Fish : Friend or Foe?


There’s so much hype about fish being beneficial but toxic too. How do you decide if It’s right for you?

In doing the research for this blog post I was dumbfounded by the amount of experts who are conflicted in the area of healthy diets (in general). Fish only adds to fuel to the fire.  Can someone make it simple? YES! This blog post will do just that!

While some “experts” say you should be vegan & others push Paleo, the scales weigh very heavily (no pun intended) in favor of us eating fish for all its benefits. The trick is to eat the right kind and in the right season of your life.

Fish is high in protein and vitamin D. Fish is also the world’s best source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are incredibly important for your body and brain. Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids. They are necessary for good health, but the body can’t make them. You have to get them through your diet or a supplement. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and  help lower risks of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis.

Blood fat (meaning triglycerides), can be lowered with fish oils. This is good because high levels of this blood fat put you at risk for heart disease.

Rheumatoid arthritis is helped by fish oil too. EPA+DHA curb the stiffness and joint pain. I am living proof of this one! Omega-3 supplements also seem to boost the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory drugs.  You can get these benefits from eating fish but would still need to supplement. People with chronic pain/inflammation or arthritis want to make sure they have ample supply of this proper healthy oil in their diet.  You can reach out to me and I’ll share the research of suggested supplementation and my experience based on your health status & goals. Omega-3 however is a miracle cure for those of us who suffer from chronic inflammation which leads to pain. I take fish oils or Krill oil daily in high doses. And, I eat wild caught fish when possible. I did test my metals level about 2 years ago and was still under the trigger for mercury poisoning.

The reason fish gets a bad rap is that it comes with some baggage like mercury. If its farm raised (as opposed to wild caught), there are additional problems & mercury content can be higher.

Pregnancy and Fish:

The majority of scientists, the FDA & the EPA are all in agreement that pregnant women, women who might become pregnant or are breast-feeding infants need to be extremely cautious about the volume of fish they consume. This is because there’s evidence of serious problems for a baby’s developing brain in Utero. Mercury exposure (which comes with eating fish) causes brain and nerve development issues. Pregnant women are also warned to stay away from farm raised fish because they also contain dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls.

 So are the days of giving a kid a tuna fish sandwich for lunch gone?

Somewhere in my 20s while I was making these lunches for our family, I became a tuna fish connoisseur. OK maybe more like snob. I was very particular about my tuna fish sandwiches. They couldn’t have relish or fat free mayonnaise. They had to have chopped onion and celery mixed in and it had to be albacore white tuna. To me, chunk light tuna tasted a lot like what I imaged cat food to taste like.  I suppose I shouldn’t make that judgment before trying cat food… but anyway!  It could not be chunk light tuna. Turns out it pays to be discerning. Albacore white tuna has less mercury in it then chunk light. (Who knew??)

Good News:

The national resource defense counsel (NRDC) has published “the smart seafood buying guide”. It outlines the easy steps to take to make sure you’re eating healthy fish. You can find it on line. But the basics are below:

Low or no mercury fish (meaning fish you can eat often):

  • calamari
  • catfish
  • clams
  • crab
  • croaker
  • flounder
  • fresh wild caught salmon
  • haddock
  • herring
  • oysters
  • perch
  • perch

Moderate levels of mercury:

  • bass
  • cod
  • halibut
  • mahi-mahi
  • lobster
  • tuna (chunk light)

High mercury fish:

  • grouper
  • Chilean sea-bass [my favorite]
  • tuna
  • orange roughy
  • swordfish
  • sardines
  • scallops
  • squid
  • tilapia
  • trout
  • white fish

So, the bottom line is this:

EAT FISH! Eat from the low or no mercury level list and consider a quality supplement. Talk to your doctor to see if it’s right for you. But, with so many powerful benefits… it’s worth eating wild caught fish once a week or more! As I said, I eat fish and take fish oils daily.

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Remember ….”Health doesn’t always come from medicine. Most of the time it comes from good nutrition, a toxin free environment, peace of mind, the right nutraceuticals, peace in our soul and a solid dose of laughter and love!”… Just ask Mama Frat.

February 16, 2017