Fish for food?

The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least twice per week. This is because fish contains lots of omega 3 fatty acids, which are good for the health of your heart.

Fish contains omega 3 in the form of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Plant sources like walnuts, canola oil, hemp and flax seeds contain omega 3 in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).  Our bodies convert ALA into DHA and EPA. More evidence is needed to really know the difference for heart health between fish oil and plant oil sources of omega 3, but so far, fish oil seems to be most effective.

Unfortunately, there is more to eating fish than heart health benefits.

Fish can be hazardous to your health. We humans are polluting the world’s oceans where fish live and breed. As a result, fish is contaminated with heavy metals and chemicals. Fish can give you an unwanted dose of mercury; this is especially bad for children and pregnant women as mercury may damage young developing brains. Mercury is not the only contaminant. Toxic industrial and agricultural chemicals like PCBs and dioxins end up washed into our oceans and contaminate fish’s ecosystems.

Moreover, fish populations are being destroyed by human fishing behaviors. Read more about the issue and what you can do to make a difference at the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch and at Greenpeace.

If you are going to eat fish, make sure it is on the Monterey Bay’s list of seafood recommendations.

David Millett Publications

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