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Top 5 Fish for You (and the earth)

raw fish

Remember the buzz about Jeremy Piven getting mercury poisoning? And then reports that Hillary Swank battled it, too?

As fishy as those stories were, exposure to high levels of mercury is a health threat to people who eat more surf than turf.

We can be exposed to dangerous levels of mercury because of the conditions of the habitats where fish that we eat are raised. Fresh-water and ocean-caught fish can be exposed to mercury in their natural environment. And farm-raised fish may be swimming in waters polluted with antibiotics and pesticides as well as increased mercury. Overfishing and debatable catch methods only make the matter worse.

Fortunately, for those of us who rely on fish in a vegetarian diet or for healthful eating, there are independent seafood watch programs to guide conscientious shoppers in choosing sustainably raised fish.

Here are the top five picks by the Monterey Seafood Watch for healthier, sustainably raised fish.

1. U.S Atlantic Haddock

This fish is hook-and-line caught, scores in the lowest category for mercury content, and has a big boost of protein. Bake haddock whole in its skin or broil fillets with a touch of butter and garlic for a satisfying main course.

2. Whitefish

Caught in Michigan’s fresh water lakes, this fish is a sustainable, low-mercury option. Try one a Great Lakes favorite dish of creamy smoked whitefish spread on crackers.

3. Wild Alaskan Salmon

This popular pick is high in Omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Avoid farm-raised Atlantic salmon, which is known for high levels of contaminants. Bake salmon to serve with pasta or quinoa for dinner, then toss leftovers on a salad or in an omelet the next day.

4.  Tilapia

Most Tilapia on the market in the U.S. is imported from farms with below-standard systems. Choose U.S. farm-raised tilapia to find fish that rank in the highest level of sustainability. The mild and flaky texture of tilapia makes it a family-friendly choice for tacos with mango salsa.

5. Catfish

U.S. farmed catfish earns a “best choice” label from Seafood Watch for sustainability. Be wary, however, of important catfish, which has been banned in some states due to use of dangerous antibiotics. Catfish holds up well with a pecan topping, Cajun spices or a lightly seasoned cornmeal crust.

Access the full buyer’s guide on Seafood Watch’s site here. 



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