Nutrition information always seems to be confusing and contradictory. This is particularly true when it comes to fish and seafood. Its got good fats, its a great source of protein. But wait, its full of toxins! Some are good some are bad...but which is which? Some are good for us but bad for the environment...some are bad for us and bad for the environment...ahhh!
To clear up the confusion, the April 2015 Nutrition Action Healthletter provides a guide on your best options for popular varieties.
Tilapia - Go with Canadian, US and Ecuadorian varieties farmed in ponds. It only has modest omega-3 content, but its low in mercury and fed a vegetarian diet.
Farmed salmon - Avoid any that is farmed in open net pens (most are). Is high in omega-3s and low in mercury, one study has found that there has been a drop in PCB and dioxin levels in farmed salmon since the brouhaha broke in 2004 but the study was done in Norway.
Trout - Stick with trout farmed in Canada and the U.S. in land-based flow-through systems. Trout is high in omega-3s and low in mercury and may have lower levels of PCBs and dioxins than farmed salmon because they are fed less fish meal and fish oil.
Canned tuna - Stick with troll/pole-caught albacore from B.C. or U.S. yellowfin. Tuna has modest omega-3s but can be high in mercury so intake should be limited.
Shrimp - Choose trap-caught shrimp from B.C. or Nova Scotia, or U.S. inland farmed pacific white shrimp. Has modest omega-3s and is low in mercury.
Catfish - Go for farmed catfish from the U.S. This fish has modest omega-3s but is low in mercury and fed a vegetarian diet.
Wild salmon - Best choice is salmon from Alaska. It is high in omega-3s and low in mercury.
Now these choices, which are best for people and for the environment, are also going to be the most expensive choices. So what can you do if you can't always afford the 'best' choice, or it isn't available? When it comes to health, experts say the benefits of eating fish and seafood outweigh the risks. So eat up!