Food Safety: Mercury in Fish | Women’s Health News Blog: Latest Health Headlines and Tips to Stay Healthy

No don’t stop eating fish…. But be careful!

Should You Stop Eating Fish?

Eighty-four percent of fish contain unsafe levels of mercury, according to a new study

Posted on January 24, 2013 by Alexandra Duron, Women’s Health Online Editorial Assistant

You might want to think twice about feasting on seafood. A whopping 84 percent of fish samples taken from around the world contain unsafe levels of mercury, according to a new report from the Biodiversity Research Institute and the International Persistent Organic Pollutants Elimination Network. It isn’t safe to eat fish with such high levels of mercury more than once a month, according to the findings.

And that’s not all. Researchers also took hair samples from 152 people from around the world. What they found: More than 82 percent contained mercury levels greater than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended level. Translation: People are exposed to more mercury than is good for them.

So what’s the big deal? Consuming mercury can affect your nervous system and your brain, and this can be especially dangerous for children and women who are pregnant, according to Lisa Moskovitz, RD, CDN, CPT, owner of Manhattan-based practice Your New York Dietician. “Mercury acts like a neurotoxin which, even in low doses, can impair a baby’s development and cognitive function. In some cases it can lead to mental retardation, cerebral palsy, and loss of sight and hearing,” she says. “In non-pregnant adults, mercury affects fertility, blood pressure, memory, and eyesight.”

Pretty scary stuff, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to cut fish out of your diet altogether. “Because fish is an important nutrient source, it’s more about being smart with what you are eating vs. avoiding eating fish,” says David Evers, PhD, chief scientist of the Biodiversity Research Institute who specializes in research on ecotoxicology. He suggests consulting your doctor and checking out the EPA’s recommendations to lower your risk.

Here, excerpted from the EPA’s website, three guidelines for reducing your exposure to mercury found in fish:

1. Do not eat Shark, Swordfish, King Mackerel, or Tilefish because they contain high levels of mercury.

2. Eat up to 12 ounces (2 average meals) a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury.

Five of the most commonly eaten fish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish.

Another commonly eaten fish, albacore (“white”) tuna has more mercury than canned light tuna. So, when choosing your two meals of fish and shellfish, you may eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) of albacore tuna per week.

3. Check local advisories about the safety of fish caught by family and friends in your local lakes, rivers, and coastal areas. If no advice is available, eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) per week of fish you catch from local waters, but don’t consume any other fish during that week.

via Food Safety: Mercury in Fish | Women’s Health News Blog: Latest Health Headlines and Tips to Stay Healthy.

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Seafood Sleuthing Reveals Pervasive Fish Fraud In New York City : The Salt : NPR

Seafood Sleuthing Reveals Pervasive Fish Fraud In New York City

by SARAH ZIELINSKI

December 11, 2012 5:10 PM

Seafood Sleuthing Reveals Pervasive Fish Fraud In New York City : The Salt : NPR

Farmed Atlantic salmon was sometimes labeled at “wild salmon,” researchers found when the tested seafood sold in New York City.

 

If you buy fish in New York City, particularly from a small market or restaurant, there’s a pretty good chance it won’t be the fish it claims to be.

An ocean conservation group announced today that three in five retail outlets it visited, including 100 percent of sushi restaurants, were selling mislabeled fish. The report is just the latest in a string of investigations revealing that seafood mislabeling is commonplace.

The researchers, from the group Oceana, collected 142 fish samples earlier this year from 81 retail outlets, including large grocery stores, corner bodegas, high-end restaurants, and sushi bars. They analyzed the samples using DNA barcoding, and found that 39 percent of the fish were labeled as other species.

Farm-raised Atlantic salmon had been substituted for wild-caught salmon, they found. Ocean perch, tilapia, and goldbanded jobfish were sold as red snapper. Fish labeled “white tuna” was escolar, which can cause acute gastrointestinal problems. And one serving of halibut was really tilefish, a species with so much mercury that the Food and Drug Administration has placed it on the do-not-eat list for pregnant women and young children.

The study didn’t address who exactly is responsible for the mislabeling — whether at the supplier or the retail level. “That’s for the enforcers,” notes Kimberly Warner, a senior scientist at Oceana.

Last year the Boston Globe reported that 48 percent of fish in Massachusetts were mislabeled, similar to findings in Los Angeles (55 percent) and Miami (31 percent). A follow-up from the Globe published earlier this month found that 76 percent of fish in a new survey were mislabeled.

And in 2008, two New York City high school students conducted their own DNA study of four restaurants and 10 grocery stores in Manhattan and found that a quarter of the fish they sampled were mislabeled.

Warner says that traceability — a better system that would make it easier to track seafood from net to plate — would help to eliminate the fraud. “We have a very complex and murky seafood chain with no traceability.”

A bill introduced to Congress in July is intended to address seafood fraud. Fish suppliers, restaurants, and stores would have to provide more information to their customers about the seafood they sell. In addition, the bill would require more coordination between the FDA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — the two government agencies responsible for food and fisheries regulation.

