The word has been out for quite some time—fish is a heart-healthy food. Fish is a lean, low-calorie source of protein. The cold-water varieties are especially rich in omega-3, an essential fatty acid which not only improves heart health, but also protects against dementia and safeguards the cell membranes throughout the body from premature aging.
The American Heart Association recommends that you and I include fish in our diets to the tune of twice a week. So, come on people—let’s eat some more fish, shall we? Not so fast. Not all the fish that is sold today is wholly good for you.
The heightened demand in the marketplace for fish from health-conscious consumers has given rise to industrialized “fish farming”. Why should fisherman go through all the trouble of setting sail into the open waters to spread their nets, when fish can be raised in tanks and scooped up with ease when they reach a marketable size? It seems like a win-win situation. Fisheries get to cut their costs which is then reflected in the market sales price.
If it sounds too good to be true—or smells a bit fishy–it is. When fish are raised in high quantities, in tight living quarters, some not-so-desirable things occur. First, in order to keep the fish healthy (disease spreads in close confinement), the fish must be treated with large dosages of antibiotics. When you eat the fish, you, too, partake in some of the chemical components of these medications. Secondly, fish waste products are in a much higher than normal concentration in these tanks than in the wild, and often becomes ingested by the fish, filling them with unwanted toxins—which, yes, again, gets passed on to you, the eater. These farm raised fish are not sounding so health-full right about now, huh?
Given this information, I recommend that eat as clean as you can. Boycott farm raised fish in lieu of “wild caught” offerings. Hands down, even frozen wild caught fish is a better option for you than fresh, farm raised fish.