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Trying to Eat Healthy Ruined Friday Night Dinner : Why We Need a Change

carbseatornoI spent Friday night out at a movie and dinner with a dear  friend whose partner didn’t want to see Thor in a dark world or a dark theater. We Since we’d forgone the pleasures of GMO popcorn laden with insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, fumigants, trans fats, artificial flavors, artificial flavoring and preservatives, we were hungry by the end. Which is where the night took a distinctly different turn from any other “dinner out” night I’ve ever had.

“Pizza?” Tess asked as we buckled up in my car.

Now pizza is my favorite food group in the whole wide world—right after popcorn. Could I dodge both bullets in the same night? I mean it was Friday and party time. Come on!

For once in my life there wasn’t even an inner struggle. “Um. Well. Maybe not.” What’s wrong with me? Somehow a carb fest of gluten with BGH-laced cheese just didn’t seem appealing.

“You’re joking. You love pizza.”

Tell me about it. “Yeah, well, not tonight, I guess. How ‘bout sushi?”

We live in a small town and food and entertainment options aren’t far apart. I drove the short way to the Japanese restaurant where the night’s theme of Consumer Apprehension continued to play out

Ordering a beer and saki wasn’t difficult. But then came the menu. I swear, it could have been labeled, “Pick Your Poison” the way we both eyed it. Tuna? Too much mercury. Crab? Sorry, it’s imitation (red-dyed Alaskan Pollack). Unagi (eel)? Yellowtail?

“Where’s the yellow tail from?” Tess asked the waitress. Another trip back to the sushi chef and we had the answer: Japan.

We looked at one another, the deadly word Fukushima hanging unspoken in the air between us. Forget the yellowtail. Forget the eel. What about the Northwest fallback favorite, salmon? I shook my head. Since Fukushima, for the first time in the 24 years I’d lived in the Pacific Northwest I hadn’t made the annual November pilgrimage to my fishing connection at the local Nisqually Indian tribe to buy the fresh-caught silver salmon that ran upriver from the Puget Sound estuary only 15 miles away.

Just say no to Pacific salmon.

Shocked at our dilemma, we continued to plod through the menu. Chicken? Neither of us could stomach the idea of eating agri-business chicken because of the ghastly tortured existence the birds endured. Same with beef and pork. “Shall I come back?” the restless waitress inquired.


“Christ. I can’t believe this,” I murmured. Eating out used to be so much fun.

“You know, I went to Safeway the other day and walked through the whole store and couldn’t find one thing to eat that wasn’t processed, filled with sugar or artificial crap,” said Tess.

“Really? What about their organic section?”

“Trucked from God know where with a carbon footprint the size of Texas?” she shook her head. “I finally drove to the co-op, bought a bunch of local organic vegetables and we made a stir-fry.”

“Maybe we should just get uki-udon noodles and some veggies?” I suggested unenthusiastically. Maybe we should go to my house and cook?

The waitress came back. For lack of any other real choice, we both ordered miso soup and east coast shrimp. By that time all I wanted was another beer—or something stronger.

But dammit, I’ve numbed myself long enough. Last night was inevitable. It’s been coming ever since Rachel Carson first started blowing the whistle in her book Silent Spring way back in 1962. And although we’ve come a long way on the environmental front, we’re far from a widespread populist movement demanding clean air, clean water and healthy food on our tables. Hell, state amendments to label GMOs have been beaten out in the two most progressive states in the US through the vast injection of Monsanto Money into ad coffers.

We’re being sold bad health with a vengeance and we’re buying it with hardly a blink.

What will it take to change? Glow-in-the-dark caviar appearing on Elitist Corporate Tables worldwide and them finally waking up? Maybe. Or maybe more of us just need an educational Friday night out now and then.

Are You Sick and Tired? Maybe It’s Your Thyroid

If you feel cold and tired all the time, there’s a good chance your thyroid is to blame, because one out of five women and one out of ten men have thyroid problems. That’s 30 million women and 15 million men. And half of them suffer needlessly because their doctors completely miss the diagnosis or don’t treat it properly.

You don’t have to suffer. Are you tired and sluggish? Do you have trouble getting going in the morning? Are you constipated? Do you have dry skin, dry, coarse hair, or hair loss? If the outer third of your eyebrows are thinning that could mean low thyroid function. Or maybe you have depression, high cholesterol, low sex drive, fluid retention, poor memory, and trouble concentrating.

