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We all know that fish are protein powerhouses and are a common staple in healthy weight-loss programs.  There is a lot of confusion about buying and choosing fish, which can be discouraging. We have done the homework for you and broken down the most common questions before you hit the fish market.

What about Mercury?
Mercury, in excess, can cause neurological issues, but it is important to consider that all fish contain traces of mercury.  Mercury levels are not a reason to avoid fish altogether, but do pay attention to the dose of mercury you may be consuming. The larger the fish the more mercury it contains.  As long as you are not eating larger portions of high-mercury fish, you really do not have much to worry about.

Farmed vs. Fresh/Wild-caught?
The way fish is raised and caught impacts the healthiness of the fish.  One would naturally think that wild-caught fish is the way to go, but farmed fish also has its benefits.  The concern with farmed fish is that the farming may take place in crowded, diseased tanks.  However, there are green, sustainable farms. The key is to know where your fish is coming from.  Though, there are some fish that you will want to purchase wild-caught.  Below are a few common fish choices and how to select them.

  • Salmon: Aim for wild-caught salmon.  Look for species, such as Coho, pink, and sockeye.  Salmon is low in mercury and high in omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Cod: Japanese and Russian Pacific cod should be avoided, since their mercury levels are unknown.  Go for Atlantic cod, which is low in mercury. 
  • Tilapia: Consume tilapia that is farmed in the United States in closed tanks.  Closed tanks are monitored better in the United States. Tilapia is a low-calorie option that is also low in mercury. 
  • Tuna: When purchasing tuna, be sure to select skipjack or fresh albacore tuna from the United States or Canada.  Other types of tuna, such as Bluefin and ahi, are typically high in mercury.  Tuna is a great source of vitamin B12 and vitamin D.

Fish is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Fish is also high in iron, zinc, iodine, and magnesium.  Consumption of fish may help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. It is also a low-fat and great source of protein, making it a favorite of healthy weight-loss programs.  Need more fish inspiration?  Check out GreenLite’s recipe page for healthy weight-loss meal ideas

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