You’ve heard the saying ‘fish is brain food’ but you’ve also heard the horror stories about heavy metal poisoning and food poisoning. Here we will examine how your family can get the benefits of fish, without the dangers.
The first and most important rule is to buy your fish from a reputable source. That way you’ll know whether it’s in season, where it came from and how it’s been stored. If you catch your own fish, check with local authorities to find out if there are any health warnings. Anything from a chemical spill to biological problems can make fish unsafe to eat.
Farmed fish are generally less safe than wild caught fish. Some species do better and are healthier to eat when farmed, but on the whole, wild fish are healthier. You should also limit your consumption of bottom dwelling fish and seafood, like lobster, and choose smaller, less fatty fish.
Cooking methods also make a big difference when eating fish. Opt for steaming, grilling or broiling rather than frying, and remove the skin and organs from fish and shellfish before cooking. Also avoid recipes that call for the use of the cooking liquid. All of these methods help to limit the pesticides, PCB’s and dioxins that can be found in fish. They don’t, however, affect the mercury content and fish that are high in mercury should be avoided altogether. Check whether the species is dangerous before you buy it – even popular types like swordfish and tuna can be dangerous.
Lastly, try to vary your consumption of fish – have different types rather than one variety all the time. Keep portions small and reduce them proportionately for children.