All of these symptoms are potentially related to low thyroid function or what we call hypothyroidism. And because they can be vague and subtle, they’re easy to miss. But these symptoms can negatively affect your quality of life. But when you correct your thyroid function, you can get rid of these symptoms. You can actually get your life back and feel better.

One of my patients is a 73-year-old woman who was tired and a little depressed, had a little fluid retention, was constipated, and had trouble with memory. She had been to another doctor who said, “What do you expect? You’re 73.” Well, you know what? That’s not what 73 has to feel like. 73 can feel like 53 or 43 if you’re tuned up.

Get to the root cause

My job as a Functional Medicine doctor is to be a medical detective, to investigate and address the root causes of problems—not just the symptoms—and help people fix the underlying problems that CAUSE their symptoms and recreate balance in the whole system.

So, how do you find out the root cause of low thyroid function? What do you do about it? Can you reverse it? And what should you do if you have it? Well, if you fix the cause, you often can heal your thyroid. So, first, let’s take a look at the causes of this condition.

There are many causes of low thyroid function, but the most common one is environmental toxins.

For example, plastics, pesticides, thallates in plastic bottles, BPA (bis-phenol A) in cans, parabens in sunblock and make-up, chemicals in our food and water: all of these things interfere with our thyroid function, which acts like the yellow canary in the coalmine that died when the air went bad. When our environment becomes overloaded with toxic substances, the thyroid is the first to go down.

What you are eating can also mess up your thyroid. Gluten is one of the biggest causes of low thyroid function, because it causes an autoimmune reaction against the thyroid. We call this Hashimoto’s disease. It is fixable. If you get rid of gluten, you can heal it.

Nutritional deficiencies may also be causing the problem. Iodine, vitamin D, selenium, zinc, omega-3 fats, and vitamin A are all important for optimal thyroid function. You have to have optimal nutrient levels for your thyroid to work properly. For example, you can’t make thyroid hormone without iodine. You can’t convert the inactive to the active form of thyroid without selenium, and the thyroid can’t work on your cells without vitamin D and vitamin A.

Another big cause of thyroid dysfunction is heavy metals, such as mercury and lead.

People who eat a lot of fish, who have a lot of fillings in their mouth, or who have had a lot of vaccines that contain Thimerosal may develop problems with their thyroid.

Get tested

So, how can you know for sure that you have this problem? Well, first, you have to do the right tests. Most doctors do not do the right thyroid tests, and I strongly encourage you to demand your rights as a patient and ask for them. What are they?

It’s the TSH, or thyroid-stimulating hormone test, and the free T3 and free T4 tests. It’s very important to get the free levels of both the free T4 and free T3 hormones.

Next, you should also always check your TPO (thyroid peroxidase) and anti-thyroglobulin antibodies. These are an indication of an autoimmune reaction against your thyroid.

Also, check for celiac or gluten antibodies or anti-gliadin antibodies, because these also can indicate a gluten problem that can trigger thyroid problems.

You also might need to get heavy metal testing, because high levels of mercury and lead can trigger thyroid issues, too. Go to www.functionalmedicine.org to find a doctor near you who can test for metals and help you fix your thyroid.

Take action

So, once you’ve found that you have this issue, follow these steps, so you can begin to treat yourself.

Clean up your diet. Get rid of the sources of pesticides and chemicals. Filter your water. Eat organic when possible. Eat safe fish. Minimize your exposure.

Eat foods that support your thyroid. These include vitamin D-rich foods like mushrooms, sardines, and herring; vitamin A-containing foods like green leafy vegetables and carrots; iodine-rich foods like seaweed, fish, and shellfish; and zinc-rich foods like pumpkin seeds and oysters.

Thyroid replacement may be needed for some people. But this is very controversial. Some doctors recommend only T4 and some recommend a combination of T4 and T3. I think, when you look at the scientific evidence, it’s clear that people do better when you combine the inactive T4 with the active T3 hormone. And that’s what we do at The UltraWellness Center. We give combinations, either in the form of Armour Thyroid, Nature Thyroid, or just combinations of T3 and T4.

Take thyroid supportive supplements. I recommend a combination supplement for my patients called Thyrosol, which contains kelp for iodine, zinc, vitamin D, vitamin A, and selenium.

This is all described in my UltraThyroid Solution. I go through everything in step-by-step detail. It’s a 7-step, goof-proof plan for fixing your thyroid. I encourage you to check it out. Learn what you need to do, and fix your thyroid, because you don’t have to feel tired and crummy all the time. There is a way out.

