10 Fish You Should Never Eat + Safer Options for You

We all know fish are healthy foods, but some types actually do more harm than good. Some can be a cause of inflammation and they can be toxic as well. Just like every food out there, we should be wise in choosing the fish we eat.

One of the reasons why fish are good for us is because they are a wonderful source of omega-3 fatty acids. Unfortunately, there are some issues, such as heavy metals in the water and accumulating in the fish and fossil fuel emissions. Most people aren’t aware that contaminated fish are a serious problem that can cause devastating effects to our health. Here are the types of fish you should avoid:

1. Shark

This big fish is at the top of the food chain and therefore preys on other fish (usually with mercury) to survive. The mercury level of sharks is definitely higher.

2. Swordfish

A tropical fish that is also a predator, swordfish has high mercury levels.

3. King Mackerel

This fish also has dangerous levels of mercury.

4. Tilefish

There are many types of tilefish, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns small children and women to stay away from all varieties because of risk of mercury poisoning.

5. Tuna

There are many tuna varieties and most of them are high in mercury. But the highest are Bluefin and albacore.

6. Imported Catfish

These fish may be contaminated with banned antibiotics.

7. Atlantic Cod

Not only is this fish vulnerable to extinction, but it is also moderately high in mercury.

8. Caviar

This expensive fish eggs come from beluga sturgeon, which is in danger due to overfishing. If you really can’t give up caviar, go for one that comes from blue sturgeon or American Lake sturgeon.

9. Farmed Eel

This eel is high in mercury and contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Plus, they grew up in farms that have problems like pollution.

10. Imported Shrimp

Shrimp is considered the dirtiest seafood and imported shrimp is generally contaminated with chemical residues, antibiotics, and even some insects.

Instead of those listed above, here are the fish you should add to your diet:

  • Domestic catfish or Asian carp which are both responsibly farmed and are still plentiful
  • Farmed rainbow trout with lots of protein and omega-3s
  • Anchovies with iron and omega-3s
  • Sardines which are inexpensive and with tons of nutrients such as vitamin D

Before you eat fish, it helps if you choose ones from sustainable fisheries. They have lower contaminants, high in omega-3s, and you can help preserve their population.