Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fish = Cake

Fish is confusing. Many nutritionists and public health advocates call it one of the best foods you can eat to promote good health. Many species are high in the famed omega-3 fatty acids, and almost all fish is high in protein and low in calories. But… and of course there’s a but…

Many species are overfished, leaving our oceans depleted. Some species that are farmed are done so in a way that’s terrible for the environment and for your health (farmed Atlantic salmon for example). Then there’s the whole mercury issue, which I know has scared some people off of fish entirely.

Personally, I err on the side of eating more fish. It’s been the basis of healthy diets for millennia AND I always feel so darn virtuous after I’ve eaten it. Like I could easily justify a piece of cake for dessert!

But, I try to choose my fish responsibly, so the seafood is good for my family’s health and the environment’s health. My favorite way to do this is to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch site. You can browse fish by type, and the site will fill you in on health and environmental concerns. And, if that’s too much work for you you can simply look at Seafood Watch’s clear-cut recommendations: “Best Choice”, “Good Alternative”, and “Avoid”.

The site also shares some astonishing fish facts. Did you know that orange roughy live up to 100 years or more? And, even more amazingly, the fish is sometimes called a “slimehead”? Yummm. But, don’t worry about eating slimehead, because according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, orange roughy is a fish to AVOID.

Photo courtesy of Colin Purrington.

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