What You Need To Know About Fish

Hello HEALers!

As you know, I highly recommend eating fish.  It’s a great source of protein, and healthy fats.  It’s also pretty darn delicious! *Cough* lemon caper salmon recipe *Cough*.  When I first posted about the healthy fats in fish, I had someone ask me how to buy fish…Fresh? Farmed? Wild? Organic?  This may seem like a silly question, but much like red meat, and eggs, there are is a ton of marketing jargon out there, and not all fish are equal by any means.  So today, I’m going to provide the resources for two topics: Which types of fish are the healthiest and which types of fish are the most eco-friendly and sustainable to buy.

In general, the rule of thumb goes, the bigger the fish, the higher the chances of it having dangerous levels of mercury.  So, fish like tuna, sablefish or black cod tend to have higher levels of mercury; where as smaller fish like salmon, or sardines are ok.

1) Which Types of Fish are the Healthiest 

(Sourced from EDF Seafood)

Salmon: Wild Alaskan salmon is the best.  Alaskan salmon (regardless of the kind) tends to be low in contaminants, high in Omega 3s, and farmed sustainably.  Canned salmon is usually from Alaska, so is therefore also good.

Mackerel: Altantic mackerel from Canada is the best as they are the lowest in contaminants, and the highest in Omega 3s.

Sablefish: Sablefish tends to grow to be a large fish (up to 4ft), so can have moderate amounts of mercury.  The best type to buy is from Alaska

Halibut: Halibut is not as good from an Omega 3 perspective, and also is a bottom feeding, larger fish so can be higher in mercury.  The best type to get is Pacific halibut, either from Alaska or Canada.

Tilapia: Tilapia is often imported from Latin America, where the fish are raised in freshwater where there isn’t a lot of contaminants like mercury; however tilapia isn’t as good of a source of Omega 3s as the fish above are.

2) Which Types of Fish are the Most Eco-Friendly 

For this, I’m going to refer to David Suzuki’s info graphic:

For a chart showing the relative content of Omega 3s in each serving of fish, I recommend going here.

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