Inside Scoop: Are you wondering what type of seafood to purchase? What healthy and sustainable choices are? Which are toxin-free? You are not alone. There are many questions to confuse even the most meticulous customer. Read on to learn!
This post was submitted by Scott Pine, nutritional expert who cares deeply about nutrition and eco-friendly methods that can transform the world.
These nutrients boost brainpower, promote heart health, and are good for your joints. However, even with all these benefits, choosing the best seafood for your health and the environment can be quite an uphill task. Without a doubt, our water bodies are overfished, thus depleting the seafood population. They are also saturated with lethal toxins, such as mercury, which can have deleterious effects.
But there is good news. As consumers are becoming keener on the fish they consume, more research on how to choose the best food has been done. This article will, therefore, offer a complete guide to buying healthy and sustainable seafood.
HOW TO FIND HEALTHY & SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD
Consider Mercury Levels
Mercury is a deadly neurotoxin that can have devastating effects on the nerves, brain, and heart. With time, the concentration of mercury in the oceans has increased due to coal mining and burning fossil fuel in an attempt to meet the world’s energy demands.
Mercury-containing plants are eaten by small fish, which in turn are eaten by larger fish whose tissue accumulates mercury. This is why large fish contain a higher percentage of mercury.
Some species with the highest mercury content include swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, and shark.
Those with moderate mercury are tuna, marlin, bluefish, halibut, lobster, Spanish mackerel, grouper, and Chilean seabass.
Those with the lowest mercury level include shrimp, freshwater perch, trout, spiny lobster, catfish, crayfish, herring, scallop, tilapia, salmon, squid, oysters, and crab.
Therefore, when you want to make some seafood salad like this delicious Sweet Heat Kale Salad with Shrimp, use fish with the lowest mercury, and spice it with your best seafood seasoning. You can use this seafood calculator by the EWG to help.
In addition to mercury, other pollutants worth considering include dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls. High levels of these toxins may cause problems in the nervous and reproductive systems. In most western countries, these contaminants are declining. However, fish from other countries may contain high amounts.
Fish with these toxins may find their way into the seafood market. Therefore, it is essential to know where the fish you’re purchasing is from.
Consider Environment Factors
Our fishing habits have a huge impact on our water bodies. Seafood stocks have been exhausted over the years. The decline is due to various factors such as:
Overfishing: Refers to the removal of fish at a speed that species cannot stock up in time. Consumers can help by eating the more abundant seafood such as squid and crab to give the depleted foods time to replenish.
Marine pollution: Every year, millions of pounds of trash and pollutants enter the seas and oceans, killing the sea creatures slowly. Avoiding ocean harming products will save the seafood world.
By Catch: Refers to marine species that are caught unintentionally. These sea creatures are tossed back into the sea and usually do not survive.
Destruction of the Habitat: Destructive fishing practices such as bycatch and bottom trawling devastate the marine environment and make it inhabited. Practicing safe fishing methods will help protect the marine environment and ensure that quality seafood is produced.
Consumer demand: The demand for seafood has increased greatly due to the rise in population, and the seafood market cannot meet this demand. Diversifying food options may help solve this problem.
Looking for labels like the Marine Stewardship Council helps to ensure that you are buying fresh, frozen and canned sustainable seafood and is an easy way to shop.
All you have to do is look for the MSC Blue Fish label that means that the fishery where your food is coming from abides by the highest standards and practices for sustainable fishing. The label should have this stamp on it:
Wild Fish vs Farm Fish
Wild seafood is fished from its natural habitat (ocean, lakes), while farmed fish are reared in fishponds. Fish farming has higher yields since edible fish are protected from marine predators. Therefore, it can meet the high consumer demands when compared to wild fish.
In terms of their nutritional density, wild fish contain more nutrients than farm fish. They have more minerals and a better omega 6 to omega 3 ratio. On the other hand, farmed fish contains more omega 6 fatty acids, which may induce inflammation when eaten in excess. Having said that, the nutritional difference is not significant. Therefore, when making your favourite seafood risotto, you can use MSC certified wild pacific seafood or farmed seafood if wild is not available.
Farmed fish also have more contaminants from the use of antibiotics, which contributes to antibiotic resistance in both animals and humans. However, not all wild fish are pure since they can pick up pollutants from their surroundings.
Aquaculture is dynamic, and therefore, there are instances where farmed fish may be healthier and sustainable.
What can you do?
With the rise of the keto diet, most people opt for seafood to provide the much needed ketogenic amino acids. The most predominant seafood used for this purpose are salmon and tuna. This has led to harmful fishing practices, such as overfishing. Meanwhile, the ocean is swarming with thousands of sustainable seafood species, such as the mullet.
By choosing to diversify your seafood options, you can minimize the damage and help the seafood world to recover and produce quality seafood.
Ever heard of community-supported fisheries? These are business programs for selling locally-sourced fish. They offer members a regular share of fresh seafood for a pre-paid membership fee.
Joining such a program is a brilliant way to know where your seafood comes from and how it was caught. It also boosts the regional fishing economy and increases the demand for healthy and sustainable seafood.
If you are looking for the best place to buy quality seafood; certain businesses, such as the real seafood company, are trusted retailers for sustainable seafood.
If there is no such store near you, you can simply inquire if a store offers maintainable seafood. This will help shape demand for fish that is farmed or caught in environmentally friendly methods. Alternatively, look for labels like the Marine Stewardship Council to ensure that you are buying fresh, frozen and canned sustainable seafood and is an easy way to shop.
Seafood is highly nutritious and beneficial. Choosing sustainable and healthy seafood can be tricky. Luckily, with this guide, you will find that choosing sustainable seafood to make delicious and healthy recipes is not as challenging as it may seem.
Scott Pine is a nutritional expert, up to date with the current nutrition standards and quite flexible in his thinking. He cares deeply about nutrition and eco-friendly methods that can transform the world. He has been working to empower people around the world to create sustainable and healthy food choices.