There is no doubt in researchers’ minds that fish is nutritionally packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, omega 3s, and protein galore. What isn’t easily surmised is how much is a proper amount. In fact, researchers for years have disagreed about how much is needed to gain the full nutritional benefits of a diet rich in fish. The answer is different for adults and children, and especially different for pregnant women. Here is a quick guideline from the researchers at the Environmental Protection Agency and Epidemiologists at Harvard’s School of Public Health on the right amount of fish that you should have in your diet.
- For Most People – For most people, it is fine to eat 2 to 3 servings of fish per week from the “Best Choices” list, or 1 serving from the “Good Choices” list (see the graphic below). It is recommended to eat a variety of fish and use your palm as a guideline of how much is considered a “serving”. According to Eric Rimm, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, “For most individuals it’s fine to eat fish every day. And it’s certainly better to eat fish every day than it is to eat beef every day.”
- Pregnant Women and Children – While Rimm explains that most people can eat fish 2-3 times per week, he also states that there are some groups who should exercise a bit more caution about eating too much fish. These groups include pregnant women and children. These two groups shouldn’t eat certain kinds of fish every day. Larger fish with longer life spans, like swordfish and tuna, tend to bioaccumulate toxins, such as mercury, he explains. Smaller fish have much fewer problems with mercury build up or biotoxins.
Here is an excellent graphic that can help you decide the type and amount of fish you should be eating. As always consult your doctor about your unique dietary needs and guidelines.