Fish is a great power food usually low in fat, high in protein and provides a great source for omega-3 fatty acids, which is why so many people are drawn to eating it! Unfortunately, because fossil fuel emissions and heavy metals like mercury are winding up in the water, these toxins are found increasingly in many of the fish we consume.
We already know that even low-level mercury poisoning from contaminated seafood is a large threat to developing fetus’, but we are now learning that mercury is leading to devastating effects in adults including heart attacks and hypertension!
Below is a list of the fish species you should NEVER eat:
Did you know that in some regards, eating tilapia is worse than eating bacon? Wake Forest University School of Medicine researchers claim that tilapia is the most widely consumed fish in America. Many people believe eating fish, no matter what type, is beneficial to your health. However, tilapia contains extremely low levels of omega-3 fatty acids and very high levels of the bad, omega-6 fatty acids. The low omega-3/high omega-6 ratio has been proven dangerous to people who have a vulnerable inflammatory response such as those with heart disease, arthritis, asthma and autoimmune disease symptoms.
2. Chilean Seabass
Actually named the Patagonia toothfish, seafood companies began marketing this deep-sea fish as “Chilean Seabass” to make it sound less intimidating. It worked! Common on menus around America, Chilean Seabass are known to have elevated amounts of mercury levels. The Environmental Defense Fund claims that fish from Chile is especially damaging, as it accounts for 20% of U.S. imports and is plagued by poor management.
Not only is the eel population diminishing in Asian countries, but also in the U.S. This is a problem, because eels are extremely important when it comes to protecting our water supply. In the Delaware River, eels are a crucial part of spreading mussels, mollusks known as natural water filters, throughout the river. Not only do eels they help purify water by spreading mussels, they also tend to absorb and store contaminants such as endocrine disrupters like PCB’s and flame retardants. In certain states, river eels are so contaminated that a grown man is advised to eat no more than one per year!
4. Farmed Salmon
Americans consume a lot of salmon, and most of it is the unhealthiest kind. Most salmon that is marketed as “Atlantic” salmon is farmed. What does this mean? It means that the fish are raised in conditions that have been proven to be ridden with pesticides, feces, bacteria and parasites. Yuck! A recent study in October 2016 found that omega-3 levels in farmed salmon are rapidly dropping and are HALF of what they were five years ago. University of New York at Albany researchers discovered dioxin levels in farm-raised salmon to be 11 times higher than those of wild salmon. Dioxins are known as a “dirty dozen” chemical that is stored in fat cells and are linked to cancer and immune system dysfunction. Due to many pesticides and organic pollutants, famed salmon is linked to weight gain and an increased risk for type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, new studies are showing that GMO salmon may soon be making its way into salmon farms. This GMO salmon has a hormone that makes it grow more rapidly. There is risk that these salmon could be accidentally introduced into natural environments, and it is unknown what affect this might have on the DNA of the non-farmed salmon population.
5. Imported Basa/Swai/Tra/Striped Catfish
Many times, these fish are just simply labeled as “Catfish”, but what you’re likely getting is a fish called pangasius, a fish that wholesales for just $2 a pound. A 2016 study showed that 70 to 80 percent of pangasius were contaminated by Vibriobacteria- the microbes responsible for most cases of shellfish poisoning. Pangasius are also treated with a broad range of antibiotics, pesticides and disinfectants. The antibiotics used include many that are characterized as highly important for human health according to the World Health Organization. This antibiotic abuse makes it much harder to stop superbugs from infecting humans.
6. Imported Farm Shrimp
There are so many reasons why shrimp has landed itself on this list. In 2009, Italian researchers discovered that 4-hexylresorcinol, a food additive used to prevent discoloration in shrimp, possessed estrogen-like effect which could reduce sperm count in men and increase breast cancer risk in women. All but one of the pesticides used globally in shrimp production are banned for use in U.S. shrimp farms. Only a diluted form of formaldehyde is approved for U.S. shrimp farms, and this chemical is also a potential carcinogen. Additionally, shrimp farm pond waters are often treated with a pesticide that is linked to symptoms related to ADHD, memory loss and tremors. On top of that, shrimp farm ponds are often shocked with organotin compounds to kill mollusks before stocking with shrimp. These hormone-disrupting chemicals mimic estrogen and have been classified as “obesogens”. That means they will disrupt the hormonal system in a way that puts someone at risk for obesity no matter what they eat.
7. Swordfish, King Mackerel and Grouper
I highly recommend avoiding these species all together. All three are known to have large levels of mercury and at the top of the list is Swordfish. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends women and children to avoid it all together, and for men to eat no more than one serving a month. While mackerel are packed with healthy omega-3s, you are making a gamble when eating this fish because it is also loaded with mercury. Finally, grouper should also be avoided for the high levels of mercury found.