If You're Going To Eat Fish, Here's How To Eat The Healthiest Fish Possible

Incorporating fish into your diet is a great way to boost health, protect your brain and heart, and even stave off certain kinds of cancers. To say the least, fish is a powerful ally to have on your dinner plate — but only if you’re eating the best, safest fish possible. 

Here are a few ways to hunt down seafood that will support your health as well as the ocean’s:

1. Are you a good fish or a bad fish?

In the simplest of terms, a “good fish” to eat is one that:

  • Tastes good
  • Is low in toxins
  • Has little negative impact on the environment
  • Hasn’t been overfished
  • Doesn’t compromise other marine populations through sloppy fishing techniques

2. Go wild or farmed?

Truth be told, both farmed and wild fish have their pros and cons. With farmed fish, there are concerns about the quality of their food supply, the cleanliness of their environments, and impact on surrounding waters. That said, they allow for a high yield of fish without the risk of overharvesting and depleting wild populations. With wild fish, over-fishing and over-harvesting are a serious threat to many species, but the fish contain far fewer contaminants. In the end, if you choose wisely, wild fish is usually the best option — as long as you know which species are the healthiest to eat.

3. School yourself.

How to get smart about fish? Educate yourself. One of the most user-friendly and comprehensive sites I’ve come across is the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s site, Seafoodwatch.org, which arms consumers with recommendations on best choices, good alternatives, and must-avoid info on more than 50 species of fish.

4. Take yours “to-go”

Don’t leave home without consulting the Monterey Bay Aquarium's seafood recommendations for shopping or dining out, which helps you know which fish choices are best for you and the ocean as well as which ones to avoid. Fish fans with smart phones can also download the SeafoodWatch app. The Environmental Defense Fund also publishes a handy printout guide called the “Seafood Selector," which tells you how about mercury levels in fish. It also gives each one an "Eco-rating."

5. Catch my drift?

Can’t quite visualize how your fish is caught? Don’t know pole-caught from gill-netting? Then take a look at seafoodwatch.org ’s helpful page of animations and illustrations of commercial fishing techniques. So, once you’ve identified your favorite types of fish and how they’re caught, find out where they rank on the Seafoodwatch or Environmental Defense Fund lists and buy accordingly.

6. So which fish top the charts in terms of healthy nutrition? 

There are six species that come out on top, having been named the “Super Greens” by Seafood Watch. What makes them Super Green? Two very appealing qualities: (1) they carry the fewest contaminants and (2) they meet the daily minimum of omega-3s, making them excellent choices for regular consumption:

  • Albacore Tuna (troll- or pole-caught, from the U.S. or British Columbia)
  • Freshwater Coho Salmon (farmed in tank systems, from the U.S.)
  • Oysters (farmed)
  • Pacific Sardines (wild-caught)
  • Rainbow Trout (farmed)
  • Salmon (wild-caught, from Alaska)

Ready to learn more about how to unlock the power of food to heal your body, prevent disease & achieve optimal health? Register now for our FREE Functional Nutrition Webinar with Kelly LeVeque.

Frank Lipman, M.D.

Pioneer in Functional Medicine
For Dr. Frank Lipman, health is more than just the absence of disease: it is a total state of physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social wellbeing. Dr. Lipman is a widely recognized trailblazer and leader in functional and integrative medicine, and he is a New York Times best-selling author of five books, How to Be Well, The New Health Rules, Young and Slim for Life, Revive and Total Renewal. After his initial medical training in his native South Africa, Dr. Lipman spent 18 months working at clinics in the bush. He became familiar with the local traditional healers, called sangomas, which kindled his interest in non-Western healing modalities In 1984, Dr. Lipman immigrated to the United States, where he became the chief medical resident at Lincoln Hospital in Bronx, NY. While there, he became fascinated by the hospital’s addiction clinic, which used acupuncture and Chinese medicine to treat people suffering from heroin and crack addiction. Seeing the way these patients responded so positively to acupuncture made him even more aware of the potential of implementing non-Western medicine to promote holistic wellbeing. As a medical student, he was taught to focus on the disease rather than the patient, and now as a doctor he found himself treating symptoms rather than the root causes of illness. Frustrated by the constraints of his training, and the limitations in helping his patients regain true health, he began a journey of discovery to search for the path to meaningful long-term health and wellness. He began studying nutrition, acupuncture, Chinese medicine, herbal medicine, functional medicine, biofeedback, meditation, and yoga. Dr. Lipman founded the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in 1992, where he combines the best of Western medicine and cutting edge nutritional science with age-old healing techniques from the East. As his patient chef Seamus Mullen told The New York Times, “If antibiotics are right, he’ll try it. If it’s an anti-inflammatory diet, he’ll do that. He’s looking at the body as a system rather than looking at isolated things.” In addition to his practice, he is also an instructor in mbg's Functional Nutrition Program.
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Frank Lipman, M.D.

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