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Avoid Mercury in Fish 2009 - Families Beware of Certain Fish That Contains High Levels of Mercury by Megan McInnis

Kids and pregnant adults should especially be careful not to consume an excess amount of fish that containers larger amounts of mercury. Fish is usually a very healthy food and contains all important omega 3 fatty acids. Parents want to do the right thing by serving healthy fish to families for better cardiovascular health, but here are a few pitfalls to avoid in order to reduce intake of fish that is high in mercury.

Mercury has been known to cause neurological damage at higher exposure levels. A recent 2009 study has shown that mostly all of the fresh stream fish in the United States contain at least traces of Mercury (HG) and at least 25% of the stream fish contains a disturbingly higher amount than the EPA recommends.

The warning was mainly referring to fish caught by sport fishers in streams and not the supermarket or restaurant fish we consume. However, there are even some types of supermarket and restaurant fish, fresh or canned, that contain mercury and should also be limited to eating once a week.

The most dangerous fish to consume which typically shows the highest levels of mercury include shark, kingfish and swordfish. Also to be somewhat concerned about is canned albacore tuna. If you are going to buy canned tuna for your family the canned light tuna is the better alternative to albacore as it typically contains less mercury and is in the group of better fish to eat. Typically the types of fish high in mercury are also high in PCBs and lead.

The fish with the lowest amount of mercury are those that are not predatory fish, usually small ones like anchovies, sardines, shrimp, salmon and whitefish. These are the fish types with the least amount of mercury and not on a list to be concerned about.

An alternative to getting your weekly fish intake is to consider Fish Oil supplements as it seems the popular brand fish oils do not contain harmful levels of mercury as the fish used to produce the oils are most likely not in the dangerous group.

In any case, it is best to limit intake of albacore tuna to once a week at maximum and if you regularly eat tuna, it may be best to consider the Canned Light Tuna (darker type of tuna) as an alternative that has less mercury in it.

As parents, being aware of all of the nutritional pitfalls can help us feed our families healthier. For more nutrition tips for parents and safety warnings, check out Parents Nutrition Information. So keep eating fish, but lay off of the fresh stream fish (at least in the U.S.), shark, albacore tuna or other predatory fish and stay healthy!

Megan McInnis wants to help families get the best information to raise healthy and happy kids. For more, see School Mom blog: http://www.blogschoolmom.blogspot.com.


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