Have you changed the amounts or types of fish you eat as new information
becomes available regarding the mercury content of fish?
This is a good question. The short answer is "yes", particularly in regards to the type and amount of tuna I consume. I used to consume approximately 3-6 ounces of canned albacore tuna on a weekly basis as a good source of both protein and the important omega-3 fatty acids. However, as information continues to unfold regarding the mercury content of certain fish and the potential for health problems associated with mercury accumulation, I consider it prudent to reduce the amount of foods with known higher amounts of mercury.
Recent information released by the FDA and EPA has shown that some cans of albacore tuna have 3-4x more mercury than *light tuna* (Skip-jack or Yellow-fin tuna) because albacore tuna comes from bigger fish higher up on the food chain, thus have concentrated larger amounts of mercury contained in the smaller fish that they ate. While most concern has been raised regarding potential long-term health consequences of the effect of mercury on the developing nervous system of an unborn child and young children, I consider this issue to be one of those with some "loose ends". We simply don't know enough about affects of chronic mercury consumption on adults.
Here is what I consume now to obtain my omega-3 fatty acids, which are so important to good general health in addition to having many anti-cancer activities:
A very interesting recent article has shown that people living in the Amazon who eat larger amounts of tropical fruit have reduced levels of mercury in their body. The mechanism(s) involved are unknown, but once again, benefits of consumption of a plant-based diet are multi-fold.
Recipe Hint: Make your favorite tuna salad recipe using white beans instead of the tuna. Just slightly mash them and then mix with the other ingredients. For added zip and color, fold in a small amount of diced fresh mango or papaya. This will give you more fiber, lots of phytochemicals and antioxidants, and less worry about the mercury! Enjoy :-)
annual meeting of scientists to discuss this issue in more depth is
In addition, it is also very important to advocate that sources (coal-burning electric power plants) of mercury in our foods be reduced at the point of production. It is not enough to simply decrease our consumption of these fish.
Res. 2003 Oct;93(2):123-30.
Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
Pathol Lab Med. 2003 Dec;127(12):1603-5.
Health. 2003 Jun 4;2(1):8. Epub 2003 Jun 04.
Health Perspect. 2003 Apr;111(4):604-8.
2003 Apr 2;289(13):1667-74.
faq posted 1/04
These questions and answers are intended to be of a general informative nature. Please consult with the Registered Dietitian in your cancer center or your health care provider for nutritional advice that can be individualized to your specific medical condition.
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