One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

Perhaps you are familiar with the popular Dr. Seuss book, "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish." Since Lent is already under way I figured this would be an appropriate time to cover this fish tale. Today we are going to break down when to eat fish, how much to eat, and what kind of fish you should be eating.

When

Think of fish as a substitute to your current source of protein at a meal. As far as the time of day, you probably want to eat fish at lunch or dinner. Depending on what your preference is on personal beliefs, the healthiest incorporation of fish into one's diet is 1-2 times per week. As we've mentioned in previous posts you should always take things in moderation. Fish is no exception to that rule. In fact, taking in any more than 2 times per week is making your body susceptible to increased levels of cholesterol, fat, and even mercury. Mercury, as you probably remember from high school chemistry, is extremely toxic to the human body and cannot be broken down by the human digestive system. Mercury pollution is most common in fish farms that are inland where Coal burning is present. All fish and shellfish hold on to mercury and other heavy metals in their body fairly easily. In turn, the larger the fish is up the food chain, the more exposure that fish is likely to have had with Mercury through the consumption of smaller fish/shellfish. Therefore, it is important not to exceed the standard levels of consumption to ensure your body does not become exposed to toxic levels of Mercury.

How Much

As we just covered in the previous section, it is important not to consume an excess of 2 servings of fish per day. I spoke with a gentleman last week who was eating 3 tilapia fillets at dinner 1-2 times a week and complained of having stomach cramps and headaches. Obviously this person was eating too much fish even though he was still only doing it once to twice a week. Therefore, in accordance with the Heart Healthy Guidelines, it is important to consume no more than 1 serving of fish per meal. If you are wondering how much a serving is, then check the label. If you are wanting to eat tuna out of the can and the label claims there are 2 servings per can, then open the can, take a knife and cut/seperate the meat (while it's still in the can) and then take one serving for yourself and put the other serving(s) in a safe refrigerable container to consume no more than a week later.

What

Finally, the most important aspect of this topic is what kind of fish should you be eating. This depends on many factors. For instance, those who are pregnant or nursing would probably want to eat smaller fish or even shellfish in order to keep the fetus or newborn safe from any elevated levels of Mercury or other heavy metals. Shellfish can include; shrimp, oysters, clams, or mussels just to name a few. Crabs and Lobsters should be treated like fish and it is important for anyone's diet that you prepare them without the common butter sauce for dipping or glazing. Like we covered before, the bigger the fish, the higher the levels of heavy metals. When it comes to the "go-to" fish, the winner is the Tilapia. Mainly because it is so versatile in cooking and doesn't contain the common "fishy taste." Tilapia is also a winner when it comes to the ratio of protein to fats/cholesterols. Tilapia is also on of the most available fishes on the market and is relatively inexpensive. Even though Tuna is deemed the "chicken of the sea," it is Tilapia that contains fewer calories, and more nutrients in an 8 oz. serving than its tightly canned friend. Salmon is another popular fish known for it's abundance of Omega-3's which are a high contributor to heart health. However Salmon also contains higher amounts of fats and cholesterols than Tilapia which can be equally destructive to ones cardiovascular pump. The key, once again, is MODERATION.

In closing, it is important to try new things. My last vacation some friends and I went to an upscale restaurant that offered Barramundi which is an Australian sea bass. To be honest I didn't care too much for the taste, but it turns out that this fish is a super lean, protein packed warrior weighing in with more protein and less fat than any Tuna or Tilapia. Also, it is beneficial for your digestive system to see new foods and keep that metabolism cranked up! So whether you are participating in lent or just need to incorporate some new variety into your diet, I hope that this selection was valuable to you! Please be sure share this article with your friends and family!


Fit Tips

Dehydration by definition is simply, "Dryness due to the removal of water." So it's simple, you just drink water to avoid it right? Unfortunately it's not that easy. With summer approaching it's good to know what exactly is going on inside your body during dehydration, and what steps you can take to detect and prevent it from occurring.