Originally posted on my website, DrHyman.com

photo by: adria.richards

5 Nutrient-Packed Foods for Healthy Hair

de5de856512394ea_shutterstock_96575575.previewMany of us assume that buying the best shampoos and conditioners will be enough to keep our hair looking healthy. These products do help to repair existing hair damage but don’t do much to promote new hair growth and cannot replace essential vitamins that we may be missing from our diet. There are certain essential vitamins and minerals that our hair relies upon, and a lack of these is often the source of many hair growth problems. Some simple changes to our diet can really make a big difference to the look of our hair.

Modern lifestyles can also have an impact – a busy lifestyle, lack of sleep, or even pregnancy can seriously make a difference in our hair health. Vitamin supplements have  been proven to help, but if you are looking for the most natural sources of these vitamins then here is a list of 5 food types foods that can help to provide those essential vitamins your hair needs.


Many sources site that salmon is the number 1 super food for healthy hair. This is because it contains a great combination of essential substances that our hair simply loves. Omega 3 oils help maintain a well hydrated scalp, and many believe this is essential to maintaining healthy hair growth. Oily fish such as herring, mackerel and sardines are rich in omega-3, and salmon is also rich in Vitamin D which is great for your hair follicles.

If you are someone who doesn’t like eating fish then certain vegetable sources can be a great way to get the omega-3 you need. Rapeseed, flaxseed, soya beans, walnuts, almond and even tofu are all good sources of Omega-3.

Vegetables with Beta-carotene

Beta carotene is present in many vegetables and provides us with a great source of Vitamin A. For many people who suffer from dandruff a simple addition of vitamin A to their diet can help solve the problem. Vitamin A helps to promote sebum oil which is our body’s natural conditioner for our scalp. It can also help with hair growth problems as it is said to assist with oxygenating our scalp. Sweet potatoes are known to be one of the best sources, and other vegetables such as carrots, spinach, and broccoli are also recommended.


Oysters are also recommended to help fight scalp problems such as dandruff. A lack of zinc in your diet may even be the cause of hair loss, and oysters have a particularly high zinc content. Zinc helps promote the level of androgens in our body, and for some people a low level of androgens has been directly linked to hair loss. Crab, liver and beef are also good sources of zinc.

Eggs and other biotin rich foods

Our hair is essentially built using protein, a nutrient that has been associated with speeding up hair growth. Protein can be found in many types of foods, but eggs are one of the best sources. Another important mineral in eggs is biotin, and those who have a biotin deficiency may suffer from brittle hair. To prevent this, biotin has been proven to be effective from both foods and supplements if needed. Kidney beans and nuts such as almonds and even peanuts are also good sources of biotin.

Fruit and vegetables with Vitamin C

Vitamin C is great for both our hair and skin. Vitamin C helps keep our blood vessels oxygenated, which in turn keeps our hair follicles healthy. Super fruits such as blueberries have a very high level of Vitamin C, and strawberries and citrus fruits are also good sources. Many vegetables such as green beans, spinach and broccoli are good sources, and the old-fashioned rule of eating colorful vegetables can give you a good indication of a high vitamin C content, as well.

You may have identified that one of these essential sources of vitamins is missing from your diet, and that may well be the cause of a particular problem. If you are concerned and believe you may have a nutrient deficiency then simple tests at your doctors can identify what vitamins and minerals you may be lacking. This Women’s Hair PDF can also help you to diagnose any hair health problems you may have!

Can Fish Oil Cause Prostate Cancer? (Part 2)

Pills vitamin supplementsClick here for Part 1!

Consider the Japanese

If it is true that taking fish oil or raising your blood levels of omega-3 phospholipids increases risk for prostate cancer, then why hasn’t this been a problem for Japanese men? They certainly eat their fair share of fatty fish and have done so for generations! The Japanese (and other fish-loving cultures) have been studied many times to test this hypothesis, and guess what? Males in Japan, while having some of the highest levels of EPA and DHA, also have some of the lowest rates of prostate cancer. Only in the most recent studies have Japanese men been shown to have an increase in prostate cancer. Could it be that, as the Japanese begin to abandon their traditional diet of fish, seaweed, and other sea vegetables for the typical SAD (standard American diet, high in saturated fat and linoleic fatty acids), their risk of prostate cancer rises?

It seems that for every claim against fish and fish oil, there are several studies that confirm their benefits. One study, Consumption of Fish Products Across the Lifespan and Prostate Cancer Risk, showed that high blood plasma phospholipids was protective against prostate cancer when fish oil was consumed. Another study showed that omega-3 fatty acids protect against death caused by prostate cancer. And what about the effect of fish oils on the outcome of prostate cancer in men with elevated PSA levels? Again, the literature shows that EPA and DHA have no negative effect.

