Are You Eating Too Much Fish?

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Is it possible to eat too much fish? I eat fish and seafood about four times a week. I frequently eat barbequed prawns, mackerel salads, tuna niçoise, salmon en croute and mussels. It’s safe to say I’m a massive fish and seafood fan.

There are many health benefits to eating fish, including that white fish is lower in fat than any other source of animal protein and fish is packed full of omega-3 fatty acids (‘good fats’). Omega-3 fatty acids are great because:

  • They help to regulate blood clotting and vessel constriction.
  • They reduce tissue inflammation, so help ease symptoms of arthritis.
  • The fatty acids may play a beneficial role for those with irregular heartbeats as well as reducing depression and halting mental decline in older people.
  • One study showed that women who ate fish just twice a month reduced their risk of heart disease by as much as half!

However, it has been discovered in recent years that eating too much saltwater fish like tuna may increase exposure to mercury (which is toxic). As mercury builds up over time, it can itself cause heart disease and damage to the central nervous system.

Fish with naturally occurring high levels of mercury include swordfish, tuna, mackerel and shark.

“It’s been proven that the level of mercury in fish isn’t dangerous to health,’ commented Sarah Jane Smith, at British Heart Foundation. “We still recommend eating at least two portions of fish a week.”

The advice seems to be, as with most things, eat fish in moderation. This means no more than a couple of fishy meals per week.

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