When you think of eating underwater low-fat protein that’s packed with omega-3 fatty acids, you tend to associate pescetarianism with a healthier way to satisfy your stomach. I mean, who doesn’t love sushi or a hearty seafood stew?
The truth is that times have changed, and the days of pollution-free bodies of water and fish without antibiotics are long gone. Mercury is released into the atmosphere from burning coal, oil, and natural gas, metropolitan and medical wastes, forest fires, among many other sources. Now numerous toxins have leached into our only fresh and saltwater sources, polluting marine life and our bodies when we eat them.
To keep mercury toxicity at bay, limit your seafood consumption to 2 – 3 servings per week, which equates to about 8 – 12 ounces. Opt for organic, farm-raised seafood that contains lesser amounts of mercury such as wild Alaskan salmon, eel, crab, shrimp, and catfish. Remember the younger and smaller the fish the safer, since the amount of mercury increases every time a larger fish eats a small fish.
Here are the fish with the highest amounts of mercury:
- Tilefish (Gulf of Mexico) – Containing a whopping average 219 micrograms of mercury, the tilefish native to the Gulf of Mexico, tops the list of mercury-tainted seafood.
- Shark – 151 micrograms of mercury
- Swordfish – 147 micrograms of mercury
- Mackerel King – 110 micrograms of mercury
- Orange Roughy – 80 micrograms of mercury
- Marlin – 69 micrograms of mercury
- Tuna (Bluefin, Bigeye, & Albacore) – 54 – 58 micrograms of mercury
Tuna (Canned White Albacore) – 40 micrograms of mercury
Tuna (Skipjack & Yellowfin) – 31 – 49 micrograms of mercury
Light Canned Tuna – 13 micrograms of mercury
- American Lobster – 47 micrograms of mercury
- Cod (Atlantic & Pacific) – 14 micrograms of mercury
- Mackerel Spanish (Atlantic & Pacific) – 8 – 13 micrograms of mercury