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Choosing the Right Seafood for Our Health

Seafood is known for its immense health benefits, but only we know how to choose and process it. The health heroes in seafood are Omega 3 fatty acids and they are able to prevent various health issues, such as stroke, heart attack, cancer, hypertension and even depression. However, it is also important that we choose the right seafood to reap the maximum benefits and minimize possible risks. We should be aware that contaminated fish could cause issues in fetal developments, especially in nervous tissue, eye and brain. It means that caution should be taken to prevent any kind of health problems.

Experts have advised pregnant women to reduce the consumption of predator fish, such as king mackerel, swordfish and shark. They usually contain higher amount of toxic chemicals, such as methyl mercury. In fact, even predator species in fresh water, such as walleye and pike could also have higher than recommended amount of methyl mercury. It’s true that nearly all fishes contain trace amount of methyl mercury, but we should minimize the risks by avoiding large predatory fishes. These fishes are safe to consume only if they thrive in less populated coastal areas, such as Southern Pacific. Fish caught in East Asia, Western Atlantic and North Sea may contain higher amount of methyl mercury and other substances.

Pregnant women are considered as high risk individuals and they could consume less than 12 ounces of properly cooked seafood each week, such as farm raised dish, fresh water fish, smaller ocean fish and shellfish. It is important for them to avoid canned fish, because they may contain sodium benzoate and other preservatives. Farm raised fish can be relatively safe if grown properly in the right environment. They could also be fed with highly nutritious foods that contain enough protein and other nutrients; instead of smaller fish that may contain trace amount of methyl mercury. In general, Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for growing fetus, but it doesn’t mean that we should heighten the risk by choosing the wrong type of fish.

Tuna is a predatory fish, but smaller ones can be consumed relatively safely by pregnant women, about 7 ounces each week. While we are attempting to reduce the possibility of stroke, it doesn’t mean that we should allow ourselves to get higher amount of dangerous chemicals. Alaska is known for its fishing industry and cold water fishes tend to contain more Omega 3 fatty acids. The state has minimal industry and it is known for its pristine waters. As a result, seafood gathered in Alaska is known as among the healthiest and cleanest. As an example, fish caught around Bering islands chain is known for its relative cleanliness, perhaps the cleanest caught throughout the United States. When we seek to consume more Omega 3 fatty acids, it is important to choose fish with dark meat, such as bluefish, sardines, mackerel, tuna and salmon. Whiting, flounder, perch and other fish with light-colored meat tend to contain less the healthy fatty acids.

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