Personalized Medicine

It’s important to stop and remember that each person has a unique inner ecology and external environment. Contributing factors, such as exposure to environmental toxicity, poor nutrition, and other lifestyle variables, as well as genetics, all play a role in the development of cancer. It’s a complicated disease, and it would be a good idea to pause and look at the whole picture before drawing any major conclusions.

The simple fact is that countless studies have proven the health benefits of eating a diet rich in antioxidants and fiber from fruits and vegetables. And just as we all know that eating your veggies is good for your health, we are now beginning to prove similar health benefits from including healthy fats in your diet. (For more information on how to increase your intake of healthy fats, please see my discussion here). We also know that limiting omega-6 fatty acids and increasing omega-3 fatty acids has been shown to reduce the risk of diabesity in Western cultures.

So, before we toss good medicine aside, we need to examine carefully the factors that contribute to imbalances in the body. We need to assess what we do know and keep asking questions about what we don’t.

We know that a whole foods-based diet, rich in fresh, nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and lean protein, does make a positive difference in health outcomes. We know that high-quality, purified fish oils are best. We know that a balanced and varied diet is key for maintaining good health. And we know that moderation is the key to a healthy and sensible relationship to food. Any diet or program promoting an extreme is not realistic, sustainable, or even remotely healthy. Remember, the “dose makes the poison,” so just the right amount—and not too much—will allow you to reap the intended benefits. In the case of fish oil, 1-2 grams daily is appropriate for most people, though some of you may need more. I strongly suggest you work with a trained functional medicine practitioner to help you determine the appropriate doses you need, not only for fish oil but for all supplements. My nutrition coaches are here to help you transform general guidelines into personalized solutions.

So, where do I stand on whether fish oil causes prostate cancer?  I’ll be eating sardines in my salad for lunch tomorrow, and I’ll be taking my daily fish oil supplement with my dinner tonight. And I hope you will be too!

Now, I’d like to hear from you…

Have you been swayed by recent reports to feel that omega-3s can cause prostate cancer?

Will you limit the amount of omega-6 fatty acids you consume?

What are some of your favorite ways to include fatty fish in your diet?


Originally published on my website, DrHyman.com.

Can Fish Oil Cause Prostate Cancer? (Part 1)

SalmonWhenever a newly published health study challenges current thinking, you can bet it won’t be long before the news media starts ratcheting up the drama and jumping to conclusions. This is true of a recent study called “Plasma Phospholipid Fatty Acids and Prostate Cancer Risk in the SELECT Trial,” published in the July 2013 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. This study suggests a higher risk of prostate cancer among men who eat omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in fatty fish like sardines and salmon or in fish oil supplements.

Because I encourage my patients and readers to get plenty of omega-3s, I want to respond to these reports and offer my answer to the question they’ve raised: can fish oil cause prostate cancer? But first, let’s examine the findings.

What the Study Found

The study, which was conducted at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA, claims a link between increased blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids and increased incidence of prostate cancer. The highest blood plasma levels of these polyunsaturated fatty acids, specifically EPA, DHA and DPA, were associated with the highest risk. The research also showed that higher levels of linoleic acid (or omega-6 fatty acids, which most Americans eat too much of) were actually associated with a lowered risk. This would suggest that the more fish or fish oil a man included in his diet, the greater the chances he would develop prostate cancer. It would also mean that increasing his omega-6 fatty acid intake would be a good idea.

So, have I led you astray by telling you to eat your fatty fish and limit your intake of processed vegetable oils that contain omega-6 fatty acids? Should I warn you against taking fish oil and instead tell you to eat more cottonseed and sunflower seed oils? Let’s look at the facts and decide.

A Closer Look at the Study 

This study used what is called a retrospective case controlled cohort design. Simply put, to make their conclusions, researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center used data from a previous study conducted in 2011 called the SELECT (Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial). It’s important to note that the original SELECT study did not have the same objective as this current one.  It wasn’t designed to determine whether fish oil led to prostate cancer. The fact that both studies didn’t have the same goal calls into question whether the old data is even relevant to the new study.

What we can be sure of is that association does not prove cause and effect. If this had been an intervention design study, where half the participants got fish oil and half didn’t and they were followed for 20 years to see if they got prostate cancer, then you can say pretty definitively that they are connected. Bottom line, this type of study does not prove cause and effect. If I did a study on sunrise and humans waking up, I would find 100% correlation, but that doesn’t mean that the sun came up because you woke up. Correlation, yes; causation, no.

