Fish is a wonderful option to add to your diet. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish up to 2 times a week as part of a healthy diet. While fish is a great source of protein and vital nutrients, some fish are better choices than others. More specifically, fatty types of fish are particularly good sources of vitamin D as well as omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for your body and brain to function optimally. They’re also strongly linked to a reduced risk of many diseases. Numerous studies prove that people who eat fish regularly seem to have a lower risk of heart attacks, strokes, and death from heart disease.

Mercury in Fish and Shellfish

It’s important to pay attention to where fish is sourced because there are some health risks. A few types of fish contain elevated levels of heavy metals such as mercury, which may be toxic to the nervous, digestive, and immune systems. Fish that contain higher levels of mercury include shark, ray, swordfish, marlin, king mackerel, tilefish, orange roughy, ling, and southern bluefin tuna. However, the fish that mainstream restaurants and grocery stores offer is often not a threat. Fish that are safe and contain lower levels of mercury include salmon, sardines, herring, trout, canned light tuna, pollock, catfish, and shellfish such as prawns, lobsters, and oysters.

Allergies to Shellfish

Some individuals may have a severe allergy to shellfish, which can result in serious symptoms. Shellfish allergy symptoms include hives, swelling of the lips, tingling in the throat and mouth, itchy skin and rash, runny nose, tightening of the throat, or digestive symptoms /€“ cramps, stomach pain, nausea or vomiting.

Shellfish allergy tends to be severe, and for some, even cause anaphylaxis, which could be life-threatening. There are two types of shellfish, and people may respond to one, the other, or both.

Crustaceans include crabs, lobster, crayfish, shrimp, and prawn.
Mollusks include squid, snails, clams, oysters, and scallops.

While the root cause for allergies may be unknown, they do tend to be more likely if someone in your family also has them. Adults or children may be susceptible to develop allergies, but shellfish allergy is more common among adults.

Tørris C, Småstuen MC, Molin M. Nutrients in Fish and Possible Associations with Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors in Metabolic Syndrome. Nutrients. 2018 Jul 23;10(7):952. doi: 10.3390/nu10070952. PMID: 30041496; PMCID: PMC6073188.

Ruethers T, Taki AC, Johnston EB, Nugraha R, Le TTK, Kalic T, McLean TR, Kamath SD, Lopata AL. Seafood allergy: A comprehensive review of fish and shellfish allergens. Mol Immunol. 2018 Aug;100:28-57. doi: 10.1016/j.molimm.2018.04.008. Epub 2018 May 30. PMID: 29858102.

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