A Fish Story: Getting the Healthiest Seafood Available

wild alaskan salmon

In their natural habitat, fish love to eat zooplankton, tiny single-celled organisms which are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. People who eat the fish deliver this healthy fat to their eagerly awaiting cells. Sadly, as the oceans have become over fished and polluted, this chain of events has changed.

For one thing, U.S. Atlantic salmon are virtually extinct; in fact, most Atlantic salmon sold in the United States is farm raised. Even worse from a health standpoint, some cold-water fish are contaminated with mercury. These include swordfish, shark, tilefish, and king mackerel. Avoid eating these fish.

Today, farmed fish have come to dominate many sectors of the fish market. You’ve no doubt noticed a wide variation in the price of salmon, from very inexpensive farmed salmon to very expensive, fresh wild Alaskan salmon. Many environmental groups are opposed to farm-raised salmon, and there is some controversy about their omega-3 content, as they’re not always fed the marine diet that produces high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.

The best salmon is U.S. Pacific wild Alaskan salmon, whether it’s fresh, frozen or canned. The Marine Stewardship Council certifies Alaskan salmon as the “Best Environmental Choice.”

Other heart-healthy, environmentally safe seafood choices include the following: Arctic char, catfish (U.S. farmed), clams (farmed), crab (Dungeness), crayfish, halibut (Alaskan), herring, mahi mahi, mussels (farmed), sablefish, sardines, scallops (farmed), striped bass and tilapia (farmed).

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