Posted: Jul 01, 2014 8:00 AM
You may be daydreaming of a summer filled with fish and shrimp on the barbecue, but a new study begs the question: Is bacon better for you than fish? From cancer-causing pollutants to low levels of nutrients, find out how chowing down on fish may serve up more than omega-3 fatty acids.
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Tainted tilapia

Once revered for its affordability, tilapia fish is now swimming with a tainted reputation. Most people know to limit their intake of fish with high mercury content like shark, king mackerel, swordfish and tilefish, but a study that ran in Science Daily is labeling farm-raised tilapia as a the culprit when it comes to inflammation. Researchers are going as far as stating that the inflammatory potential of this well-liked fish exceeds that of bacon or a hamburger, which can lead to health complications like heart disease, arthritis, asthma and more. But, tilapia isn't the only fish under scrutiny in the kitchen.

Farm-raised fish vs. wild-caught fish

Fish is getting a bad rap, but seafood can still be a healthy option when you reel it in from the right source. As a general rule, wild-caught fish and shellfish are healthier choices when serving up seafood. Surprisingly, farm-raised fish has been reported to be packed with pesticides, cancer-causing organic pollutants and antibiotics. Due to the crowded conditions:Isolated fish

  • Farmers treat the fish with antibiotics to ward off disease
  • Farm-raised fish are saturated with pesticides to combat sea lice
  • Farm-bred fish are fed cancer-causing cuisine such as animal feces

In addition to these contaminants, farm-raised fish also:

  • Contain lower protein content and less usable omega-3 acids
  • Have more inflammation-causing omega-6 acids compared to their wild counterparts
  • Store higher levels of dioxin, specifically in farm-bred salmon versus wild salmon
  • Possess higher immune system-impairing dibutylin levels, particularly in farm-raised mussels versus wild mussels

These farm-raised red flags also ring true to many sources of imported seafood like catfish and shrimp.

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Dangers of imported seafood

Shrimp is officially the poster child of dirty marine meals, mostly because the Food and Water Watch reports that 90 percent of shrimp consumed in our country is imported. Since less than two percent of imported seafood is actually inspected, it easily paves a path from contamination right to your family's dinner table. Especially true for farmed imported seafood, sticking with domestic is a safer bet.

Although researchers are reporting that hamburgers and bacon are better for you than some fish, all these health-detrimental elements can be avoided when you dish up fish from the right source. So long as you check your labels and ask your servers for the source of your seafood dish, sticking with domestic, wild-caught seafood can still be as healthy as you've always thought it to be.

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