Fish is known for being one of the healthiest foods to eat. But nowadays there are some questions about whether we need fish or not in our diet. Is there any risk of eating fish? Find out more information in this article
Fish: A healthy food
These are some of the benefits of eating fish:
- Due to its omega 3 content, it is good for the brain
- It supports a healthy metabolism
- It lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease
However, it is a fact that the pollution in the sea is increasing and fish are seafood. So the question is: Can the pollution affect the fish and translate to our plate? Here are some things to take into account.
Recently, the potentially harmful levels of pollutants and metals of fish have been one of the biggest concerns about this food. Many industrial chemicals, known for being bad for people’s health, are thrown away into the water every day around the world. One of the most toxic chemicals is polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). It is present in everything from dairy products to drinking water, the highest levels tend to be found in fish.
This chemical has been associated with negative health effects in the immune system and the brain. However, according to experts, the problem lies in the wild species: “The possible problem of the accumulation of toxic compounds is likely to be more of concern for wild species that are caught for direct human consumption,” says Johnathan Napier, the science director at Rothamsted Research in Hertfordshire, England.
Although farmed fish are considered healthier than wild species, they can also be affected by the pollution of the oceans, becoming breeding grounds for diseases. However, the PCB content depends on the season.
Another worry is mercury, a neurotoxic usually linked with cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Even though mercury can be also found in vegetables, one study suggests that the majority of mercury intake came from fish and seafood.
The United Kingdom National Health Service recommends that pregnant and breastfeeding women limit their intake of fish species more likely to contain PCBs or mercury to one or two portions per week.
Fish that may contain PCBs: These include oily fish like salmon and sardines and non-oily fish such as crab and sea bass.
Fish that may contain mercury: These include halibut and tuna.