Everyone loves fish. Fish is tasty, fish is healthy and fish is cheap. You can easily get fish from your local market. But wait! Hold your horses because not all fish is good. Some are so full of toxins that will do more harm than good to your brain. It always good to ask yourself these 7 questions when you are buying fish.
#1 Is this a freshwater or saltwater fish?
Both saltwater and freshwater fish contains omega-3 fatty acids which are essential for good brain development and maintance. There is no clear cut corelation whether freshwater or saltwater fish has higher concentration of omega-3 fatty acids.
Howeverresearcher from University of Quebec have found that consumption of freshwater fish does not increase the level of omega-3 fatty acids in test subject. It’s means that somehow omega-3 fatty acids from freshwater fish are not absorbed by human. “It’s either something in freshwater fish that is blocking the apsorbtion of omega-3 fatty acids or something in saltwater fish that aids the absorption of omega-3 fatty acids” said one of the researcher.
However when their test subject consumer saltwater fishes, they found an increase in level of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood. Which is a good sign that omega-3 fatty acids are absorbed and put to good use by our body.
#2 Is this fish Fresh?
It’s important to be always eating fresh fish because that’s when essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids are at their highest level before being broken down by bacteria. Fish like all animals, will began to rot immediately after being fished out from the water. Ice can definitely slow down the decaying process but fishmongers are well-known to keep stale fish for several days before throwing them away. Furthermore, they would place stale fish among fresh one to trick any unsuspecting buyer into buying their stale fish.
Not only does fresh fish have the highest level of essential nutrients. Fresh fish are also much safer to eat. Stale fish provides the best environment for bacteria like E.coli to propagate rapidly and thetoxin they produced like histamine can have adverse effect on your brain performance. And hence, if you really want maximum brain boost from fish, it’s best to eat only the fresh ones.
Here’s more tips on buying fresh fish.
#3 Is this fish caught in the wild or farmed?
Farmed fish is ridiculously disgusting. Huge amounts of fishes arecramped into small ponds and at risk of a disease breakout. To prevent this, fisheries havedump in tons of antibiotics and pesticides into fish ponds to prevent the fish from getting any disease and make sure the fish continue to live till big enough for sale.
Farmed fish is definitely not recommended. It’s because huge amount of fishes are cramped into tiny pond. And farmers woulddump tons of antibiotics and pesticides to prevent outbreak of diseases and parasites like sea lice, something which are not uncommon in a small and crowded fish tank. Theseantibiotics and pesticides tend to accumulate inside the fish bodies and when consumed, these chemicals would adversely affect you.
Furthermore, tests have shown that farmed fish have three times lesser omega-3 fatty acids than wild-caught fish because they are feed with low quality feed which does not provide them with the necessary resources to manufacture the essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids. Also, these farmed fish are often trapped in relatively hot fish tank which does not provide the cold sea condition that is required for maximum production of omega-3 fatty acids.
Farmed salmon in certain part of Europe are even more terrifying. Farmed salmon usually lose their natural pink due to lack of carotenoid which most wild salmon get from eating pink krills. And farmers has since thenadded in synthetic dyes into salmon feed so they can retain their appetizing pink hue and remain marketable. Worst still, these synthetic dyes are known to cause eyes damages. So much so for profits.
#4 How is the Fish Caught?
This is important. catching fish with rod is the best because the fishermen were able to examine the fish and if the fish is diseased/dead, they would tend be dump back into the sea. As diseased/dead fish would contaminate their fish stock.
It’s best not to eat fish caught by trawling which is a process where a ship would drag a huge net underwater. Trawling usually last for a few days and would capture anything in their path, diseased or not, dead or alive. Given that fisheries only haul up their net after several days. Diseased/dead fish caught in the net would have sufficient time to contaminate the remaining healthy fishes. Although diseases or dead fish are separate once hauled aboard, the healthy fish has already spent considerable amount of time with dead/diseased fish and have definitely accumulate sufficient amount of toxins from these diseased or dead fish.
Lastly, the worst method of catching fish is usage of chemicals. In third world countries where regulations are lax. Fisherman is known to have use explosive and even pesticides or blood agent like cyanide to poison the fish for an easy haul. Worse still, these toxic chemicals would then accumulate in these fishes and wreck havoc on your brain if consumed.
#5 Where are these fishes imported from
It’s best to avoid fish imported from third world countries like Thailand, Vietnam and China. It’s because regulation in these countries is still lax and many fisherman have usedharmful chemicals to maximise their profits. Some of the chemicals used include antibiotics, growth hormones, toxic feed and even pesticides.
Fish tend to accumulate these toxin in the most fatty part of their bodies especially under the skins and dark coloured regions. It’s unfortunate because these fatty areas of the fish contains the most essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids.
It’s best to buy fish farmed or caught in US because US have a strict regulation on fish industries.
#6 – Are those fish Mackerel, Sharks, Swordfish or Tilefish?
According toUniversity of Michigan Integrative Medicine, it’s best to avoid earting Mackerel, Sharks, Swordfish and Tilefish because these 4 fishes have the highest level of mercury.
And mercury can harm brain development in children and accelerate degenerative brain diseases like Parkinson’s Disease.
The reason why these 4 fishes have such high level of mercury it’s because they are located at the top of the food chain. And mercury is persistent and bioaccumulative which means that mercury is very hard to be removed from the environment and tend to accumulate in living things. Trace amount of mercury absorbed by small fish at the bottom of the food chain is progressively accumulated along the food chain and mercury concentration will reach it’s peak at the top of the food chain. And eating these 4 fishes will definitely not be good for your brain.