Fish is a very good source of omega-3 fatty acids which are very essential for the body. These nutrients are beneficial in keeping our brain and heart healthy. Our body does not produce omega-3 fatty acid thatΒ’s why we need to eat fish to get them. Fishes are also high in protein and low in bad fats, making it a healthy food source.

Fishes can either be a super food or a toxic food depending on your choice of fish. There are some fishes that are toxic due to issue like mining, sewage and fossil fuel emissions and heavy metals that accumulate in waters and build up in the fishes. Although water poisoning by the chemicals is at a low level, it is still enough to contaminate the fish and this makes them become a real threat to health when eaten. It is therefore important to avoid some types of fish like;

  1. Tilapia

Tilapia fish is one of the leading inflammatory diets. It contains very low levels of omega-3 fatty acids and high levels of inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. Eating tilapia fish sustains high levels of inflammation in the body and these inflammations worsen the symptoms of auto immune disorders and may also be linked to chronic health conditions like heart diseases, diabetes and cancer. If you must eat tilapia fish, avoid eating the ones gotten from china and go for those fishes that are wild-caught rather than farmed.

  1. Caviar

Caviar is the egg of an ancient fish called Beluga sturgeon. This fish is in trouble of extinction because they have been widely fished for caviar which is worth lots of money. If enforcements are not made to stop fishing them, they may go into extinction. If you cannot give up caviar, try eating caviar gotten from blue sturgeons that are raised in aquaculture systems, they are a more sustainable alternative.

  1. Chilean Seabass

Seafood distributors started marketing this fish and now they are common on most menus in restaurants. This has generated the problem of over fishing and now this fish species is in trouble of extinction. Also, chilean seabass fish have a high level of mercury in it, making it a toxic fish.

  1. Eel

Eel fishes are slow to mature and have been overfished in many part of the world leaving it in trouble of extinction. Eels also tend to readily absorb and store harmful chemicals and contaminants such as polychlorinated biphenyls and flame retardants, making it a very toxic fish. River eels are so contaminated that even adults are advised not to eat more than one eel a year.

  1. Farmed Salmon

Majority of the salmon consumed in countries are the farmed salmon which are the unhealthiest kind. This is majorly because farmed salmon fishes are raised in conditions that involve pesticides, faeces, bacteria and parasite. Studies have shown that farmed salmon is more likely to contain harmful contaminants like polychlorinated biphenyls, which are linked to insulin resistance, obesity, stroke and cancer. They are also higher of inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids because they are often treated with antibiotics. If you must eat farmed salmon, you should skip the Atlantic salmon and opt for wild-caught Alaskan salmon.

  1. Imported Catfish

A study done in 2016 showed that 70-80% of imported catfishes were contaminated by vibriobacteria which is the microbe behind most cases of shellfish poisoning. Farming catfish has led to destruction of river life and wetlands. Also, this fish factory farming method results in fish swimming in waste and sludge. Imported catfish are treated in a broad range of antibiotics, pesticides and disinfectants which makes them toxic.

  1. Imported Farmed Shrimp

Farmed shrimp accounts for about 90% of the shrimp we consume. Italian researchers have discovered that 4-hexyhesorcinol, a food additive used to prevent discolouration in the shrimp could reduce sperm count in men and increase breast cancer risk in women. Also, most of the pesticides used globally in shrimp production are banned for use in US shrimp farms. Shrimp farm ponds are usually treated with harmful chemical and pesticides and when consumed they have detrimental effects on health.

  1. King Mackerel

Food and Drug Administration warns women and children to avoid king mackerel because they have shown to habour high mercury levels. The Atlantic mackerel is a better option if you want to eat a mackerel fish because they are high in omega-3 fatty acids and very low in mercury.

The issue of finding safer seafood can be challenging and requires you to consider many factors including; sustainability, nutritional value, mercury levels and risk of contamination with pollutants, pesticides or harmful chemicals. Choose fishes that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, low in environmental contaminants and are ecologically friendly. Fishes like;

  • Sardines
  • Anchovies
  • Sablefish
  • Albacore tuna
  • Arctic char


image source: medium