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10 November 2006
Nothing Fishy About Seafood

Some studies have shown that eating fish is very beneficial to your health, while others have highlighted the dangers of eating fish contaminated with mercury and dioxins. So just what is the healthier choice?

Researchers have found that the health benefits of eating fish - including reduced rates of death from heart disease - far outweigh any potential harm associated with toxin (PCBs and dioxins) contaminated fish, according to a study appearing in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

After reviewing a myriad of medical journals, researchers Dariush Mozaffarian, and Eric B. Rimm, of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, said that eating 1 to 2 servings (6 ounces each serve) of fish a week reduces coronary death and rate of death by 36 and 17 percent respectively. The researchers recommend eating fish containing high levels of n-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and other similarly oily fish.

"A variety of seafood should be consumed. Levels of dioxins and PCBs in fish are low, and potential carcinogenic and other effects are outweighed by potential benefits of fish intake and should have little impact on choices or consumption of seafood," explain the authors.

But the researchers also say that some seafood is more likely to carry harmful toxins than others. They warn that people who consume a high level of seafood (5 servings a week) should limit their intake (1 to 2 serves) of shark, swordfish, golden bass, and king mackerel, and to be aware of local advisories. Expectant mothers should omit such seafood from their diets altogether, and limit intakes of albacore tuna to only one serve per week.

"Avoidance of modest fish consumption due to confusion regarding risks and benefits could result in thousands of excess coronary heart disease deaths annually and [poor] neurodevelopment in children," the authors warn.

Source: American Medical Association

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