Are you feeling conflicted about eating seafood? Do you embrace the idea of getting healthy omega-3 fats in your diet — but worry that they might come with an unhealthy dose of mercury? If so, you’re far from alone — that’s one reason that the average American is not eating the recommended amount of fish and seafood.
The official recommendations for seafood consumption from the American Heart Association and the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans are to eat fish at least twice weekly — at least 8 ounces total — but only one in 10 of us do. The average person eats 3.5 ounces per week, and that drops to an average of 2 ounces during pregnancy — despite the recommendation that pregnant and breast-feeding women increase fish intake to up to 12 ounces per week.
If you’ve been playing it safe by limiting how much fish you eat, the good news is that you can relax. There’s a game-changer in the seafood and mercury debate — selenium. Selenium is an antioxidant mineral that helps prevent free radical damage to your cells, but it’s also an essential part of a few dozen enzymes (selenoenzymes) that protect your brain from damage. This is where seafood comes in.