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
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
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
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
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!