According to the American Heart Association we should consume two servings of fish per week. However, it is highly important to educate yourself about the possibility of contamination because both farmed and wild fish may contain variety of chemicals and hazardous contaminants.
Wild Fish vs. Farmed Fish
Wild fish are less contaminated than the farmed-raised fish, but unfortunately, both types may cause serious health problems.
Here is a list of chemicals that have been detected in wild fish:
These chemicals may affect the function of all systems in your body, especially your kidneys and brain. The most dangerous chemical is Mercury, so if you have been exposed to its toxicity you may experience the following symptoms:
• Walking difficulty
• Tremors and shakes
• Memory problems
• Vision problems
• Pregnancy complications
Fish near the top of the food chain, such as sharks and tuna, are more likely to contain chemicals than the other types of fish.
Contamination of farmed-raised fish
Farmed-raised fish are filled with antibiotics that prevent the spread of diseases. So, when we eat fish, we are actually ingesting these antibiotics.
These are the most common lethal viruses that attack the farmed fish:
• Salmon leukemia virus – affects the salmon’s immune system
• Piscine reovirus – causes heart attack and prevents fish from swimming upriver
• Infectious Salmon Anemia Virus – a highly lethal virus
Unfortunately, these viruses can be transmitted to wild fish as well.
The most popular fish in America are salmon, shrimp and tuna. Due to the mass-consumption and the lack of right knowledge, they can seriously damage our bodies.
Shrimp usually comes from farms that are raised in over-crowded environments, such as India, Vietnam and Indonesia. Here, shrimp are given pellets that contain antibiotics, while the ponds contain chemicals and fecal matter. This fish can also contain pathogens like E. coli and Salmonella, along with contaminants like rat and mouth hair.
A 2009 study has shown that shrimp contains 4-hexylresorcinol – a preservative that is supposed to induce discoloration. It increases the risk of breast cancer in women and causes low sperm counts in men.
Scientists have also discovered that shrimp imported from Thailand and India contains nitrofurazone. This drug can cause overgrowth of fungi and breast cancer. It has been also detected that shrimp contains chloramphenicol, an antibiotic that is banned in food production due to its detrimental side effects, such as leukemia and aplastic anemia.
Tuna is a big and long-living fish which may contain higher amounts of mercury. Eating tuna in large amounts can be very harmful since we ingest this chemical. Tuna is also extremely high is sodium. Some brands contain even 350 mg of salt.
Scientists discovered extremely high levels of antibiotics in the Chilean salmon that crossed the borders of the U.S in 2014. These antibiotics were supposed to prevent the spread of diseases that can cause hemorrhaging and lesions.
How to avoid the dangers of contaminated fish
This type of fish is rich in protein and selenium, so it can prevent cardiovascular diseases, thyroid disorders and cancer.
In order to avoid contaminated shrimp, make sure you look for shrimp that is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council. Also, ensure you buy wild North American shrimp. It feels firm and its smell is mild.
Tuna is the richest natural source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Make sure you avoid cans and buy this fish in BPA-free pouches. Albacore and yellowish tuna contain higher amounts of mercury than Skipjack tuna. In order to prevent mercury buildup in your body make sure you eat no more than 6 ounces tuna per week.
Salmon is abundant in polyunsaturated fats and Omega-3 fatty acids. It reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases and helps the development of fetuses. Salmon can provide your body with selenium, vitamin B6, B12, thiamine and niacin.
Make sure you buy Norwegian salmon, because it contains fewer antibiotics. Avoid using cans and always opt for wild Alaskan Salmon since it is less contaminated than the farmed Atlantic salmon.