Feel like cooking a fillet of fish for dinner? That could be a good idea: US dietary guidelines recommend eating fish two to three times per week. But does eating fish more than a few times per week, say, every day, result in even more health benefits? In a recent article on NBC News, several experts were interviewed in an attempt to answer that question. And while they found that most people can eat some fish every day, increased fish consumption does pose certain challenges that it is important to be aware of:
- Eating more fish may be hard on the environment. Some experts have suggested that we could drain the oceans of fish by 2050 if everyone increases their fish consumption. And, even if everyone started eating fish just two to three times per week, we’d have to increase fish farming to keep up. Until land-based fish farming technologies become the industry standard, the expansion of fish farming could pose major threats to wild salmon populations and cause further damage to marine ecology.
- Eating more fish may increase mercury levels. Fish can accumulate toxins, like mercury, which are passed on to diners. It’s a serious issue—mercury can cause nervous system damage in adults and developmental problems in babies and children. The amount of mercury in fish can vary depending on what they eat; swordfish are known to have higher amounts, so women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid them, and they are probably not the best choice for everyday eating. Salmon and shrimp may be a better bet because they tend to be lower in mercury.
However, studies do show that eating fish a few times a week may decrease the risk of heart attacks compared to not eating fish at all. In addition, getting adequate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids from fish may prevent cognitive decline in adults and help ensure normal brain development in babies. So, while there’s no definitive answer on whether you should eat fish every day, adding certain small fish and other fruits of the sea like oysters, mussels, and clams to your diet a couple times a week, may be a healthy choice.
Source: NBC News