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Fresh Fish Guide


You can get high-quality protein and healthy omega-3 fatty acids found in fish--but not the high quantities of mercury, dioxins, and PCBs--by shopping smart.

According to the Environmental Working Group, which analyzed the mercury content of popular fish for its 2001 report "Brain Food," the following fish are low enough in the toxic metal for even pregnant women to enjoy them on a regular basis:


Croaker

Farmed catfish

Farmed trout

Fish sticks

Haddock

Mid-Atlantic blue crab

Shrimp

Summer flounder

Wild Pacific salmon

About 12 oz a week should be safe for pregnant women, says Caroline Smith DeWaal, of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics' Committee on Environmental Health, kids can also eat up to 12 oz total of such lower-mercury fish weekly.

Ocean fish are less likely to contain high dioxin and PCB levels than freshwater fish, since ocean waters tend to be cleaner. Lower-fat seafood tends to contain lower levels of dioxins and PCBs than fatty fish (though it's also lower in omega-3s).

Before cooking fish, remove the skin, fat, internal organs, tomalley (from lobster), and the mustard of crabs, all places where toxins are likely to accumulate. Avoid frying fish; it seals in chemical pollutants. Grilling and broiling allow toxins to drain away.



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