Seafood such as fish and shellfish is an important and healthful part of most diets. It tends to be high in protein, low in saturated fat, and rich in micronutrients. Seafood also tends to be rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are crucial for normal growth and development but our bodies can’t make them on their own. However, seafood also tends to contain mercury, which is dangerous when consumed in high quantities. There is lots of confusing advice on the internet about how much seafood people should consume. For instance, the EPA and the FDA recommend that women who are pregnant, nursing, or trying to become pregnant eat about 8-12 ounces of low mercury seafood each week for the Omega-3 fatty acids and healthy protein it provides. But which kinds of seafood are low mercury and how much really is safe to eat?
Eat Low On The Food Chain
Eating seafood that is lower on the food chain is the easiest way to limit mercury consumption. This is because the larger fish eat the smaller fish (which have some mercury) and that mercury builds up in them. This includes shrimp, scallops, sardines, and oysters. It also includes wild and Alaskan salmon and domestic squid and tilapia. Since these are lower in mercury contamination, most adults can safely eat as much as 36 ounces each week.
The next highest source of mercury is going to be the mid-level food chain fish, like haddock, pollock, flounder, Atlantic croaker, Atlantic mackerel, trout, catfish and mullet. It also includes domestic crawfish and crab, since they are both scavengers that eat a variety of other sea life. These all tend to have more mercury than the bottom of the food chain critters but less than the big fish. Most adults can safely consume them but should not eat more than 18 ounces in a week.
The Big Fish
The high mercury content choices should be avoided or at least limited for most people. These actually include many seafood favorites, including fresh tuna (like yellowfin and ahi), halibut, and grouper. Chilean sea bass, bluefish, and sablefish also make the list. Canned tuna should also be limited for most diets because of the mercury level – most people should eat no more than 4 ounces of canned Albacore or 11 ounces of canned light tuna in a week.
YOUR SEAFOOD DESTINATION
Costas Inn has been a Baltimore tradition since 1971. You may recognize our restaurant, which was recently featured on the Food Network with Michael Symon on Burgers, Brew, and ‘Que! We were also voted the 2015 #1 Baltimore Seafood Restaurant by USA Today, as well as #1 Crab Restaurant 2014 in the Baltimore Business Journal. You may have also spotted Costas Inn during one of our 9 appearances on the Today Show or heard one of our many interviews on WJZ TV Channel 13 with Ron Matz and Marty Bass.
You can enjoy our famous crab cakes in-house or order them online for any time eating. We also provide some of the best seafood catering in the Baltimore area! You can also get your fill from Costas even when you’re not in our dining room: follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube!