What the Hell CAN You Eat?

A recent study from the University of North Carolina confirmed what several of ETR’s favorite health gurus (including Dr. Al Sears and Dr. Joseph Mercola) have been telling us for years: Fresh fish can be toxic.

The study found that one in five women of childbearing age tested had high enough levels of mercury to cause neurological damage in babies. The fish that these women had been eating were poisoned by mercury (in the polluted air from coal-fired power plants) that ended up in lakes, streams, and oceans.

The Natural Resources Defense Council recommends that you avoid fish with the highest mercury levels (for example, swordfish, shark, grouper, king mackerel, marlin, and tilefish). And pregnant women should be especially careful.

According to the NRDC, mercury-safe fish include catfish, freshwater trout, wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, flounder, tilapia, and shellfish like shrimp.

ETR’s own health expert, Jon Herring, has written about this issue several times. Here’s one of the things he’s said: “Mercury accumulates in the tissues over time, and is highly toxic, even in small amounts. There are enough fish that are safe to eat that it only makes sense to enjoy those, and avoid the ones that are known to be contaminated.”

You can test the mercury levels in your body with a $25 hair-sampling kit from the Sierra Club.

[Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]