Seafood can be confusing. There are so many mixed messages floating around out there! Is it good for you? Is it good for the earth? What's better - farmed fish or wild fish? What's the deal with mercury, PCBs and antibiotics? So many questions...
To help get to the bottom of this, we created a set of infographics to address the role that seafood plays in your body and our food system. Because we care about science and facts at LoveTheWild, everything on these infographics is from peer reviewed scientific journals or USDA/FDA databases. We've provided the sources for all of the data, so that you can nerd out if you want.
In short, seafood is amazing functional nutrition. It's important to eat a variety of seafood, because just like vegetables where you get different stuff from kale than you do from carrots... each species has it's own unique nutritional profile. In general, seafood is loaded with protein, more protein per gram in fact than any other animal protein! 98% of the calories in shrimp come from protein - how cool is that? The healthy fats like omega-3 (DHA & EPA) found only in seafood are proven to fight depression, improve cardiovascular health, and even help a woman carry a smarter baby to term! Any seafood, farmed or wild, delivers more benefit to your body than any other animal protein!
Concerns about mercury, PCBs, and antibiotics are grossly exaggerated in the media. It's surprising that we only hear about the risk of PCBs in seafood which has about the same risk as a fried egg, when you are far more likely to ingest PCBs in butter or a chicken breast. You could literally eat seafood at every meal, and still not be at risk for mercury toxicity. If you remain concerned about mercury and PCBs, you should choose a responsibly farmed fish. These toxins accumulate in the food chain. While there is plenty of wild fish that is safe to eat, the fact is it's hard to tell where a wild fish has been or what it's eaten it's whole life without testing. The diet of a farmed fish is controlled, and today the best feed manufacturers routinely test for and remove the heavy metals and pesticides.... no garbage in, no garbage out. More antibiotics are used in the culture of terrestrial animals than there are in aquaculture, and thanks to new vaccines, immune boosting probiotics, and better farm management practices that focus on raising healthy fish, a growing portion of aquaculture happens with no antibiotics at all.
The most exciting thing to me is the role that sustainable aquaculture should play in our food future. It's incredibly resource efficient. We can grow more nutritious and delicious food, in less space, with less inputs. It's frustrating and disappointing to me when the media tries to continually pit farmed fish against wild fish. That's simply the wrong frame of reference. You should eat both! And you should eat both far more often than you choose a different animal protein. If you do that, we'll be able to feed our growing population responsibly and keep our wild places wild.
Bottom line: Eat more seafood. It's safe... and important for your body, and the earth.