From The Giant Eagle Health Library
Seafood can be an important part of a balanced diet. It is a good source of high quality protein and other nutrients, and is low in fat. Many types of fish are also high in long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. These are essential nutrients that help reduce the risk for heart attack, stroke, and mental decline. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish can help lower your blood pressure and heart rate and decrease your risk for heart disease. Fish is a good source of proteins for pregnancy. The American Heart Association recommends that Americans eat fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids twice a week.
However, some fish and shellfish contain high levels of a form of mercury called methylmercury that may harm an unborn baby's or young child's developing nervous system. Methylmercury occurs naturally in the environment and can also be released through industrial pollution.
The potential health risks from contaminated seafood depend on the mercury level in the particular seafood and the amount of seafood eaten. Other risk factors are age, weight, and gender. You should watch the kind and amount of fish you and your family eat, especially for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and young children.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the EPA recommend the following:
To get the most from fish and reduce your exposure to contaminants, follow these recommendations: