All About Fish

Get the Dish on Fish

by Jillian Michaels

Over the past few years, there has been a lot of back and forth about making fish a part of your regular diet. The big debate has been whether the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids outweigh the dangers of the mercury levels that are being detected in various species from waters around the world. What's the verdict? Fish is still a good catch!

The FDA and EPA maintain that their 2004 consumer advisory, "What You Need to Know About Mercury in Fish and Shellfish," remains current. According to the report, fish and shellfish are an important part of a healthy diet and can contribute to heart health as well as to children's proper growth and development.

It is suggested that adults eat up to 12 ounces (two average meals) a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury. Good options include:

Canned light tuna

Additionally, albacore tuna -- also known as white tuna -- contains more mercury than "light" tuna, so it is suggested that you limit yourself to about six ounces of albacore tuna each week, as opposed to 12 ounces of the fish that are lower in mercury. (Children should be served smaller portions of fish in general.)

Are there any fish you should steer clear of? Yes, actually. The FDA currently recommends that you do not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish because they contain dangerously high traces of mercury. You should also be aware of advisories about the safety of fish caught in your local lakes, rivers, and coastal areas. For more information, visit

Finally, don't lose sight of the fact that fish is an excellent source of protein and healthful omega-3 fatty acids. When preparing fish, stick to grilling and baking. Avoid frying fish or adding creamy or buttery sauces. With all the great benefits of eating fish, there's no sense in drowning it in fat!


Sources of Omega-3s

Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in flaxseed, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds. Like monounsaturated fats, omega-3 fats improve heart health by helping keep cholesterol levels low, and can aid in stabilizing an irregular heartbeat and reducing blood pressure. It also acts as a natural blood thinner to reduce the risk of blood clots and strokes. As if that wasn't enough, your brain -- which is 60 percent fat -- needs omega-3 to function properly. So eat it up, people! -- Jillian Michaels

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