Having sushi tonight? Before you order, read this fish guide listing 5 best fish to eat. Esther Crain, in this post from Women’s Health, has put together a list of 5 most contaminated fish that you’re better off without and 5 better alternatives for your seafood platter:
From a nutritional standpoint, seafood is a pretty safe bet: It’s packed with protein and good-for-you monounsaturated fats. Unfortunately, though, some types of also contain mercury, which can affect a fetus or child’s neurological development, says Mira Ilic, R.D., a nutritionist at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Since the contaminant stays in your body for more than a year, it’s crucial that you avoid ingesting it even if there’s just a chance you could become a mom soon. All fish contain some mercury, but here are five types you should definitely steer clear of (along with five better alternatives).
Don’t Eat: Shark
Because this fish is at the top of the food chain, it consumes other fish to survive—and oftentimes, those other fish have already been contaminated with mercury, which means sharks’ levels veer into dangerously high territory.
Eat: Wild Pacific Salmon
A four-ounce serving scores high when it comes to vitamin D, vitamin B12, selenium, omega-3 fatty acids, and flavor. All salmon sport a stellar nutritional profile, but wild Pacific salmon are considered healthier than the farmed variety. Per the EPA, you should stick to no more than 12 ounces per week if you’re of childbearing age or are pregnant since all fish contain at least trace amounts of mercury (this goes for all of the fish recommended in this slideshow).
Don’t Eat: Swordfish
Don’t Eat: King Mackerel
Don’t Eat: Tilefish
Eat: Farmed Rainbow Trout
Lake trout have a higher risk of being contaminated, but the farmed variety get a “best choice” rating from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch, a consumer watch group. Trout also packs lots of omega-3s and protein.
Don’t Eat: Albacore Tuna or Tuna Steaks
The rules regarding tuna are tricky: Albacore tuna racks up a medium level of mercury. So if you’re going to have it, the EPA advises limiting yourself to no more than one six-ounce serving per week. Same goes for tuna steak, which is also considered medium-level on the mercury scale.