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Best fish with the most omegas and least Hg
January 14, 2009 6:47 AM   Subscribe

What is the tastiest seafood with the most omegas and the least mercury?

I try to eat well, but always feel sort of lost in the fish department because I don’t know what to eat.

I want to find a fish (or seafood like shrimp, mussels, etc) that is easy to bake (can just be breaded and baked, for ex) and tasty, plus high in protein and omegas, but which has a low level of mercury and is safe to eat.

Is there a resource, for example, that charts mercury levels against omega content?

I live in the Netherlands, so this might limit some choices – and I rarely have time to go to the fresh fish market… so most of my food is bought in the supermarkets.

(Bachelor-friendly) recipes appreciated!
posted by mateuslee to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
Sardines, if I'm not mistaken. Cheap! Tasty! Loads of Omega-3s! Not sure if you can bread or bake them though. But man, are they bachelor friendly.
posted by the dief at 7:02 AM on January 14, 2009


The general rule of thumb is that the bigger the fish, the more mercury it could contain. It's been alive longer, and has eaten way more stuff that can contain mercury.
posted by gjc at 7:08 AM on January 14, 2009


This looks like a good link, which appeared in this askme a few days ago.
posted by rtha at 7:15 AM on January 14, 2009


Here's a helpful chart showing both mercury content and omega-3 fatty acid content. Looks like all the shellfish are pretty good, and salmon is excellent. Most shellfish can be breaded as well. I've never seen anyone bread salmon, but it's easily pan-fried. (Don't overcook it--I like to go for "still just a little translucent in the center" when cooking salmon.) I don't know whether salmon is widely available where you are, though.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:18 AM on January 14, 2009


And stay away from freshwater fish if you are concerned about mercury. But really, unless you're nursing or pregnant there is really no need to worry about it.

So salmon and cod and all it's brethren. Eat it all. As for ease of preparation. Most fresh salmon you get in the supermarket is cultivated and parasite free so go ahead and eat it raw. Doesn't get much easier than that.
posted by uandt at 7:19 AM on January 14, 2009


Looks like herring kicks everyone's ass, both in terms of Omega 3s and low mercury. Go herring!
posted by electroboy at 7:32 AM on January 14, 2009


The Environmental Defense Fund has a huge website about choosing sustainably harvested fish. If you click the link on the left for "Seafood Pocket Guide" it has a handy printable chart of which fish are best to eat from a "don't support overfishing" standpoint, but this chart also marks selections that are particularly high in Omega-3s and low in contaminants like mercury. It's formatted so you can print it and keep it in your wallet, which is fantastic. I don't know about you, but no matter how much research I do into this subject, I always forget which fish are good and which ones aren't by the time I get to the fish counter.
posted by vytae at 7:44 AM on January 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


Most fresh salmon you get in the supermarket is cultivated and parasite free so go ahead and eat it raw

Yeah, don't do that. Unless 9-foot tapeworms are your thing.

The only raw fish you should be eating is from a trusted fishmonger and labeled sushi-grade, or sashimi grade.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:48 AM on January 14, 2009


The only raw fish you should be eating is from a trusted fishmonger and labeled sushi-grade, or sashimi grade.

Of course, there are no official standards that define "sushi-grade" fish, so YMMV.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:15 AM on January 14, 2009


Re: sardines, if you don't happen to like your standard gloppy and soft cheap sardines in a tin, then spring a little extra for the "brisling" sardines. They're a completely different small fish culinary experience.

Similarly, canned sockeye ("red") salmon is excellent for sandwiches or just forking out onto crackers, hugely better than pink or other canned salmon, though more expensive.

In both the above cases you really do get what you pay for.
posted by Rumple at 9:15 AM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mildly off topic, but hemp oil has a significant amount of omega oil which makes it very good for you. It tastes very nice on salads.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 9:49 AM on January 14, 2009


Seconding herring. Pickled herring is delicious, and if you can get other kinds of herring (ask your seafood seller or check Asian markets for frozen) it's cheap and fun to experiment with; delicious fried crispy and breaded, smoked kippers, etc. The tinned stuff is good too. It's also boneless when you get it pickled or tinned or whatever, which is a nice plus.
posted by The otter lady at 11:17 AM on January 14, 2009


there are no official standards that define "sushi-grade" fish

Yes but a good fishmonger would have made sure the fish was properly frozen and very recently defrosted.
posted by CunningLinguist at 12:39 PM on January 14, 2009


To my knowledge there are there are zero cases of of parasite infections from cultivated salmon in Europe. The fish live in some of the cleanest waters in the world and are given heat treated fodder laced with antibiotics and Astaxanthin that makes the salmon flesh pink and pretty. Not natural at all but it is parasite free.

My fishmonger tells me to eat cultivated Norwegian salmon just as it is. I do. No tapeworms yet. If i did get them I really don't see the big deal. You'd get skinny and have a great, gross story to tell people.
posted by uandt at 2:22 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Seconding herring. Pickled herring is delicious, and if you can get other kinds of herring (ask your seafood seller or check Asian markets for frozen) it's cheap and fun to experiment with; delicious fried crispy and breaded, smoked kippers, etc. The tinned stuff is good too. It's also boneless when you get it pickled or tinned or whatever, which is a nice plus.

This is all piker stuff compared to proper Dutch herring from a street stall.
posted by atrazine at 2:43 PM on January 14, 2009


My partner's a chef and I asked him, and he said farm raised salmon would probably be the best seafood to eat that is high in omega 3s and very low in mercury content. Farm raised is essential rather than wild because there wouldn't be mercury in farm raised.
posted by DorothySmith at 10:52 PM on January 14, 2009


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