In the health, wellness, and nutrition world, there tends to be much debate about the benefits and dangers about incorporating seafood in a regular diet. While the benefits of the oils found in fish are indisputable, there is common concern about levels of mercury and radiation. This post seeks to answer these frequent common questions about the safety of eating seafood to hopefully ease your mind about enjoying that Asian ginger salmon 😉
“There is a climate of distrust toward seafood these days. Many feel uncertain as to the safety of fish in general, not to mention which fish specifically are safe, if any.
How do you sort through the news, recommendations and warnings to know what to purchase? Is seafood even a necessary part of our diet? I’d love to answer these questions and more. Let’s explore the sea of issues surrounding seafood consumption: mercury, radiation exposure, aquaculture practices and fisheries.
IS SEAFOOD NECESSARY IN A HEALTHY DIET?
Seafood belongs to a varied, nutrient-dense diet. Fish and crustaceans are an excellent source of good cholesterol, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, D, B12 and folate.
Fish canned with their bones, such as sardines and salmon, can be an effective means of supplementing calcium.
Regular intake of fish has been linked to optimum brain health and development, reduced incidents of cancer, healthy blood pressure levels, low levels of inflammation and much more.
MERCURY IN FISH
While many avoid fish for fear of consuming mercury, a heavy metal that damages the nervous system, brain and digestive mechanism, fish also contain high levels of selenium, a mineral we now know is not only essential for thyroid, immune, nervous system and brain health, but is also the key to nullifying the effect mercury can have on humans.
It is not the presence of mercury in fish that is the concern. We must understand the context in which a single entity exists. Mercury binds to selenium and is excreted from the body as a result. If there is more selenium than mercury in a fish the mercury will be excreted.
Given this information, the main “fish” to avoid are actually whales, sharks, swordfish, tilefish, and king mackerel. Notice tuna is not on the list. It has a higher ratio of selenium to mercury, by a lot, and is actually recommended as a healthful choice.”