But Gavin Gibbons, a spokesman for the National Fisheries Institute, says that the enforcement of current law is what’s really needed. “If there were more enforcement on the ground as opposed to more regulations on the books, we think we’d be seeing less fraud,” Gibbons says.

Figuring out the source of a fishy fraud, whether it’s a retail outlet or a supplier, Gibbons says, “is really not that hard.” With only a DNA test, a menu, and an invoice, an enforcer can see that if the “invoice matches the menu and not the DNA, then you know that the supplier was the source of the fraud.”

In the absence of better enforcement, Gibbons suggests that consumers ask their local shop or restaurant if their fish supplier is a member of the Better Seafood Board, an industry group that works to eliminate fish fraud.

The source of mislabeling isn’t always greed — sometimes two species look too similar even for fishermen to tell them apart. But when some fish sellers are playing fair and others are getting away with substituting cheaper species for more expensive ones, “it harms a lot of people,” Warner notes, “not just the consumer.”

via Seafood Sleuthing Reveals Pervasive Fish Fraud In New York City : The Salt : NPR.

20 Fittest Foods – Men’s Fitness

Throw some of these on your grocery list if you haven’t already!

20 Fittest Foods - Men's Fitness - Page 4

by Joe Gould

5) Broccoli

31 calories per cup

Eat 2-3 half-cup servings per week

This fleshy green should be at the top of your list when it comes to vegetables. It’s rich with a healthy supply of iron, calcium, fiber, and vitamin C, meaning it’s good for the circulatory system, bones, and fighting colds. “As far as vegetables go, this is the one I try hardest to get more guys to eat,” says Niki Kubiak, R.D., a private practice nutritionist in Omaha, Neb. Brocco-phobic? Try it on the sly: Slip it into stir-fries, onto pizza, or use raw chunks as a vehicle for your favorite dip.

4) Tomatoes

83 calories per cup

Eat 4 servings per week

Yes, it’s true that tomatoes used to be called “love apples” and have a reputation as a powerful aphrodisiac. But that lore has nothing to do with why we picked the tomato as the best food for sexual health. Rather, tomatoes win their place on our chart-and their relatively high ranking overall-because of a single nutrient: lycopene.

This powerful antioxidant, which comes from the pigment that gives tomatoes their red color, may actually help fight off a number of diseases and ailments-most important for men, prostate cancer. Numerous studies show that men who have the most tomatoes and tomato-based products in their diet are less likely to develop prostate problems than men who rarely eat the stuff. And the good news for guys on the run: Tomatoes are also that rare food that’s more nutritious when cooked than when eaten raw. “Lycopene becomes more bio-available to the body after it’s been heated,” says nutritionist David Ricketts, a prostate-cancer sufferer who used his disease as the motivation for writing the cookbook Eat to Beat Prostate Cancer. “You can start off the day with a glass of tomato juice and have a tomato-based sauce a couple of times a week. However you can work it in, you’re pretty much on the way.”

3) Oatmeal

148 calories per half cup

Eat 3-4 servings per week

When it comes to eating breakfast in the morning, there’s nothing better than a bowl of oatmeal to spike your energy levels and provide you with an hours-long supply of fuel. Oatmeal is also filled with stress-fighting and immunity-boosting zinc.

If that weren’t enough to convince you to pop a bowl in the microwave, keep in mind that oatmeal can also help promote weight loss and lower your risk of heart disease. Oatmeal is filled with high levels of soluble fiber that protect your heart and arteries by trapping and expelling cholesterol, dropping levels by up to 30 points or more in some cases, says Kubiak.

The best oatmeal may not be the most convenient, however. Those flavored, single-serving packs that litter grocery-store aisles are often filled with added sugar-and therefore excess calories. Instead, stick with the big tub of instant oatmeal and add your own fruit and calorie-free sweeteners, if you need them.

2) Blueberries

41 calories per half cup

Eat 1-2 cups per week

Of all the fruit you can eat, blueberries may be the absolute best. Whether you’re getting them raw, tossed into cereal, mixed in fruit salad or a smoothie, blueberries pack more fiber, vitamins, and minerals per ounce than any other fruit in the produce aisle. Chief among those nutrients are free-radical-fighting antioxidants. Free radicals, which increase in number as you get older, travel around your body damaging cells, promoting disease, and triggering signs of premature aging. And blueberries harness the firepower to knock them out of service.

Need another reason to eat them? How about your memory? Those same antioxidants that fight disease are also effective in helping keep connections between cells in your brain and nervous system healthy, ensuring clearer, quicker thinking and the best memory possible.

