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The benefits of eating fish go far beyond their delicious flavours. Many varieties are sources of high-quality protein, antioxidants, vitamin D, minerals, and varying levels of omega-3 essential fatty acids – not to mention that fish is low in saturated fat.[1] On the flip side, concerns about mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are legitimate and need to be considered when selecting fish.

Whether you’re new to buying fish, or planning to eat it more often, here’s what you need to know:

Serving Size

Health Canada and the American Heart Association recommend eating at least two servings of fish per week [2] [3]. One serving of cooked fish is 75 g or 3.5 oz, and it is considered healthy to eat up to 340 g or 12 oz per week when you choose varieties with low-mercury levels (as listed below). [3]

Be Aware of Contaminants

Contaminants, such as mercury and PCBs, become more concentrated in fish the higher they are on the food chain. This means that certain types of fish are higher in contaminants than others.

Mercury: Lower your exposure to mercury by limiting your intake of fish with higher mercury levels. These include:[2] [4]

  • Tuna, fresh or frozen
  • Canned albacore tuna
  • Shark
  • Swordfish
  • Marlin
  • Orange roughy
  • Escolar

It’s alright to eat these fish on occasion, but experts recommend that you limit your intake to the following amounts:[2]

  • Adults: 150 g per week
  • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding: 150 g per month
  • Children 5–11 years: 125 g per month
  • Children 1–4 years old: 75 g per month

Polychlorinated biphenyls: PCBs are another contaminant found at low levels in some larger varieties of fish with higher fat contents, particularly farmed salmon. The most effective way to reduce your intake of this potential carcinogen is by choosing wild salmon over farmed varieties [5].

A fantastic choice is Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil. It is made from 100% wild Alaskan Salmon and contains naturally occurring ratios of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), in addition to naturally occurring levels of astaxanthin and vitamin D.

Healthy Choices

Certain fish and shellfish contain higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids because of their own diet. For the greatest health benefits and safety, choose varieties that are recognized for their omega-3 concentrations and lower levels of mercury and PCBs. Delicious options include:[2] [5]

  • Anchovy
  • Char
  • Hake
  • Herring
  • Atlantic mackerel
  • Mullet
  • Pollock
  • Salmon
  • Smelt
  • Rainbow trout
  • Lake Whitefish
  • Blue crab
  • Shrimp
  • Clam
  • Mussel
  • Oyster

If you’re looking to boost your omega-3 intake safely, but want the convenience of a softgel, RoyalRed® Omega-3 Krill Oil is a high-quality choice. It is verified as pure, potent, and sustainable, with no fishy aftertaste. Krill oil is a fast absorbing source of EPA and DHA in addition to the antioxidant astaxanthin.[6]

The Convenience of Fish Oil

Taking a concentrated fish oil supplement is a practical alternative for anyone who does not enjoy eating fish and shellfish, or when it is difficult to meet your recommended number of servings per week. At Webber Naturals, we guarantee the safety and purity of our oils. Wild Alaskan Salmon & Fish Oil offers high-quality molecularly distilled and ultra-purified fish oil in a convenient softgel format. Each softgel contains 180 mg EPA and 120 mg DHA to promote cardiovascular health and cognitive function.[7][8]

A Valuable Part of Your Diet

Balancing the risks and health benefits of eating fish is all about the type of fish you eat, how often you eat it, and your serving size. With the right knowledge, fish can be a valuable and enjoyable part of your meals.

References:

  1. Domingo JL, Bocio A, Falcó G, et al. Benefits and risks of fish consumption Part I. A quantitative analysis of the intake of omega-3 fatty acids and chemical contaminants. Toxicology. 2007;230(2-3): 219-26.
  2. Health Canada. Mercury in fish. Food and nutrition. Web. Accessed 27 December 2018. Available from: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/securit/chem-chim/environ/mercur/cons-adv-etud-eng.php
  3. American Heart Association. Fish and omega-3 fatty acids. Web. Accessed 27 December 2018. Available from: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/HealthyDietGoals/Fish-and-Omega-3-Fatty-Acids_UCM_303248_Article.jsp#.V2OXhDWXrIs
  4. FDA. What you need to know about mercury in fish and shellfish. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Web. Accessed 27 December 2018. Available from: https://www.fda.gov/
  5. Harvard Medical School. Getting your omega-3s vs. avoiding those PCBs. – The family Health Guide. Harvard Health Publications. Web. Accessed 27 December 2018. Available from: http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/getting-your-omega-3s-vs-avoiding-those-pcbsthe-family-healthguide
  6. Yoshina H, Yanai H, Ito K, et al. Administration of natural astaxanthin increases serum HDL-cholesterol and adiponectin in subjects with mild hyperlipidemia. Atherosclerosis. 2010; 209(2): 520-3.
  7. Lee JH1, O’Keefe JH, Lavie CJ, et al. Omega-3 fatty acids: cardiovascular benefits, sources and sustainability. Nat Rev Cardiol. 2009;6(12): 753-8.
  8. Richardson AJ, Burton JR, Sewell RP, et al. Docosahexaenoic acid for reading, cognition and behavior in children aged 7-9 years: a randomized, controlled trial (the DOLAB Study). PLoS One. 2012; 7(9): e43909.