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Best Fish to Eat for Health

dill yogurt salmon sits on a small dinner plate with a spinach blackberry side salad

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When we look at the healthiest countries around the world, we often find their consumption of fish is high. The Mediterranean diet and Japanese diet are two such examples. It’s therefore no surprise that the American Heart Association recommends eating fish (particularly fatty) at least two times a week. Fatty fish are high in heart healthy omega 3 fatty acids, which help prevent cardiovascular disease. Some examples of fatty fish include salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, and albacore tuna. Fish, in general, are a great source of lean protein, but like everything else in our food system, are under scrutiny. With polluted waters, worries of sustainability, less than ideal farm conditions, and questionable feeding and treatment techniques, choosing the right fish has been quite the investigative journey! When looking at the difference between farm raised and wild caught, you would think the obvious choice is wild caught, but not always. To me, the biggest benefit of wild caught fish is its diet. Remember, you are what you eat, and you are what you eat eats! You know that wild caught fish is eating what it is supposed to, and will have higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids (assuming they aren’t fortifying the diet of the farm raised fish). The drawbacks of wild caught fish are the sustainability concerns (we don’t want our fish to become extinct) and our polluted waters. Reference the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch website or app for help when purchasing wild fish. Their recommendations ensure you are making the most sustainable choice. Farm raised fish seems far more complicated to me. It seems that farm raised fish are our future to guarantee an abundant fish supply, but there are definitely some fishy (pardon the pun) practices going on. Definitely stay away from farm raised fish from China. They have gotten in trouble for some horrific fish farming practices (especially with tilapia), and while it is not all of their farms, I don’t think it is worth the risk. The main concerns with farm raised fish seem to be the diet of the fish, the cleanliness of the waters, and the use of antibiotics and chemicals. It was discouraging to learn many of the farm raised fish are fed GMO corn and soy. Do we really need to be eating more of that? The only way to guarantee you are eating healthy farm raised fish is to know the farm where it came from and about their practices. I know this is beyond challenging, and honestly I feel like the best the average consumer can do is purchase from grocery stores and restaurants that make a point of doing the research for you. I don’t’ know about you, but I don’t have the time to personally drive out to fish farms to observe what they are doing! With all the questions and controversy, it makes you wonder if you should even eat fish, but I definitely say yes! There is too much potential nutritional benefit. Just be sure to do a little research and know where your fish comes from! And be sure to try our Dill & Yogurt Salmon recipe 🙂

To YOUR Taste!

Chef V

Vahista Ussery, MS, MBA, RDN

Vahista Ussery, MS, MBA, RDN

Chef Vahista is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist/Chef. She is one of the founders of To Taste and is passionate about educating individuals and communities about nutrition principles and culinary skills.

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