How to Pick the Safest Fish to Eat

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How to Pick the Safest Fish to Eat
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How to Pick the Safest Fish to Eat

Read on to learn which fish contain the most mercury and which contain the least.

Lowest-Mercury Fish

According to Consumer Reports, if you love to eat fish, then you can enjoy the following without much worry: scallops, shrimp, sardines, wild and Alaskan salmon, oysters, squid and tilapia. These fish typically contain the lowest levels of mercury, but it's important to find out the origins of the fish. So make sure you know where exactly the fish came from. A 132-pound person can enjoy 36-ounces of the lowest-mercury fish a week.

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Low Mercury-Fish

These fish Consumer Reports indicates are low in mercury: pollock, flounder, sole, haddock, trout, catfish, domestic crawfish, Atlantic croacker, Atlantic mackerel, crab and mullet. They say that a 132-pound person can eat 18 ounces of low-mercury fish a week.

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Highest Mercury Fish

The FDA and EPA say that most women and young children should avoid consuming swordfish, shark, king mackerel and gult tilefish. The FDA and EPA are considering adding marlin and orange roughly to the list as well. Consumer Reports also suggests limiting your consumption of grouper, chilean sea bass, bluefish, halibut, Spanish mackerel (Gulf), sablefish (black cod) and fresh tuna (except skipjack).

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How Much Canned Tuna is Safe?

According to Consumer Reports, the number of ounces of canned tuna you may eat all depends on your body weight. A 132-pound person could theoretically eat 10 ounces of tuna a week. One can is five ounces, but it really depends on the type of tuna. The Natural Resources Defense Council created a mercury calculator to determine your personal level of exposure from seafood.

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Seafood makes for a great source of lean protein. Many fish even have heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids that help to prevent a host of diseases. However, one problem with fish that continues to get attention is the fact that it can get contaminated with mercury. The mercury levels in the ocean haven risen by 30 percent in the last 20 years, thanks to industrial mercury emissions, according to Consumer Reports. Small fish eat plants that contain mercury, and since the bigger fish eat the smaller ones, they too get contaminated. According to a recent article in Consumer Reports, they recommend that pregnant women avoid all canned tuna completely (despite it being approved under FDA guidelines), and break down recommended fish consumption based on mercury levels.

Check out the slideshow above to learn which fish contain the most mercury, and which contain the least.

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