Can I eat fish seafood every day
It is recommended to eat fish 2-3 times a week: what about each day?
With government guidelines requiring everyone to eat fish twice a week to reap the benefits of their heart and brain, one might wonder, if two days are good with fish, does fish eat better every day?
That is a question that experts have not yet fully answered. And it's a little complicated because it's not just a health problem, it's an environmental problem as well. Simply put, there probably isn't enough fish in the ocean for everyone to eat seafood all the time.
But, experts say, eating seafood more than twice a week, for most people, can be healthy.
"It's okay for most people to eat fish every day," said Eric Rimm, professor of epidemiology and nutrition and director of cardiovascular epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. "And it is certainly better to eat fish every day than to eat beef every day."
However, according to Rimm, there are some groups - pregnant women for example - who shouldn't eat certain types of fish every day. Larger fish with longer lifespans like swordfish and tuna tend to accumulate toxins like mercury, he explained.
Dinner with grilled swordfish steaks and quinoa salad
"And that's not good for a developing fetus," said Rimm. For the same reason, consuming these types of fish on a daily basis is also not good for children, he added.
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Mercury is much less of a problem in smaller fish with shorter life spans, according to Theresa Sinicope Talley, a California Sea Grant researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego.
Mercury does not cause permanent damage in adults, although it can cause temporary neurological effects.
"There are anecdotal reports from places where people eat fish every day complaining of neurological problems like dizziness or difficulty concentrating," said Rimm. “That would be people who eat sushi or tuna twice a day. You tell them to stop, and indeed, the mercury levels go down. “When that happens, said Rimm, the symptoms will go away.
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As for the question of whether eating fish every day is even healthier than twice a week, science is not yet informed, said Rimm.
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"Most of the science doesn't look at daily consumption," he explained. "But many, many studies have shown that those who have it a few times a week have a lower rate of fatal heart attacks compared to those who don't eat."
Scientists attribute most of the heart-healthy benefits of fish to omega-3s. These nutrients have also been shown to improve cognition in adults and help babies develop in the brain.
As for the environment, they are a little thornier. Some experts have suggested that if we increase the amount we eat, we can empty the seas of fish by 2050.
“Even if people eat fish twice a week, we have to intensify fish farming,” said Rimm.
Are farmed fish as nutritious as wild fish? "It depends entirely on the fish," said Rimm. "In some cases, reared farmers are healthier because they feed more omega-3s in their diet than wild-caught fish."
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In fact, fish farms are on the rise around the world, said Daniel D. Benetti, professor and director of aquaculture in the Department of Ecosystems and Society at the University of Miami. “In 2015 we reached an important milestone,” said Benetti. "We produce more seafood than beef: 66 million tons of seafood versus 63 million tons of beef."
Tilapia fish cake with corn and tomato salad
Fish farms are also becoming more environmentally friendly. So far, one of the biggest hits against farmed fish has been what the farmers fed the fish - namely other fish.
But that is changing and it is the economy that is driving the change, Benetti said.
Researchers have tried to develop pelleted feeds that contain more soy than fish. It turns out that's a lot cheaper than feeding 100 percent fishmeal and oil, says Benetti. The trick is that the pellets taste good. "We trick the fish into believing that they will eat all fish meal and oil," he said.
Fish farms are not the whole solution just yet, Talley said.
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Consumers should consider expanding their taste horizons to include smaller fish, shellfish, mollusks, and even seaweed, so they have the added benefit of a more varied and healthier diet.
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