Registered Dietitian Elizabeth Somer recalls the fish that are safe to eat.
Registered Dietitian Elizabeth Somer:
The fish issue is an important one these days because we know that the omega-3 fats in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, are so critical, for not only brain development in babies and vision development, but to lower the risk for heart disease, to lower possibly the risk for a whole slew of other diseases, from multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis to dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and so forth.
The problem is, is that so many fish are also contaminated with mercury and we know that when mercury levels go up, IQ goes down because mercury is a neurotoxin, it’s toxic to your nervous system, and we know that the more fish people eat, the higher their mercury levels, which means the more they are going to be exposed to that neurotoxin.
So what do you do here? Well, you look for foods that have the lowest amount of mercury and the highest amount of the omega-3s, and those are wild salmon, in particular sockeye salmon is great. It’s the sardines, the little fish that haven’t had a chance to stockpile mercury into their tissue yet, so sardines, little mackerels, little herrings; those are all good too.
If you are vegetarian, if you don’t eat at least two to three servings of those safe and fatty fish with lots of omega-3s in them, then I highly recommend it that you go for a contaminate-free vegetarian-based, plant-based DHA that is been added to foods all over the place. It’s in Silk Soymilk with DHA, it’s in Gold Circle Farm eggs, it’s in Rachel’s Yogurt, it’s in Mission Life Balance tortillas, it’s in a variety of foods. Look for foods that are fortified with an algae or plant-based DHA.
The other thing here that’s interesting is that people have been told to eat more fish. A lot of fish not only is high in mercury, like swordfish and shark are high in mercury, they are also low on omega-3s.
Also watch out for tilapia. It’s one of the most fastest growing consumption fish around. You see it on all the menus these days, but the fat profile of tilapia resembles beef more than it does fish. It’s higher in saturated fat and lower in the omega-3s. So, tilapia does not count as a serving of seafood when you’re trying to get your omega-3s.
About Elizabeth Somer:
Elizabeth Somer, M.A., is a registered dietitian who has carved a unique professional niche as one of the few, if not only, dietitians who is well-versed in nutrition research. For 25 years, she has kept abreast of the current research, packaging that information into easy-to-read books, magazine articles, lectures, continuing education seminars, and practical news for the media.