Is Fish Good or Bad for Me?

I’ve been at the beach this month eating lots of delicious seafood and fish, enjoying the variety and choices that I don’t get in Colorado. Sea bass with a fresh tomato sauce. An oyster roast on the beach. Peel and eat shrimp for happy hour. Wreck fish cioppino. Grilled halibut with a mango and pineapple chutney.

Nederlands: Plateau van zeevruchten

Nederlands: Plateau van zeevruchten (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m thinking this allergic foodie is eating pretty healthy.

But am I?

An hour on the Web tells me I may not be. One report says fatty, cold water fish (salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, lake trout, and herring) are high in omega-3 fatty acids, making my blood less likely to form the clots that cause heart attacks. That’s a good thing, right?

Well, yes, I might not have a heart attack, but I still might be poisoning my body.  By eating all these fish, I may be consuming contaminants, such as mercury and pollution. According to one report I read from the trusted Mayo Clinic, if I eat a fish with methyl mercury, the toxic could stay in my body for up to a year!

Now that doesn’t sound good.

When I was pregnant with my two sons, I avoided fish that was known to have high mercury levels (tile fish, swordfish, king mackerel, shark, shrimp, canned tuna and cat fish).  But I’ve often wondered if these fish could potentially harm the baby I was carrying, couldn’t they potentially harm me as well–especially since I don’t have the best immune system and have experienced lovely leaky gut?

The other issue that concerns me is farm-raised fish being fed soy and corn–I’m allergic to both! Of course, I always try to order wild fish and meats at restaurants, but I can’t help wondering if I’m truly getting what I order.  According to an article in the Science Daily, we’ve maxed out the ocean fisheries and in order to meet the global demand for fish, aquaculture must grow (i.e., more and more fish will be eating soy, corn and grain).  With demand high and product low, could restaurants sometimes substitute wild fish for farm fish?  Could I be secondhand eating the very foods I diligently avoid?

I happen to really like salmon, and I used to even order farm-raised when there wasn’t wild on the menu. That is until I started reading about the polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) found in salmon.  PCBs can raise the risk of cancer.  In 2003, the Environmental Working Group studied farm-raised salmon and found that it is the most PCB contaminated source of protein in the United States.

With celiac disease and food allergies, I’ve already eliminated gluten, dairy, soy, corn and a host of other foods from my diet.  Must I now avoid seafood and fish?

I guess for now, I’ll continue eating only wild fish and in moderation.

But tonight I’m having pizza.

3 thoughts on “Is Fish Good or Bad for Me?

  1. celiacandallergyadventures says:

    I was wondering about this the other day … does what an animal or fish eats affect a person if they have an allergy to that product? I think you’re right – the key to everything is moderation! By the way, whereabouts in CO do you live? I love it there!


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