You already know that if you’re eating for a healthy, organic, and green lifestyle, there are many things you might be doing, such as shopping at Farmer’s Markets, choosing organic brands, or cutting out packaged or unhealthy foods. One of the tips for healthy eating that comes up time and again is the advice to cut red meat in favor of lean chicken or fish. Yet, there’s also some conflicting advice on including fish in your healthy diet because of mercury, farm-raised fish practices, or overfishing. Here’s how to choose fish that is healthy for you to eat and good for the environment.
1. Choose fish that is low in mercury and raised or caught with the environment in mind. Some good picks include catfish, tilapia, and trout, which are all low in mercury and raised on environmentally responsible farms. Crabs, mussels, and scallops are also healthy and safe choices.
2. Avoid fish that is high in mercury or raised in environmentally unfriendly conditions. Chilean sea bass and orange roughy are overfished, as is Bluefin tuna, wich is also high in mercury. Shrimp and salmon, if farmed, are usually raised in unhealthy farming conditions.
3. Learn more about the fish you choose to eat or that is available in your area. There are many online resources that compile information about safe fish and can guide you to better choices for both your health, and the planet’s health. Try the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch pocket guide, the Blue Ocean Institute, or the Marine Stewardship Council to start.
4. Be careful about trusting labels or information on packaging, or what it says about the fish on restaurant menu. Fish labeled “wild” may not be, and some restaurant fish dishes are so full of grease or fried coating, it’s hard to tell what it is! One label you can trust is the Marine Stewardship Council’s “Certified Sustainable Seafood” label.
5. Catch it yourself. Of course, there’s nothing better than catching that big one and bringing it home to eat for dinner that night. It’s the ultimate in fresh food! make sure you fish in approved areas, have a fishing license if necessary, and check on the types of fish available for catching where you plan to fish.