(AscendHealthy.com) – According to the American Heart Association, we should eat fish at least twice a week to reduce heart attack and stroke risks. Not all fish are nutritionally equal, however, and some can even cause serious health issues. Know the difference to avoid complications. Check out our handy guide for help.
See Which Fish Are the Healthiest Choices (And Which Ones to Avoid).
8 Fish You Should Eat
There are dozens of incredibly healthy fish options to choose from. The Washington State Department of Health lists the following as its top choices:
- Black sea bass
- Canned mackerel
- US Pacific sardines
These fish are all high in omega-3 fatty acids. According to the National Institutes of Health, regular consumption may improve cardiovascular health, reduce cancer risks and protect against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. Omega-3 fatty acids also appear to protect eye health, protect against rheumatoid arthritis and support healthy infant development.
To reap the benefits, aim for 2 to 3 servings of these fish each week. To get the serving size right, consider the size of the diner’s palm; you can also calculate 1 ounce of fish for every 20 pounds of person you’re feeding.
8 Fish to Avoid
Some fish can be harmful due to dangerous contaminants that can build in their tissues. Healthy adults should consume no more than one serving per month, with pregnant women and children steering completely clear of these types:
- Imported longline bigeye
- Imported marlin
- Imported swordfish
- King mackerel
- Tuna steak
All of these fish are notoriously high in mercury levels and other contaminants, which build up in fish in a process called bioaccumulation. Larger fish have had more time, not to mention more opportunity, in the food chain to accumulate these poisons in their tissues — so the larger the fish, the more likely it is to contain unhealthy levels of numerous contaminants.
Mercury, one of the biggest contaminants, builds mainly in muscle tissue and doesn’t cook out, so it’s vital to find fish that are as low as possible in this dangerous industrial pollutant. It’s most toxic to babies and young children, whose brains are still developing; consumption by these groups can lead to impaired development and permanent memory problems. Some pesticides and other toxins accumulate in the skin and fat instead of the meat itself, so removing as much as possible of both either before or during the cooking process may help minimize exposure.
Fish can be a great addition to any healthy diet, but choosing wisely between the types is also important. Find the healthiest choices available, aiming for as much variety as possible among the safer options. There are many fish that aren’t in either list above, so research any species you’re uncertain about or stick to those with proven track records — and when fishing, check local advisories to ensure all fresh catches are safe to eat.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension
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