When it comes to quality lean protein, many types of fish (especially tuna) and shellfish (especially scallops) top the list. They are very high in protein, very low in fat and the varieties of tastes and textures of our underwater friends, make it almost impossible to get bored of eating.
However, there has been a recent and unwarranted criticism of their mercury content that has chickens, pigs and even cows running for cover.
While it’s true that nearly all fish and shellfish contain traces of methylmercury, for most people, it is not and should not be a health concern. However, those who could be at risk include unborn or nursing babies and young children who are still developing their central nervous system.
As adults we benefit from eating fish (Body Designs 31) because it is low in saturated fat and a good source of omega-3 fatty acids (which benefit the heart of healthy people, and those at high risk of, or who already have, cardiovascular disease). It has also been reported that omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats), which can lead to sudden death, as well as, lower triglyceride levels, slow growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque, and even aid in slightly lowering one’s blood pressure.
Fish and Shellfish that have small levels of mercury include: shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock and catfish. Those with a higher content are: shark, swordfish, tilefish and king mackerel.
That said, mercury poisoning is a reality and is dangerous. Symptoms include: vision, hearing and/or speech impairment; disturbed sensation and a sudden lack of coordination; skin discoloration, swelling or itching. The type and degree of symptoms exhibited depend upon the individual toxin, the dose, and the duration of exposure.
The Food and Drug Administration allows for a healthy adult to eat 2-3 servings (6 oz. each) per week. If you would like to add more fish to your weekly diet, just ask you doctor if it’s right for you.
Also, if you would like to find out how much of your favorite seafood is ok to eat, check out this calculator at http://howmuchfish.com/.