Nutrition Close-Up: Fight Aging with Fish

When I go out to dinner with my daughters,  wherever we go,  they always order the same thing– salad and salmon.  I, on the other hand, see the words PORK CHOP and I’m in.  They like  salmon because  its lower in calories and cholesterol  and roll their eyes at my choice.  And there is  so much evidence that they are on the right track.  No only  is fish so  much lower in calories than my beloved  pork chop,  its omega3 fatty acids  have been liked to  lower rates of heart disease,  better blood pressure and  even  less depression. In addition,  The NHANES study  that compared  dietary habits  with a wide range of health factors  found that people who ate more fish had fewer wrinkles.  This makes very good  sense.    Research has shown that the omega 3  oils in fish reduce inflammatory compounds called cytokines.  Not only do these evil doers increase risk of disease, they destroy collagen which is  so necessary for smooth firm skin.   All good news, but I am still  a little concerned about  mercury levels in fish– and I am not  the only one who’s worried.

Mercury is used in the manufacture of a wide range of products including  thermometers, and thermostats.   During manufacturing, mercury is released into the air and  settles in waterways and oceans where it accumulates in the fish we  will later  eat. Mercury is absorbed by little fish which are eaten by bigger and bigger fish.  Thus the largest of the fish like sharks and swordfish,  have the highest levels of mercury.  Higher levels of mercury in adults are linked  to high blood pressure,  memory loss and  in some cases  heart disease.   Prenatal  exposure  is even worse and is linked to  deafness,cerebral palsy and developmental delays.  Not good  news.

So  should we  eat or avoid fish?  The current consensus is that we should  have two weekly servings of  fish which are low in mercury .    The healthiest fish with  low levels of mercury  include wild salmon, clams, flounder, scallops shrimp and flounder.  The fish highest in mercury also include  orange roughy, tuna and grouper.  Lobster, canned tuna, monkfish  and striped bass  have moderate mercury levels.    THe NRDC ( Natural Resources Defense Council)  have a wonderful  chart  on  mercury levels in fish that you can download and  keep in your purse when shopping for dinner.    This chart also includes a sobering table on how much tuna  you can safely eat.  For example  at 120 pounds  you can eat tuna  about 3x a month.  Since I was  eating  tuna on whole wheat  at least twice a week, this was sobering info.    For a child, at around 50 pounds,  the NRDC recommends eating   tuna no more than once a month.

I’m ready to  eat my two weekly servings of  low mercury wrinkle-busting fish– and this time without gobs of butter or tarter sauce.  The truth is, I don’t  really know  how  to cook it properly. Anyone have some easy, low fat fish recipes?

3 thoughts on “Nutrition Close-Up: Fight Aging with Fish

  1. Super easy salmon recipe…I make it about 3 times per week.

    Place filet of salmon (approx 4 oz) in small microwave safe container. Squeeze one teaspoon of lemon juice over the salmon and season with freshly cracked pepper.

    Cover and place in microwave, cook on high for about 2 minutes.

    I also sometimes add frozen vegetables and bring to work. I then reheat for about a minute which cooks the vegetables and re-heats the salmon.

    This is a delicious and healthy.

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