1) Salmon

121 calories per 3-oz serving

Eat 3-4 servings per week

Salmon made out list for a number of reasons, but the biggest has got to be because its so densely stuffed with omega-3’s. These fatty acids are thought to slow memory loss as you age and boost heart health by regulating heart rhythms and keeping arteries and veins supple and free of blockages. While saturated fats lead to obesity, the polyunsaturated fatty acids in fish appear to correct and prevent obesity, according to a study published in Clinical Science.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Salmon is also an excellent source of protein. A three-ounce cooked serving contains 20 grams-making it ideal for building muscle and trimming fat. Besides helping stimulate your metabolism three to four times more than carbs or fat, protein is the absolute best food for helping fill you up, so you take in fewer calories and burn more. And that’s what being a fit food is all about.

via 20 Fittest Foods – Men’s Fitness – Page 4.

Top 7 Supermarket Foods to Avoid

Pardon my summer hiatus – be back in a day or two!

I found this article really interesting –

By Emma Sgourakis, Certified Nutritional Therapist

In a recent article, seven experts in the fields of both food and the environment (scientists, doctors and farmers) were asked just one simple question: “What foods do you avoid?” Their responses had nothing to do with calories or nutrient-density, but all to do with their insider knowledge on how certain seemingly “healthy” foods that they closely work with are produced and packaged. The findings are scary.

If the farmer who grows the food won’t eat it himself, then I won’t touch it either.

Here’s a summary of the findings. You can add these seven to your ‘Foods to Avoid‘ list:

1. Canned Tomatoes

An endocrinologist and expert on the topic of the synthetic oestrogen bisphenol-A (BCA), linked to heart disease and infertility, won’t go near canned tomatoes. Tin cans are lined with a resin containing BCA which is especially a problem with canning tomatoes, as the acid in tomato breaks this down in dangerous amounts. This is a serious health concern for everyone who loves a Spag Bol, especially children. My advice: if you still want the convenience of stored, ready-to-cook tomatoes, opt for sauces and passata in glass bottles.

2. Conventional Beef

For fat cows (and fat people) feed them grain, corn and soy. This is what farmers do to increase profits. The end product is meat that is nutritionally inferior. Cows were meant to eat grass. Studies show that grass-fed beef (compared to corn-fed) is higher in important vitamins, minerals and the heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory fats. Then there’s also the issue of all the antibiotics used on those inappropriately-fed, sick cows… My advice: Look for “grass-fed” or “pasture-fed” organic beef from strong healthy beasts.

3. Microwave Popcorn

Another poisonous packaging issue: Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) lines the bags of those popcorn bags, and the heat in the microwave leaches this straight onto your movie munchies. The UCLA links this compound to infertility. My advice: Corn kernels + butter + sea salt + plus a big pot (with a lid!) Simple.

4. Conventional Potatoes

More than any other vegetable, non-organic potatoes are heavily sprayed with herbicides, pesticides and fungicides throughout every stage of their growth, harvesting and storage. So much so that potato growers never eat the potatoes they sell and grow their own separate plots without all the chemicals. My advice: Organic or Bio-dynamic potatoes only.

5. Farmed Salmon

This is particularly scary considering that in Australia, the only fresh Salmon we have access to is farmed; all farmed, this includes “Atlantic” Salmon. These fish are crammed in pens and fed all manner of junk from soy and hydrolyzed chicken feathers and pellets. A scientific study on fish contamination showed high levels of DDT and PCB’s (carcinogens). So serious were the findings that the director for the Institute for Health warns that any more than one salmon meal every 5 months increases your cancer risk. Not to mention that fact that the levels of Omega 3 and Vitamin D are devoid in these poor factory-versions that their wild, up-stream-swimming ancestors contain. My advice: For fresh fish, choose small & wild varieties wherever available. For salmon in Australia, your only wild option is out of a tin. Look for brands like Paramount Wild Alaskan Salmon, or other brands form Norway and Canada are often wild too. Even still, eat these only occasionally.

6. Conventional Milk

Dairy cows today are fed growth hormones to maximize milk production. Not only does this make for a potentially breast/prostate/colon cancer milk shake, but it also leads to increased incidence of udder infection for the poor cow, leading to pus in the milk. My advice: if you do drink cows’ milk, make sure it states clearly on the label that it is produced without artificial hormones, and ideally choose organic whole milk from pasture-fed cows.

7. Conventional Apples

There’s no coincidence that farm workers have higher rates of many cancers. Of all common fruits, apples are the most heavily and frequently doused with pesticides. Pesticide reside on conventional fruits is also linked to Parkinson’s. To limit exposure, be wary of apples especially. My advice: Organic. Or at the very least, wash and peel.

Source: www.thenutritioncoach.com.au/blog…

A little pop of color…

Image

20120703-220039.jpg Tonight’s dinner ….A quick breakdown as I’m (not very efficiently) watching a movie..

Sweet potato – high amounts of beta carotene (antioxidants, good for your eyes), vitamin C, fiber

Salmon (grilled) with peach and mango salsa- lots of omega 3s!

Quinoa – contains all amino acids, fiber – I make a big batch at the beginning of the week with a little olive oil, beans and veggies and spice it up different ways.

Lime – little nuggets of vitamin C and some zest!