Mercury in FishDetoxmetals
Fish and shellfish are an excellent food source of good quality protein. Fish and shellfish contain about 70 essential nutrients from the sea, are low in saturated fat, and contain omega-3 fatty acids.
A well-balanced diet that includes a variety of fish and shellfish is excellent for children’s health and will give them many nutrients that are not available from other food sources.
Mercury in Fish
However, nearly all fish and shellfish contain traces of mercury. For most people, the risk from mercury by eating fish and shellfish is not a health concern. Yet, some fish and shellfish contain higher levels of mercury that may harm an unborn baby or young child’s developing nervous system.
The risks really depend on the amounts of fish and shellfish eaten and the types of seafood – some seafood is going to be more toxic than others. Therefore, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are advising women who may become pregnant, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and young children to avoid some types of fish and eat fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury.
By following these 3 recommendations for selecting and eating fish or shellfish, women and young children will receive the benefits of eating fish and shellfish and be confident that they have reduced their exposure to the harmful effects of mercury.
1. Do not eat Shark, Swordfish, King Mackerel, or Tilefish because they contain high levels of mercury.
2. Eat up to 12 ounces (2 average meals) a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury.
- Five of the most commonly eaten fish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish.
- Another commonly eaten fish, albacore (“white”) tuna has more mercury than canned light tuna. So, when choosing your two meals of fish and shellfish, you may eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) of albacore tuna per week.
Consumer Report says the following:
Swim away from these fish
The FDA and EPA say most women and young children should avoid the first four highest-mercury fish below. They’re considering adding the last two to the list. If you are a frequent consumer of any type of fish—24 ounces or more per week—Consumer Reports suggests that you avoid the fish below as well.
- King mackerel
- Gulf tilefish
- Orange roughy
To minimize your mercury intake, limit your consumption of these higher-mercury fish.
- Chilean sea bass
- Sablefish (black cod)
- Spanish mackerel (Gulf)
- Fresh tuna (except skipjack)
Consumer Reports recommends getting your omega-3s from low-mercury fish. Fortunately, some of these are rich sources of omega-3s: Atlantic mackerel, sardines, salmon (including canned), and trout. “Although other low-mercury fish, such as catfish, flatfish and sole, shrimp, and tilapia don’t supply as much omega-3s, they do contain some.”
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