Eating fish is good for your health. However, when it comes to choosing which fish to eat, it pays to be extremely picky. We live in a polluted environment and so do the fish we consume. Thus, the downside to eating fish is that they contain heavy metals, especially mercury, as well as pesticides, organic solvents and a host of other chemicals. Ingesting these chemical containing fish can actually negate the health benefit of the fish oil and even be harmful. These chemicals can have a detrimental effect on our neurological system, hormonal system, reproductive system and more.
As a general rule, the bigger the fish, the higher the concentration of chemicals. I have included a short list of “good vs. bad” fish to consume, but check out the NRDC’s more extensive list and download their printable wallet-sized shopping guide: http://www.nrdc.org/health/effects/mercury/guide.asp
GO FOR IT:
- -Wild Alaskan Salmon
- -Canned Red Salmon
- -Atlantic Salmon (farmed, pesticide-rich salmon. Ask your server! This is most commonly the salmon served in restaurants)
- -Sea Bass
- -Tuna (yellowfin, ahi)
*Bonus Tip: to decrease the amount of chemicals and metals your body absorbs when eating seafood, pair it with a high-fiber food such as brown rice or leafy greens. The fiber will bind the chemicals and help them to be excreted rather than absorbed by your body.
How do I get my Omega-3’s?
For most people, the best way to ensure you are getting a sufficient amount of omega-3 fatty acids is to take a high-quality fish oil supplement. I want to emphasize the high-quality part. While fish oil is sold readily at major warehouse stores and pharmacies, not all companies have quality assurance programs that screen for heavy metals and use the highest quality fish. They also may be advertising an amount of fish oil that is not true to what the capsules actually contain. And 2000mg of fish oil does not necessarily equate to 2000mg Omega-3s. Some of the brands I recommend for my patients are Nordic Naturals, Carlson, Pharmax and Vital Nutrients fish oil. Usually 1-2 g of total omega-3 fatty acids is a good place to start. Talk to a health care professional for individualized dosage recommendations.