Sunday, 9 May 2010

Fishy business

Since giving up my vegetarianism I am pleased to report that I haven't yet had the roast chicken binge I was anticipating.  Instead I have continued to eat quite a few vegetarian meals including a delicious tofu gluten and dairy free lasagne for dinner tonight (honestly much tastier than it sounds!) and have only reintroduced fish into my diet.

Fish is an excellent source of protein and minerals and in the case of oily fish essential fats (omega 3) important for skin and hormone and brain health and particularly associated with memory and concentration.  I remember eating fish everyday whilst taking my second year economics exams in a desperate bid to help remember some of the less interesting modules!

Unfortunately, due to the dumping of chemicals, pesticides and industrial waste into the rivers and oceans eating too much fish can lead to the accumulation of heavy metals, such as mercury, and harmful toxins in the body.  So once again eating healthily becomes a minefield ... should we eat fish or shouldn't we?

I'm definitely in favour of eating fish, but as with all foods moderation is key (I limit my intake to no more than 4 portions of fish a week, with a maximum 3 portions of oily fish) and knowing which fish are lowest in toxins can help you make healthier choices.   In the past I have been known to eat alot of tuna (when on a high protein diet for weight training) however it is the larger fish such as tuna and swordfish that tend to have higher levels of toxins as they eat the smaller fish, accumulating toxins up the food chain.  So it is healthier to eat smaller fish such as sardines, pilchards and mackeral which have lower toxin and heavy metal content. Haddock, salmon and halibut are also good choices.  When buying salmon, in order of lowest toxin levels, the first choice is wild pacific salmon, followed by wild atlantic followed by organic farmed. 

So if you're a tuna fiend it might be time to try some alternatives and if you're not a fish eater maybe now is the time to start!

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