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Should You Be Concerned About Mercury in Fish?

July 4, 2013 by HealthyFamilies BC

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Melodie Yong is the dietitian with Global BC’s Morning News and is the online host of HealthyFamilies BC’s Virtual Grocery Store Tour and Shopping Sense videos.

Thanks for contributing as a guest blogger Melodie!

So you’ve heard that eating fish is supposed to be good for you. But let’s face it, you’ve probably also heard that some types of fish might not be such a good choice because of the mercury. Is fish really as good for you as it’s said to be?Fish is an excellent source of protein. One serving of fish is equal to 75 grams (2½ oz). Eating fish that are high in omega-3 fats at least twice a week may help lower your risk of heart disease. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) are the types of omega-3 fats found in fatty fish. They play a pretty important role in:

- Brain, nerve, and eye development in infants
- preventing and treating heart disease
- possibly reducing the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

Fish high in omega-3 fats include, salmon, mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, arctic and char. If you‘re uncertain that you’re getting enough omega-3 fats from your diet, call 8-1-1 and speak to a registered dietitian with Dietitian Services at HealthLinkBC.

What about Mercury?

The BC Ministry of Health and BC Centre for Disease Control have developed recommendations for choosing and eating fish, specifically for British Columbians. Women who are trying to become pregnant, or who are pregnant or breastfeeding, as well as children, are especially at risk for eating certain types of fish. By choosing fish low in mercury, you can get the health benefits of fish while minimizing the amount of mercury.

For more information on mercury in fish, including a list of safe choices, check out these great resources.

So - next time you’re stuck for what to make for dinner - Go Fish! - throw some filets in your non-stick pan, steam some frozen vegetables, cook up some quinoa, and you’ve got a quick and nutritious meal in minutes. Call 8-1-1 to speak with a registered dietitian if you have more questions.

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