For health-conscious Americans, it can be confusing territory. Eat more fish to get your omega 3s, but be careful because some fish have dangerous contaminants. It is difficult terrain to navigate.

So what types of fish to eat? According to the Washington State Department of Health, there are clear winners in the department of fish health: the local salmon, for example. And losers-swordfish.

Avoid the big fish

Simply because they are large, some fish are more likely to be high in mercury and other toxic materials. Swordfish and king mackerel are two on the “don’t eat” list. This is particularly true for children and women who are pregnant or nursing.

However, it would be a mistake to simply rule fish out of your diet because you are concerned about mercury poisoning. By eating smaller fish like anchovies, sardines, and wild-caught salmon, you can stock up on essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA in fish oil.

These essential omega 3 fatty acids power your brain; in fact, DHA makes up about half of your brain. They can also protect you from heart disease, which is why the American Heart Association recommends eating fish 2-3 times a week.

Here are some recommended fish that are safe to eat 2-3 times a week.

good things come small

The smaller the fish, the lower the risk of contamination, which is why anchovies, catfish, cod, salmon, scallops, and even canned light tuna make the list.

Trout, sardines, and salmon are especially good for your heart. Once a week you can eat monkfish, sea bass, lobster and light tuna.

One serving size is 8 oz. for adults and 4 oz. for children.

You probably know that people from fish-eating cultures have a much lower rate of heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and depression than Americans. Doctors now link these health differences to omega-3 deficiency in the typical American diet.

By wisely increasing your fish intake, you can get the necessary nutrients without the risk of mercury poisoning.

preparation issues

Of course, it also matters how you eat your fish.

Fried fish is not the way to a healthy heart. Fried food actually increases inflammation levels and aims to reduce it. So, bake, grill, or sauté your fish with healthy olive oil to reap all the benefits. You can also sprinkle chopped walnuts on top for an added omega 3 boost.

So, there it is, some types of fish to eat for your health. Many people find fish oil supplements to be a good resource as well. Here’s how to find a safe brand for you and your family.

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