
Did you know, however, that the government actually recommends limiting fish intake for certain populations due to the risk of mercury poisoning? In the past 15 years, pregnant women and young children have been advised to limit consumption of certain types of fish that have been shown to contain high quantities of this brain damaging heavy metal.
That is, until now. From the Washington Post:
The Food and Drug Administration is urging the government to amend its advisory that women and children should limit how much fish they eat, saying that the benefits of seafood outweigh the health risks and that most people should eat more fish, even if it contains mercury.
If approved by the White House, the FDA’s position would reverse the government’s current policy that certain groups — women of childbearing years, pregnant women, nursing mothers, infants and children — can be harmed by the mercury in fish and should limit their consumption.
The FDA’s recommendations have alarmed scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency, who in internal memos criticized them as “scientifically flawed and inadequate” and said they fell short of the “scientific rigor routinely demonstrated by EPA.”
What you need to know:
Fish are rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals. They are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, and generally perceived as a healthier alternative to meat consumption. Unfortunately, in this modernized industrial world, factory pollution has released huge amounts of mercury to air, land, and sea. The flesh of large, carnivorous fish, has become loaded with toxic chemicals such as methyl-mercury. This poison can harm fetuses and young children’s proper brain development.
What to do at the supermarket:
Buying fish used to be easy. There are now so many areas a shopper must master – nutrition, ecology, toxins – that it becomes almost impossible to make a correct choice.
The bigger the fish, the more mercury it has stored. So stay away from shark meat, swordfish, king mackerel, and albacore tuna. Small fry such as sardines and anchovies, are an excellent source of protein and omega-3, without toxins. This is because they live for a short period of time before being harvested, so their body does not have time to accumulate mercury.
For high risk groups, limit yourself to other foods rich in omega-3 such as eggs,chicken, beans, nuts and seeds. Granted, they have less omega-3 than some fish, but why take a risk?
Get Fooducated: RSS Subscription or Email Subscription