The Best and Worst SeaFoods for Your Health

You will want to consider what is in the dish, how it is cooked, how fresh it is, and the type of fish. There are many good options, but some are better than others. You'll want to limit cream, oil, salt, "bad" fats and mercury. 

Do you know what's in your seafood? Best: Salmon

Best: Salmon

It is a favorite dish that you will find on many American menus. It is rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids. And like canned fish, it usually has less mercury than tuna. Wild-caught Alaskan salmon is a good source, whether it's fresh or canned. Since oily fish like salmon may contain banned chemicals called PCBs, it helps to reduce or shed excess fat, skin and dark meat.

Worst: Fish and chips

 The fact that everything in this dish is fried is not a good start. Tartar sauce and ketchup are often used to add even more fat, sugar and calories. If you cook fish (try it with corn flakes for crunch) and potatoes, you can control the amount of oil. A simple lemon wedge is a low-calorie way to add flavor.

Have sparingly: Broiled sword fish
Regardless of how it is caught or how it is cooked, swordfish can contain high levels of mercury. It's good to eat once in a while, but too much can damage your brain and kidneys. If you are pregnant, it can harm the baby or cause a miscarriage. Children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems may be more susceptible. Shark, king mackerel, and tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico also have high levels of mercury. 


Best: Shrimp Cocktail
It's about the sauce. The shrimp is usually boiled or steam, which is very good. They are high in protein and low in fat and mercury. But sauces, especially hot tomato sauce, can hide a lot of sugar, sometimes called "high fructose corn syrup." So skip the dip or create a sugar-free version. You will find many recipes online.
Worst: New England Clam Chowder

Of course, it has clams, which give you protein. But this soup also has cream, butter and salted bacon. This can cause you to eat more calories, saturated fat, and sodium, which most people should avoid. Save this for a special treat and try not to have too many.

Best: Manhattan Clam Chowder

Instead of butter and cream, this chowder uses a tomato base. It's a good start. Potatoes, carrots and onions make up the dish. That's about 135 calories per cup and less saturated fat, compared to about 181 calories per cup for the same amount of New England clam chowder. Mercury is generally not a problem in "bivalve" fish such as mussels, oysters and clams. Note that ready-made soup contains about 1,000 mg of sodium in one cup.

Best: Anchovy with Salad

 Because they are small and don't live long, these fish usually don't have mercury, PCBs and other chemicals in their bodies. And they are full of omega-3 fatty acids your body needs to function properly. Some packaged anchovies contain a lot of salt, so check the label, especially if you want to watch your sodium. Look for pickled white anchovies - "boquerones" in Spanish cuisine - for a less salty version.

Best: Canned Tuna

This healthy fish provides you with protein and contains omega-3. But tuna grow larger than fish like sardines and anchovies, so they tend to have more mercury and other chemicals in their flesh. For lower mercury levels, look for the "lighter" variety. If you like albacore, look for products from the United States or Canada. If you are watching your calories and fat, buy tuna that is saturated in water rather than oil. 

The best: oysters

You'll get protein and zinc, but it's better to cook oysters instead of eating them raw. This will help prevent food poisoning caused by bacteria such as vibrio. This bacteria is most common in the summer months, but it can appear at any time. Hepatitis A can also pose a riskwith shellfish. Your oysters may look good, but you won't know if their appearance and smell caused them. Lemon juice, hot sauce, or wine will not kill vibrio. Only good cooking can do this.
Best: Baked Catfish
They may not be the prettiest fish to look at, but US fish have a lot going for them. They are low in mercury, eco-friendly, nutritious and easy to find in grocery stores. You may want to check the source, as some countries do not have strict laws against fishing. Fried fish is a favorite for many people, but frying adds a lot of calories and fat. 


Best: Grilled sardines
There are usually canned, but you can sometimes find fresh ones in the market, which are deep fried. They have more omega-3 and less mercury, because they are small and short. In addition, there are actually a lot of these fish in the sea, and they are not cheap. As with tuna, you can marinate them in water instead of oil. 

Best: Ceviche

Made with fresh fish, lime juice and often potatoes and onions, it is a traditional Latin American dish. The acid in lime juice can appear to "cook" because the flesh changes color. A week in the freezer at -4 F usually kilals germs that can make you sick. But the size and type of fish also makes a difference, so let the chef prepare your ceviche.

Have sparingly: sushi

It can be good for you, with solid protein, omega-3s and low fat, sugar and calories. But there are some drawbacks. Weed fish require professional management. Bacteria and viruses don't go away, but a good chef knows how to protect you. And the mercury found in common sushi fish such as halibut and bluefin tuna can start to build up if you eat too much of it.

If you are cooking

When you're in the market, seafood doesn't have to smell like fish. And if you can see the eyes of the fish, they should be clean. If bones are a problem, you can buy fillets. Experts recommend cooking fish until it breaks apart easily on a fork. You can cook it in many ways: roast, baking, grilling, or poaching, to name a few. There are many recipes to try, so cast your net wide!


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