Wednesday, 28 December 2011


Fish is a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which play a huge role in brain and eye development, and is very nutritious. It is a great idea to feed babies (starting from about 7 months old) and kids fish regularly (about two baby/kid serving size a week). However, you need to be mindful of the hazards of mercury in fish. In high doses, this metal is harmful to a child's developing brain and nervous system.

Mercury is everywhere including the weather we breathe in. Fish have mercury in them too but what you need to keep in mind is that certain types of fish have much larger amounts of it than others.

As a general rule of thumb, just remember that the larger the fish, the higher the mercury level. There are some logical reasons behind this. For instance, larger fish eat smaller fish. Therefore, on top of their own mercury levels, they contain the mercury from the fish that they eat as well. In addition, in most cases, larger fish live longer. Thus, they build up higher levels of this metal in their bodies since they have more time for more mercury exposure.
Big fish

These are the kinds of fish that contain the highest level of mercury:
  • Shark
  • Swordfish
  • King mackerel
  • Tilefish
Some experts also recommend that children between the ages of 2 and 6 not be served fresh or frozen tuna (there are some arguments on canned tuna), striped bass, bluefish, Chilean sea bass, golden snapper, marlin, orange roughy, amberjack, Crevalle jack, Spanish mackerel from the Gulf of Mexico, and walleye from the Great Lakes.

Fish for childrenAccording to the experts in the U.S., these are the fish that are both low in mercury and high in healthy fats:
  • herring
  • mackerel (Atlantic, jack, chub)
  • rainbow trout (farm raised)
  • salmon (wild or farm raised)
  • sardines
  • whitefish
I highly recommend that you include fish in your child's diet and I definitely do not recommend to discard fish from the menu to avoid exposure to mercury. Fish is the best source of Omega-3 fatty acids. On the other hand, here is a list of foods and drinks that include some Omega-3 for your information in case fish don't work for your life style. 
  • Eggs 
  • milk
  • soy beverages
  • juice
  • yogurt
  • bread
  • cereal
  • margarine 
The above are now fortified with omega-3s in many countries. Some don't contain very much DHA or EPA, but small amounts can add up. (Look for products that contain at least 50 milligrams of DHA per serving.)

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