Mercury levels in some fish could counter health benefits - - The News for South Mississippi

Mercury levels in some fish could counter health benefits

The health benefits of eating fish are tremendous. A lot of fish are chock-full of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are all good for the heart. But you need to be aware of the mercury in fish; some species more than others. Being aware will help you make smarter choices.

Jackie Kaminer loves serving fish to her family. She knows it's full of nutrients, but she's careful not to serve too much.

"I'm concerned about the mercury levels in the fish and what that can do to your body," Kaminer said.

Mercury is a toxin that effects the nervous system in young children. Mostly caused by industrial pollution, mercury contaminates water systems when it rains. As fish feed on one another, mercury stores up in their bodies. And the larger the fish, like swordfish and shark, the more mercury.

"As the fish grows older, it can't eliminate it as fast as it takes it in, so there's an accumulation of mercury in the fish," said Andrew Heyes with the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory.

Heyes and Cindy Gilmour have been working with mercury in the environment for more than 20 years. They say it's important to limit how much you eat.

"If you like tuna, eat the inexpensive light tuna in cans instead of the albacore or big sushi tuna," Gilmour said.

The federal government advises pregnant women, nursing mothers, women of childbearing age and young children, to avoid fish high in mercury. They should also keep their consumption of low mercury fish, like canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish, to 12 ounces a week.

Tilapia is also on the lowest mercury level list. More seafood with lower mercury levels, most shellfish like shrimp, oysters and crawfish. Click here to see what the mercury level is in your favorite seafood.

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