Healthy Eating: Say Yes to Fish…Sometimes!

By Marsha Hudnall
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Fish is a wonderfully healthy food, rich in omega-3 fatty acids that do all kinds of great things for the body, including acting as an anti-inflammatory that can help quell problems with heart disease and arthritis. It’s also rich in protein, can be high or low in fat but it’s healthy fat no matter how much it contains, and it’s carbohydrate-free (which can be important for those with type 2 diabetes and/or insulin resistance).

That said, there’s growing concern that we’ve mismanaged the fish supply, overfishing some varieties, polluting the ocean so that other varieties are high in toxic substances such as mercury, and farm raising others in a way that pollutes the environment and the fish that are raised in those environments.

It’s a complicated picture that I don’t profess to understand completely but which I do intend to study more. So when a forwarded email of an interview with the author of the book Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood landed in my inbox, I read it with interest. Was quite a long interview but basic message was that there remain some great seafood choices but we need to know what we’re doing. I intend to get a copy of the book to read more, but while I wait to get my copy, I think I’ll follow some of the basic recommendations I read in the interiew: farmed fish like trout, Artic char and tilapia, sardines, oysters and mussels, all of which are fish I like and already eat relatively frequently. I’ve already cut farmed salmon from my menu, but do buy Alaskan salmon when it’s at a good price (although still pricey) at the store.

Bottom line: Fish is a great food for healthy eating, weight loss and healthy weights. But we need to choose wisely both to feed ourselves well and to help ensure we’ll have plenty of healthy fish to choose from in the future.

Another good site for information on this appears to be the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch.

3 Responses (Add Yours)

  • J.L. says:

    The state of fisheries is of great concern. But with all the omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins it provides, it’s hard to just say no. I guess now is a good time to appreciate how our health is linked to the health of our oceans. Wild salmon, for instance, are richest in vitamin D when exposed to a diet of zooplankton and lots of sun. An interesting article on the subject: http://www.chefmd.com/news_read.php?id=23

  • Getting our needed omega-3 in our diet is indeed very important to maintain normal functioning of our body’s vital systems as well as prevent risks in cardiovascular diseases. Getting that added boost in nutrition also does wonders for a long and healthy life. The only other food/ingredient I know that also gives this added boost of omega-3 plus other essential nutrients is
    flax seed. It can even be added or substituted as a healthy ingredient in any recipe. It’s tasty plus healthy…

  • It seems to be a tricky balance. We aboslutely need to be eating fish as omega-3 is so important for our body and there is no better source than fish. I will be very keen to see how we manage our seafood problem over the next decade. I think there needs to be better international cooperation to retrain and punish offenders.

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