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Should You Be Eating Farmed Fish?

March 30th, 2015

Learn about the risks of consuming farmed fish such as salmon.

As you enter menopause, changes to your hormones will suddenly make your metabolism much less forgiving of indulgences in unhealthy food. In an effort to battle the resulting menopausal weight gain and to make sure they’re getting the nutrition their changing body needs, many women begin making changes to their diet. Incorporating more sources of lean protein, such as fish, is one common change.

This is all well and good, but it is important to remember that not all fish you buy in the supermarket is equally healthy. Just as with any food you may eat, the more natural it is, the better. This is why you should think very carefully before adding lots of farmed fish to your diet. Let’s look at salmon as an example of how farmed fish compare to wild fish.

Concerns about Farmed Salmon

Nutritional Content: Both farmed and fresh salmon contain lots of omega-3 fatty acids, a vital nutrient that is important for heart and brain health. While farmed salmon tends to contain more omega-3s, it also contains more fat, more calories, and more omega-6s. This is a significant problem because you should be eating omega-3 and omega-6s in a 1:1 ratio. Getting too much omega-6 can increase inflammation and contribute to many health problems such as asthma, heart disease, and many forms of cancer.

Pollutants: Most people realize that the farther up the food chain you go, the greater the concentration of pesticides and pollutants you find in an organism. Because salmon feed on smaller fish, they consume all the pollutants that have built up in those fish’s tissue, and when we eat salmon we consume all the pollutants from every fish that salmon has ever eaten. While both wild and farmed salmon may contain pollutants like mercury, the levels of contamination are far greater in farmed fish. For example, studies have shown that the cancer-causing PCBs are found in farmed salmon at 16 times the rate they are found in wild salmon. Chemicals like dibutyltin and PBDEs have also started showing up in farmed seafood. Dibutyltin interferes with immune responses and inflammation control, while PBDEs disrupt the endocrine system and are believed to contribute to cancer.

Antibiotics: The conditions under which farmed fish grow make it necessary to dose them with antibiotics. For example, farmed salmon are treated to prevent sea lice and to help protect them from the effect of living in waters rich with their own waste. While fish farms say they are using less antibiotics, there is still concern that eating fish with high antibiotic levels could contribute to antibiotic resistance.

Need More Advice?

Getting the right nutrition during menopause can be complicated enough, even putting aside the extra concerns presented by debates about organic vegetables and wild fish. Fortunately, you can get the expert advice you need by contacting Renew Woman™ now. We’ll be happy to connect you with a virtual personal nutritionist.

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