Current Advice about Eating Fish

iStock-995987168The FDA and EPA have published advice on eating fish, a protein-rich food recommended for everyone, including pregnant and breastfeeding women, women planning to conceive, and children who are 2 years and older. This resource states that eating fish may also offer heart health benefits and lower the risk of obesity.

FDA seafood recommendations are updated regularly. In 2017, for example, two lists of additions and changes were made to the Seafood List, including the addition of new species, such as frog and sea urchin. However, this particular resource from FDA and EPA is designed specifically for women who are or might become pregnant, breastfeeding mothers and young children. 

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend at least 8 ounces of seafood per week for those who consume a diet of 2,000 calories and between 8 and 12 ounces per week for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

The resource also states that fish are part of a healthy eating pattern and provide protein, omega-3 fats, more vitamin B12 and vitamin D than any other type of food, iron and other minerals such as selenium, zinc, and iodine. 

Many people are concerned about mercury levels in fish, but the “best” and “good” choices are outlined in this resource. Two to three servings per week of the “best” choice fish are recommended, whereas just one serving of a “good” choice fish is put forth as being a healthy option. Some of the types of fish from the “best” choices include anchovies, sardines, salmon, herring, scallop, shrimp, sole, cod, and crab. “Good” choices include monkfish, halibut, carp, and yellowfin tuna. The top choices to avoid include shark, swordfish, orange roughy, marlin, king mackerel, tilefish (Gulf of Mexico) and bigeye tuna.


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