Fish is an interesting topic for me.
To start, fish are a great source of protein, good fats (omega-3s) and have a healthy ratio of Omega 3’s to Omega 6’s. These healthy fats help to reduce cholesterol, reduce inflammation in your body, and keep your heart healthy.
Fish have also been a staple in many of the longest living societies on earth. We as humans (not as bears, well I guess bears too) have been eating fish since the beginning of time.
Fish has for a long time been considered a Superfood but since man has started to run things toxins like mercury and PCB’s are becoming more and more prevalent in our waterways mainly because of the continued use of coal power plants.
Now, we have a catch 22. Fish is a great source of many nutrients but do the nutrients outweigh the risk of heavy metal contamination?
These toxins can be very dangerous because they can accumulate in our body until they reach unsafe levels. Mercury, the most common toxin in our waterways, is a neurotoxin which means it affects our brain and nervous system.
Just for the record, nearly all fish and shellfish contain some mercury, but for most people with the exception of woman and small children the amount is not large enough to be of concern.
We can however minimize exposure by choosing fish with lower mercury levels and limiting intake to only a few times a week.
Check out this handy dandy mercury calculator to see if you are taking in too much.
Also a quick and easy guide is to only eat fish lower on the food chain. These fishies are going to have lower levels of mercury. Fish that live for a long time and are big dog, err fish, predators typically have much higher contamination levels.
i have put together a quick and easy guide on selecting the best seafood with the lowest levels of mercury just for you.
*The following info comes straight from the FDA and EPA
Fish and Shellfish Mercury Levels
LOWEST MERCURY LEVELS (Enjoy 2-3 servings/week)
• Crab (domestic)
• Croaker (Atlantic)
• Haddock (Atlantic)
• Mackerel (N. Atlantic, Chub)
• Perch (Ocean)
• Salmon (Canned) Stay away from farmed salmon (may contain PCB’s)
• Salmon (Fresh) Stay away from farmed salmon (may contain PCB’s)
• Shad (American)
• Sole (Pacific)
• Squid (Calamari)
• Trout (Freshwater)
Highest Mercury Levels (Avoid Eating)
• Mackerel King
• Orange Roughy
• Tuna (Bigeye, Ahi)*
High Mercury (Eat 3 servings or less per month)
• Sea Bass
• Tuna (Canned Albacore)
• Tuna (Yellowfin)
Moderate Mercury (6 servings or less per month)
• Bass (Striped, Black)
• Cod (Alaskan)
• Croaker (White Pacific)
• Halibut (Atlantic)
• Halibut (Pacific)
• Jacksmelt (Silverside)
• Mahi Mahi
• Perch (Freshwater)
• Tuna (Canned Chunk Light)
• Tuna (Skipjack)*
• Weakfish (Sea Trout)
* Fish in trouble because of low numbers and environmentally destructive fishing methods.
** Try and stay away from farmed fish. They are typically fed an unnatural diet which produces an inferior health damaging product. Stick to wild and do your research before you buy. A great online resource is
Stick to the lowest mercury list and you will be just fine. The fish on this list are a great addition to any diet. Woman who are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant and children should decrease portion size or limit their intake. This is advice from the FDA not me.
My advice: Pregnant women should stick to a high quality krill oil and then you don’t have to worry about contamination. Krill are the lowest on the food chain and also tested to make sure they are contaminant free. Plus, krill are so abundant in the ocean we don’t need to worry about overharvesting. Take Krill Oil and consider yourself a genuine, hemp wearing tree hugger, only if you want to of course.
- If you are still skeptical and don’t want to take your chances with fish MAKE SURE you are consuming a high quality Krill Oil.
- If you don’t like fish or do not eat fish on a regular basis MAKE SURE you are taking a high quality Krill Oil.
Learn more about Krill Oil HERE.
Editor’s Note (aka Trevor): Krill is a supplement I recommend to every single person I come in contact with. If you are at ALL serious about your health and longevity start taking Krill Oil. YES, IT IS THAT IMPORTANT.
Mercury Calculator — find out if you are consuming too much mercury