Another problem with the study is that the researchers did not address whether the men who were studied got their omega-3 fatty acids from eating fatty fish or from taking supplements. Also, there was no regard for their health status before starting the study. Did they start using fish oil as a therapy once diagnosed with prostate cancer or had they been taking it all along?

And what about the myriad other factors that can lead to the onset and progression of cancer, such as how lifestyle affects genetics? Smoking, nutrition, exercise, environmental toxicity, stress: none of these things were taken into account. It is too simplistic to reduce a disease as complex as cancer down to one trigger. In fact, perhaps we should be asking if these men were exposed to toxins and heavy metals from eating mercury-containing fish, which can cause cancer. Or did the men smoke or drink to excess? Was there a history of cancer in the family? What was their personal health history prior to diagnosis? Were they overweight or obese, and did they have other symptoms of diabesity?

Another major flaw with this study’s design involves the way the researchers got their data. They analyzed blood plasma instead of red blood cells. And they did so with one single blood draw! The conclusions would have been stronger and more reliable had they used red blood cell samples, because those provide a more accurate assessment over the long term (plasma tends to provide only a short-term picture). Because the research was based only on samples of a single blood draw, the red blood cell analysis would have given a better picture of long-term omega-3 intake (a couple months of eating salmon, for example, instead of what happens in the body after a single meal). That’s why I suggest people use the omega-3 index test, which measures levels from within the red blood cells.

Stay tuned for Part 2!


Originally published on my website, DrHyman.com

Weekly Health Tip: Fish and Mercury—The Right Amount of Caution



When you order fish in a restaurant these days, you might feel you need a marine biologist to help you make your selection rather than a waiter. Figuring out which fish is safe to eat—and how often you should eat fish—has become fraught with worry, mainly due to concerns about mercury content. You might be tempted to swear off seafood completely to keep things simple. But if you do, you’ll miss out on the health benefits of eating fish, including the heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids in many fish. A wiser approach is to understand why mercury is a concern and when to avoid certain seafood.   


Where the mercury comes from How does mercury get into fish and shellfish in the first place? Mercury is a metal that occurs naturally in several forms. The kind inside your thermometer is called elemental or metal mercury. It’s used to make dental fillings and some batteries. It’s also used in chemical manufacturing plants, coal burning plants, and other industries, and that’s how it ends up in your swordfish steak. Industrial pollution releases elemental mercury into the air. Rain then washes the mercury out of the air and into streams and oceans where it gets turned into methylmercury. Fish and shellfish absorb methylmercury as they feed and it builds up in the animals’ tissues over time. That’s why larger and older fish tend to have the most mercury.  


Risks to the developing nervous system Most of our exposure to mercury comes from the methylmercury in contaminated fishIngesting excessive amounts of mercury is not good for anyone. In adults, it can cause damage to the nervous system, as well as the immune system and heart. But the greatest health risk from the mercury in seafood is to fetuses, infants, and very young children. Even small amounts of mercury in a pregnant or nursing woman’s blood can damage the developing nervous system of a fetus or infant. Nerve cells multiply and grow at a rapid rate during gestation and infancy and are especially sensitive to mercury. Scientists aren’t sure exactly how the metal does its damage, but they think that it may stop the growth of dendrites and axons, the fibers on the cells that deliver and receive signals. Studies of populations that consume large amounts of seafood have found that children who were exposed to methylmercury in the womb or shortly after birth had altered memory, attention, and language development.  


So how much mercury is too much? Scientists don’t know precisely what level of mercury in the blood leads to harmful effects. Studies show that children suffer developmental delays when their mother’s blood level is as low as 30 to 40 ng/mL (nanograms per milliliter), while adults usually don’t show symptoms of mercury poisoning until their levels are higher. Fortunately, most people have some built-in protection against mercury: A genetically determined mechanism causes the body to expel the metal in 30-40 days. A Swedish biologist recently discovered that a small portion of the population carries a genetic mutation that makes their cells retain mercury much longer—in rare cases up to 190 days—and those people may be at higher risk. 

While mercury poisoning from eating seafood is relatively rare, the early signs include tingling and numbness in fingers and toes and poor muscle coordination. The treatment for mercury poisoning caused by eating contaminated fish is simple: You stop eating the fish and wait for levels to come down naturally.  


