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Salmon is a healthful fish, but farmed salmon eat pellets too, instead of healthy diet they get in wild. “Wild” food converts easily into omega-3 fatty acids, while pellets return less nourishment. Farmed fish are fed artificial colors to make them appealing. Farmed fish simply do not taste as good as wild fish. Too often, however, average person has little or no access to wild fish, as they are increasingly difficult to come by.
I’M PREGNANT, SHOULD I EAT FISH?
The EPA estimates that 8% of women of child-bearing age have high enough mercury levels in their blood to put their unborn children at risk for severe birth defects and neurological problems affecting language, movement and hearing, as brains of unborn and very young children are still developing. More than 60,000 children are born in US each year at risk for lifelong difficulties as a result.
However, study of 8,000 pregnant women in Denmark revealed that omega-3 fatty acids substantially reduced low birth weight and premature delivery. The women who ate 100 g of fish per week (in two servings) were three times less likely to deliver low weight babies than those who ate no fish at all.
To provide your baby with best chance of a healthy life, eat fish or shellfish twice a week. But be sure you choose from among varieties that contain lowest levels of mercury:
•HalibutAverage: 0.23 PPM •Sablefish 0.22 •Pollock 0.20 •Canned Tuna 0.17 •Blue Crab 0.17 •Dungeness Crab 0.18 •Crab, King 0.09 •Scallops 0.05 •Catfish 0.07
It is recommended that pregnant and lactating women eat fish because omega-3 fatty acids aid in development of baby’s central nervous system and vision development. After baby is old enough to eat “adult” food, parents should offer fish throughout childhood and teens. Take what you offer from “low mercury” fish listed above.
SUSHI What about sushi, is it safe? In general, no. The reason is parasites. We all know what a parasite is. They enter body with food we consume, and take from our nutrients what they need, leaving us deficient. Fish are subject to many parasites, including Anchor worms, fish lice, trematodes, eye flukes, black spots, thorny-headed worms, yellow grubs, tapeworms and other varieties. How can I tell if fish I buy harbors parasites? Look for: spots or threads (black or white), tumors, anything that looks as though it doesn’t belong there. If you have caught fish yourself, before you kill it, look for unusual behavior. If you see any, don’t take that fish home. But if you must, either freeze it before eating, and/or heat it thoroughly. Pickling or brining may reduce hazard, but will not eliminate parasites. The best way to reduce your risk for parasites is to cook your fish thoroughly, and stay away from sushi or any other form of uncooked fish or shellfish.
MAKING FISH SAFER
Proper food handling is answer:
•Keep seafood cold (32 – 38 degrees F. Use frozen fish within 1-6 months, and unfrozen within a day or two. •Thaw and/or marinate fish in refrigerator; don’t leave it out for more than 2 hours. •Wash hands carefully before and after handling fish. •Use clean towels to scrub your work surfaces. •Rinse in cold water. •Cook until fish is opaque (not transparent) and flakes easily. If you use a meat thermometer, 145 degrees F. is optimum. Use care when dealing with seafood, and enjoy!
Writer, editor, teacher of writing for 40 years, currently writing web content and mentoring emerging writing at allexperts.com.