Seafood is great and highly recommended as a fantastic source of lean protein and heart-healthy fats. But is the fish you’re eating healthy for you?

What is better for our health and the environment: Farmed or Wild Fish?

How much mercury can you get from eating fish? (Too much mercury can cause brain and nervous system defects in children and impair speech, hearing, brain function, and vision in adults).

How much fish should you eat a week?

The answers to these questions are complicated, so read on:

  • Farmed fish or wild fish? The answer varies depending on the type of fish and the way it is farmed or caught. The Monterey Bay Aquarium has an easy and amazing website to help you navigate your choices. They even have an I-Phone app to get the most up-to-date information regarding sustainable and environmentally friendly seafood so you know what to do while shopping in the store.
  • Recommended Farmed Fish: abalone, catfish, littleneck & cockle clams, crayfish, mussels, oysters, salmon (US), scallops, shrimp (U.S.), striped bass (U.S.), tilapia (U.S.), rainbow trout (U.S.)
  • Recommended Wild Fish: black sea bass, flounder, grouper, U.S. pacific halibut, imitation crab (worldwide), lobster (from Florida, Mexico, or California), mackerel, mahi mahi (U.S.), octopus (U.S.), pollock (Norway), black cod/sablefish (Alaska, British Columbia), Salmon (Alaska), sardines (U.S. pacific), shrimp (Oregon), canned tuna (U.S., Canadian, and Pacific), white seabass (U.S./Pacific)
  • How much fish can I eat a week to not get too much mercury? Eating 12-18 oz of fish per week is fine. The fish that have higher contents of mercury levels (which should be limited to about 6 oz per week or less) are the following: shark, swordfish, tilefish, and king mackerel.
  • Just like our seasons change, the above recommended farmed or wild-caught fish change depending on over-fishing or environmental impacts. Therefore, use the Monterey Bay Aquarium website to get your most up-to-date information about farmed, fresh, and healthy-for-you-and-the-environment fish.

Also, remember that the potential benefits of eating fish include reducing cancer by reducing tumor growth, decreasing heart disease by assisting with better blood flow through the arteries, improving immune function, decreasing inflammation, and improving your brain function. So fish is generally an excellent choice. Enjoy your seafood and enjoy Eating Free.

Sarah Koszyk, MA, RD, is a nutrition coach at Eating Free who cooks with love and loves to eat.

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