I am trying to eat more fish but I’m concerned about contaminants. Which are the best – and worst – types of fish to eat?


 As a dietitian in private practice, I encourage my clients to include fish in their diet twice a week unless, of course, they’re allergic or simply don’t like its taste.

The key, though, is choosing the right fish to eat – fish that’s packed with nutritional benefits and low in potentially harmful chemicals, and fish that are also farmed or fished in ways that don’t take a toll on the environment. That’s a lot to consider at the grocery store or restaurant.

 Long list of health benefits

A regular intake of fish has been linked to a lower risk of a wide range of conditions, including high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, macular degeneration, rheumatoid arthritis, colorectal cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Eating fish during pregnancy is also thought to help promote the development of a baby’s brain and eyes.

The protective effects of fish are largely attributed to omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA make the blood less likely to clot, reduce elevated blood triglycerides (fats), protect the lining of brain cells and may also prevent the buildup of beta amyloid, a protein involved in Alzheimer’s disease.

Not all fish are packed with omega-3s, though. Fatty fish such as salmon, trout, anchovies, Arctic char, herring, mackerel and sardines are good sources. Canned tuna is an okay source, while tilapia, sole, cod, pollock (e.g. fish sticks), scallops and shrimp are low in omega-3 fatty acids.

Fish delivers other nutrients, too. B vitamins, vitamin D, selenium and certain proteins in seafood may also confer health benefits.

Concerns about toxins, mercury

Chemicals such as mercury, industrial toxins like PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and pesticides that are released into the air and water and can end up in fish……

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Source: The Globe & Mail