This is a genuine concern with some of my clients and for the most part, the answer is no. I’ll tell you why. For starters, the most common types of fish eaten by Canadians have lower levels of mercury in them and secondly, unless you are an infant/young child, pregnant and/or breastfeeding, you do not need to avoid fish with higher levels of mercury, unless you eat them often and in large amounts. The key here is variety!
Why do fish have mercury to begin with? Well! Fish can absorb mercury in their muscles through the absorption of water as well as what they eat. So, if the fish is higher up on the food chain, i.e. eats other fish, then it will have higher levels of mercury.
Mercury is a mineral that we do need daily, but just not in excess amounts.
What fish do we need to eat less often you ask? Fresh/frozen tuna, shark, orange roughly, escolar, marlin and swordfish. But where it gets a little tricky is with canned tuna. There is white canned tuna, also known as Albacore tuna. And there’s light canned tuna, also known as Yellowfin and/or Skipjack and/or Tongol tuna. The white/Albacore tuna should be limited to no more than 2 full cans per week if you are a woman and ½-1 can per week if you are a toddler/child.
So does this mean that you can still eat fish? Yes! And please do so :) Many studies have showed us the health benefits to eating fish and seafood so please enjoy!
What’s your favorite fish?
I work as a Dietitian and definitely walk the talk. I love to cook and help people get back to being healthy again.