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Fish: A great catch!

If you are hesitant about buying, preparing or eating fish, this article is guaranteed to reel you in.

See what we did there? REEL you in? Ok…in all seriousness, let's talk eating fish. Is there a catch?

No doubt you've heard the concerns over mercury levels in certain fish, pondered farm-raised or fresh-caught fish in the store or been confused by the recommendation to eat "fatty fish." What do all of these things even mean? Why include fish as part of a balanced diet?

Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines and albacore tuna contain omega-3 fatty acids. If we don't eat enough omega-3 fats in our diet, the body uses other fatty acids which do not provide the same benefits. DHA, an omega-3 fat, is located in the nerve endings in our brain. It is important for our cognitive behavior and for memory and brain performance. Omega-3s can lower blood pressure and may reduce heart attack risk, so there are many good reasons to eat fish twice a week.

Contrary to what you may have heard, shrimp, scallops, lobster and crab are part of a healthy diet—as long as they are not fried or sautéed. Seafood is naturally low in total and saturated fat—the type of fat that can increase your risk for heart disease.

The benefits of eating fish far outweigh any risks. Enjoy a variety of fresh and saltwater fish, but avoid shark, swordfish, king mackerel or tilefish due to high levels of mercury. Choose wild-caught over farm-raised whenever possible, and check with local officials about the safety of fish caught in local lakes and rivers.

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