I grew up in Colorado. Why should I eat fish?

Fish:  a high-protein, low-fat food (thus lower calories) with a wide range of health benefits.

Health Benefits:  lower in fat than any other animal protein; higher in omega-3 fatty acids (good fat); and lower in omega-6 fatty acids (bad fat).

Why are omega-3s good for your health?

  1. regulate blood clotting and vessel constriction
  2. important for prenatal and postnatal neurological development
  3. reduce tissue inflammation and alleviate the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
  4. helps in controlling cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
  5. helps depression and mental decline in older people

One large obstacle to eating fish is that environmental contaminants are readily absorbed in fish from their eating and from passing the water through their gills.  These contaminants are usually mercury or lead based but can also be from industrial waste such as PCB’s or pesticides such as DDT.

What about fish oil supplements?  Yes they are a good source of omega-3s but they provide little or no protein to your diet and the may still have environmental contaminants in them – so be wary.

There are other sources of omega-3 fatty acids like flaxseed, walnuts and wheat germ but they do not appear to be as effective as fish.

Do the health benefits of omega-3s outweigh the risks associated with contaminants in seafood?  Here is a short list of seafood that is low in environmental contaminants and high in omega-3 fatty acids:

  • wild salmon from Alaska (fresh, frozen and canned),
  • Arctic char,
  • Atlantic mackerel,
  • sardines,
  • sablefish,
  • anchovies,
  • farmed oysters,
  • farmed rainbow trout,
  • Albacore tuna from the U.S. and Canada.

So the trick is to find fish that are high in omega-3s and low in environmental contaminants.

If you eat a variety of fish you get the complete benefit package.  For example:  white fish is lower in fat than any other source of animal protein, and oily fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, or the “good” fats.

Fish is generally healthy to eat, but there are some types you should eat infrequently, if at all, due to contaminant levels.  They are:

  • Canned Tuna – mercury
  • Wild striped bass, bluefish, American eel and seatrout – PCBs

The benefits of eating fish dictate that choosing fish that are low in contaminants is still the best course of action.

Here is a website with a list of good, okay, and worst choices for your seafood diet and a complete list of which fish are safe for you:

Popular seafood: Best & worst choices

Complete List of Seafood Eco-Ratings

Source:  Environmental Defense Fund


About Gary

I am retired, but not tired. I still want to be valuable to others. I know that others are valuable to me. After looking back on six decades, I have asked myself this question: “What do I believe?” My mind filled up. My heart started beating faster. My spirit soared. I post blogs to share what my mind is working on, what my heart believes would help others and, what my spirit is communicating to me. What do I believe, you ask? Decisions dictate your path In love, not hate In tolerance, not prejudice In health, not sickness In wealth, not poverty In kindness, rudeness In happiness, not sadness In encouragement, not discouragement In faith, not doubt In courage, not fear I have been and will be challenged in each one of these beliefs, but the biggest belief is to stay positive and not turn negative. This belief helps me maintain all of the others.

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