Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Best and Worst Fish Choices
I have long recommended fish as part of a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet. However, not all fish provide the same benefits, and some species should be limited or avoided altogether. If you don't like the taste of fish, you can still get the benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids by consuming daily a high quality fish supplement. I recommend Life Extension's Super Omega-3 EPA/DHA with Sesame Lignans & Olive Fruit Extract (Molecularly Distilled). That's what i take everyday.
My advice, opt for:
Omega-3 rich fish. Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary for sustained physical and mental health. Research indicates that omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce the risk and symptoms of a variety of disorders, and can lower triglyceride levels, increase HDL cholesterol, help minimize inflammation and blood clotting, and keep blood vessels healthy. The best sources? Wild-caught Alaskan salmon, canned sockeye salmon, sardines, herring, and black cod. (I recommend 2-6 servings per week of fish that are high in omega-3s as part of the anti-inflammatory diet.)
Limit or Avoid:
Large predatory fish. Shark, swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel, and white (albacore) tuna may have high levels of mercury. Pregnant women and children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of contaminants, and should avoid these species. (Small catch tuna is OK, as it has high levels of omega-3s.)
Omega-6 rich fish. Farm-raised tilapia is one of the most highly consumed fish in America, yet it has very low levels of beneficial omega-3s and very high levels of potentially detrimental omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory, and inflammation is known to cause damage to blood vessels, the heart, lung and joint tissues, skin, and the digestive tract.
Farmed salmon. Avoid farmed salmon (also called Atlantic salmon), which is what you typically find in supermarkets, restaurants and fish markets. While less expensive than wild salmon, farmed salmon is lower in omega-3s and may contain residues of antibiotics and other drugs used to treat diseases in fish farming pens. What's more, levels of PCBs and other contaminants in farmed salmon have been found to be much higher than those found in wild salmon.