Fish are one of the best sources for the animal-based omega-3 fats EPA and DHA. There are many additional health benefits to eating them as well. However, are all fish created equal? It appears farmed fish offer less benefits relative to wild caught fish and are riddled with pollutants and other chemicals. In addition, Omega-3 fats may be reduced by as much as 50% in farmed fish! Industrial fish farming is a fast growing industry and about half of the United States’ seafood comes from fish farms.
Why Is This A Problem?
To begin with, the industry is plagued with many similar problems that land-based concentrated animal feeding operations endure. Many farmed fish are fed genetically modified corn and soy, which is not part of the natural diet for their species. In addition, because of the close proximity in which farmed fish are raised, there is a higher probability that all of them will become infected with pathogens when one becomes ill. This means the fish on your plate at dinner may be harboring disease within it!
To combat pathogens and other issues that occur with close-quarter feeding operations, fish farmers utilize concentrated antibiotics, pesticides, and other chemicals in the pens where the fish are raised. This can be problematic because farmed fish have a relatively high fat content compared to wild fish. Since most pollutants and chemicals are fat-soluble, farm-raised fish can store larger amounts of harmful chemicals within the fat of their body. You are probably getting a lot more than just a mouthful of fish when your meal is farm raised!
Finally, many people eat fish for their omega-3 fatty acid benefits. These include: improved cardiovascular health, reduced ADHD symptoms, reduced inflammation, improved brain and spine health (big emphasis on healthy fats in our practice), and more. It is believed that omega-3 fatty acids are reduced in farmed fish because of their grain diets. In addition, farmed fish contain five times as much omega-6 – a fatty acid that is pro-inflammatory. Americans already get 10-20 times too much omega-6 as they need from their diet (Americans don’t eat healthy diets on the whole). You may actually be doing more harm than good when trying to get a natural source of omega 3!
Reduced Benefits & Possibly Harmful
Farmed fish are often ill, filled with chemicals, and offer less omega-3 fatty acids than wild caught fish. Essentially, the benefits that come from eating fish are reduced and they may actually be harmful to the consumer. Always check the label of the fish you are purchasing to see if it is wild caught or farm raised and opt for wild caught when you can. According to Dr. Mercola, wild-caught Alaskan and Sockeye salmon are some of the least contaminated and healthy fish options for US residents. Don’t forget, you are what you eat!
Image courteous of: https://pixabay.com/static/uploads/photo/2012/04/13/21/31/fish-33712_960_720.png