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Which Fish Is the Best Fish?

In a world full of pollution and environmental disasters such as the Fukushima nuclear collapse, many consumers may be confused as to what types of fish or seafood they should eat. Generally speaking, people understand that fish should be part of a healthy diet — but what’s the best choice? The Cornucopia Institute has offered up some ideas on selecting the safest and best fish for your platter.

The hints offered are helpful, especially since so many people are still making unhealthy purchasing choices. The good news is that Americans have increased their seafood consumption, but we need to do better — and that’s where good choices are important.

For example, cold-water fatty fish is a great source of vitally important fats — both saturated and omega-3s — but the benefits of eating fish can easily be negated by selecting varieties that tend to be highly contaminated with mercury. Plainly stated, the healthiest and least risky in terms of contamination are wild-caught Alaskan salmon, sockeye salmon and smaller fish like anchovies, sardines, mackerel and herring.

When you look at seafood such as shrimp, you need to choose carefully, and buy only guaranteed Gulf-caught shrimp rather than “regular” shrimp which are raised in farms in Southeast Asia.

As a general rule, the closer to the bottom of the food chain the fish is, the less contamination it will have accumulated, like the sardines, anchovies, mackerel and herring already mentioned. Like salmon, all of these are also high in healthy fats and omega-3s. To avoid being defrauded when buying seafood, your best bet is to buy your fish from a trusted local fish monger, or look for third party labels in grocery versions that verify quality, such as the Marine Stewardship Council.
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