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I’m eating more fish, but I hear that some species can have toxic chemicals and that overfishing is a problem for others. Which fish are the best for my macros and for the planet?
For starters, check the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL). In general, you should purchase only fish that are locally caught or from the U.S.–especially Alaska–or Canada, and particularly stay away from any fish or shellfish of Asian origin.
Since one of the most nutritious parts of fish is the omega-3 content, wild-caught fish is the better choice (the recommended daily amount is 1–1.5 grams), and harvested in season, it has less impact on the environment. Farmed is not a horrible option if it’s domestic. Go for farmed arctic char, rainbow trout, and salmon from Norway or Chile if you can’t find wild, since they will still pack a decent amount of omega-3s.
Salmon is a great source but has a high overall fat content that most of us cannot consume regularly without overdoing it on the calories—keep it to once a week. Some fish, like tilefish, shark, and swordfish, should be avoided because of high mercury levels; others, like albacore tuna, should be eaten only once a week. If you’re a fan of canned tuna, get the light Pacific kind: It’s lower in mercury and higher in omega-3 fatty acids compared with albacore. You can also choose fresh Pacific-caught tuna steaks specified as light or skipjack, bluefin or yellowfin tuna. Consume moderately—up to 12 ounces a week—and it’s very accommodating to a low- or high-calorie diet.
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