Wednesday, February 29, 2012
A Fishy Affair
I was never a big fish person. As a kid, I loved shellfish but despite having a boat-owning grandfather with a passion for fishing, I never had a taste for it. Until recently, that is, when I discovered wild Alaskan salmon. And then my love affair began. Pan seared, oil poached, grilled - now I can't seem to get enough. The best part is that my new addiction also happens to be good for me.
Fatty fish, such as wild salmon, are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids. According to the American Heart Association, Omega-3s may help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering triglyceride levels, slowing the growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque, and lowering blood pressure. Even beyond that, new studies have indicated that bioactive peptides in salmon may help reduce digestive inflammation, stabilize insulin levels, and decrease joint and cartilage inflammation. Salmon is also a great source of vitamin B12, potassium, and selenium.
Keep in mind, however, that we are talking about wild caught salmon. Farmed salmon poses health risks - from the chemicals and contaminants involved in the farming process itself to the parasites that are present in the pens. For a detailed report on the sustainability risks of farmed salmon, visit Seafood Watch. Additionally, farmed salmon has less protein, more fat, and fewer omega-3s than wild salmon so the nutritional profile is not nearly as positive.
Unfortunately for moms, many of us have believed that reducing fish consumption during pregnancy is important to avoid mercury intake, which is in part true. However, the omega-3s in fish are also vitally important for the development of a baby's brain and nervous system, according to Dr. Andrew Weil. In fact, Dr. Weil cites an important study showing a correlation between low fish consumption during pregnancy and lower IQ among children. While decreased IQ is also associated with high levels of mercury in pregnancy, the drop off is more significant for those avoiding fish than for those eating it. The solution? Consume low-mercury, sustainable fish including wild salmon and freshwater trout and avoid swordfish, marlin, shark and bluefish which are all high in mercury. For a detailed list from the Natural Resources Defense Council, click here.
For me, I'm all about the salmon. Oh sure, there are plenty of fish in the sea but I'm still fawning over salmon and our fishy affair. I am partial to Vital Choice as well, not only as a supporter of the Holistic Moms Network but because their salmon is among the most delicious I have had. If ever I had a positive obsession, this would be it!
Posted by Mama at Wednesday, February 29, 2012