Fish Benefits Outweigh Risks for Most
DR KOMOROFF Universal Uclick
Posted April 20, 2012
Dear Doctor K: I enjoy eating fish, and I know that doing so can
keep me healthier. But how worried should I be about mercury and
other pollutants in fish?
Dear Reader: Fish are an excellent source of protein, and its
healthy oils protect against cardiovascular disease. A diet rich in
seafood benefits the brain and the heart.
But nearly all fish and shellfish do contain traces of mercury,
and mercury is a toxic metal. If too much gets into your body, it
can be damaging - particularly to the brain. But you can minimize
the bad and maximize the good. Here's how.
As small fish are eaten by larger fish up the food chain,
concentrations of mercury increase. Thus large, predatory, deep-
ocean fish tend to contain the highest levels. Examples include
shark, swordfish, tilefish and king mackerel. I'm careful about how
often I eat these fish, in contrast to those with less mercury.
Most adults can safely eat about 12 ounces (two 6-ounce servings)
of a variety of cooked seafood a week. This advice does not include
the large, predatory ocean fish mentioned above, which should be
enjoyed only occasionally. Also, pay attention to local seafood
advisories about contamination.
This advice does not apply to women who are pregnant or may
become pregnant, nursing mothers and children ages 12 and younger.
More caution is needed to avoid potential harm from mercury to a
fetus's or a young child's developing nervous system. For such women
and children, 12 ounces a week of fish is considered safe if they:
Generally choose fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury,
such as shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock and catfish.
Albacore ("white") tuna has more mercury than canned light tuna.
Eat no more than 6 ounces (one average meal) of albacore tuna per
If you're smart about how you eat fish, the good effects on your
health far outweigh the bad.
Write Dr. K at www.AskDoctorK.com or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130
Walnut, Kansas City, MO 64106
© 2012 Tulsa World. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved