School Yourself: The Smart Way to Eat Fish
August 07

Incorporating fish into your diet is a great way to help boost health, protect your brain and heart and even help stave off certain kinds of cancers. To say the least, fish is a powerful ally to have on your dinner plate — but only if you’re eating the best, safest fish possible. Here are a few ways to hunt down seafood that will support your health as well as the ocean’s:

Are you a good fish or a bad fish?
In the simplest of terms, a “good fish” to eat is one that tastes good, is low in toxins, has little negative impact on the environment, hasn’t been overfished and doesn’t compromise other marine populations through sloppy fishing techniques.

Go wild or farmed?
When it comes to choosing farmed or wild fish, which is better? Truth be told, both farmed and wild fish have their pros and cons. With farmed fish there are concerns about the quality of their food supply, the cleanliness of their environments and impact on surrounding waters, but they allow for a high yield of fish without the risk of overharvesting and depleting wild populations.  Whereas with wild fish, overfishing and overharvesting are a serious threat to many species  and but the fish contain much fewer contaminants. In the end however, if you choose wisely, wild fish is usually the best option — as long as you know which species are the healthiest to eat.

School yourself.
How to get smart about fish? Educate yourself. One of the most user-friendly and comprehensive sites I’ve come across is the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s site, Seafoodwatch.org , which arms consumers with recommendations on best choices, good alternatives and must-avoid info on more than 50 species of fish.

Take yours “to-go”
Don’t leave home without the Seafoodwatch.org  printable seafood recommendations to take along when shopping or dining out. Smart phone fish fans can also download their app on Itunes. The Environmental Defense Fund also publishes a handy printout guide called the “Seafood Selector” that fits easily into a standard-sized wallet.

Catch my drift?
Can’t quite visualize how your fish is caught? Don’t’ know pole-caught from gill-netting? Then take a look at seafoodwatch.org ’s helpful page of animations and illustrations of commercial fishing techniques. So, once you’ve identified your favorite types of fish and how they’re caught, find out where they rank on the Seafoodwatch or Environmental Defense Fund lists and buy accordingly.

Good for you and the sea.
So which fish top the charts in terms of healthy nutrition? There are 6 species that come out on top, having been named the “Super Greens” by Seafood Watch. What makes them Super Green? Two very appealing qualities: they carry the fewest contaminants and meet the daily minimum of omega-3s – making them excellent choices for regular consumption:

  •  Albacore Tuna (troll- or pole-caught, from the U.S. or British Columbia)
  •  Freshwater Coho Salmon (farmed in tank systems, from the U.S.)
  •  Oysters (farmed)
  •  Pacific Sardines (wild-caught)
  •  Rainbow Trout (farmed)
  •  Salmon (wild-caught, from Alaska)

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  • Mervyn

    what is your opinion on canned salmon and sardines?

  • http://tchristmann.posterous.com Tom Christmann

    dr lipman loves canned wild salmon and sardines in spring water.