Guidelines for eating seafood Of course a better solution is to avoid ingesting too much mercury in the first place. That’s easy to do. For most adults, eating fish and shellfish is not a health risk—and it’s important to get the health benefits of fish. Seafood is an excellent source of high-quality protein and iron, and it’s low in saturated fat. And fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as trout, salmon, and tuna, can lower your risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular problems. That’s why the American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fish a week. 


However, women who may become pregnant or are already pregnant, nursing mothers, and young children need to be more careful. The FDA advises pregnant or nursing women to avoid four fish that contain high levels of mercury: shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. Instead, they should eat up to 12 ounces a week of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury. These include shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, Pollock, and catfish. If you eat canned albacore (“white”) tuna, limit your intake to 6 ounces per week because it has higher mercury content. Young children should eat smaller portions of these fish.  


While pregnant and nursing women should avoid high-mercury fish, they should not stop eating seafood, according to the FDA and others. That’s because fish and shellfish contains nutrients that are important for a baby’s growth. Plus, the omega-3 fatty acids in many fish can actually promote the baby’s brain development (they help adult brains function better, too). So next time you’re ordering fish, don’t panic. Just make sure you eat a variety of seafood (not a steady diet of the four high-mercury fish) and follow the guidelines if you are pregnant or nursing.  


Learn more about limiting your exposure to environmental toxins 






Guide To Creatures Of The Sea

Have you glanced at an atlas recently? I was playing with one this morning and I realized how massive and important the sea is for our survival. Can you believe 72 percent of our earth’s surface is the sea? It leads me to think, How are we treating the sea and its garden?

If you live in the smallest village in Asia or the busy streets of NYC, the sea’s garden has been an important and essential source of food for you. The manner that we, as a society, have farmed fish has been causing our society ecological damage. The fishing industry defends fish farming as a source of cheap, high-quality protein. The feedlots these fisherman use produce chemical runoff from antibiotics, pesticides, detergents, and tons of fish feces. The good news for our health and the environment is we can easily change and protect our ocean and earth’s surface through purchasing sustainable, organic, and delicious seafood.
Organizations such as Blue Ocean Institute rate fish and seafood by its abundance and ecological impact of fishing methods. Check out Monterey Bay Aquarium to see what the best choice of fish is to purchase and what to avoid eating.
You have heard the caution from the news, your doctor, your friends and your mother about staying clear of the wild fish such as swordfish, shark, mackerel, and tilefish. Since they are higher up the food chain, meaning they are large carnivores fish, they contain more mercury. Mercury is an environmental pollutant that accumulates in the fish’s tissue and is known to cause brain damage.
You can visit www.gotmercury.org to find out how much mercury you could have consumed. This can be some ungratifying information to digest. Here are some great and simple tips. Eat cilantro! It’s that simple to release and expel the harmful toxins from your body. If you are looking to take the next step you can go on a Private Cleanse. If you do suspect mercury poisoning, you should see a doctor. All these facts have lead the FDA advising children and pregnant women not to eat large wild fish. But it’s unwise to avoid fish altogether.
Why? We gain massive benefits from consuming fish. Don’t fear the mercury in fish. Understand how important fish oil is for you and what’s the right way to shop. Keep it simple. Avoid the big carnivorous fish and eat plenty of small, fatty ones, like the anchovy, herring and mackerel. Herbivorous farmed fish such as catfish, carp, trout, and tilapia are good choices when you want to stand clear of mercury.
Why is eating fish one of the smartest and easiest things you can do for your health? Most fish are high protein, low fat and high in omega-3 fatty acids foods. Eating fish for Omega-3 is key because our bodies don’t have the ability to make this essential fatty acid and can only get it from fish. Some of the great health benefits of Omega-3 include reducing tissue inflammation, regulating blood sugar levels and fat burning, creating more happy endorphins, natal neurological development and maintaining cardiovascular health. The research linking Omega-3 fats to heart health is so strong that the American Heart Association urges healthy people to eat fish twice a week. Cold-water, oily fish like sardines, mackerel, herring, salmon, and tuna contain the most Omega-3 fats for your body. If you are not a fish eater or have an allergy, take a high-quality capsule or liquid fish oil. Consult your doctor before hand.
 If you are a fish lover but not sure which fish is a good choice, here are some healthy tips for you and the environment when selecting your fish dish: 
– Herrings and Sardines contain the highest amount of Omega-3 fatty acids of all the fish.
– To get the highest amount of protein and lowest mercury when selecting a Mackerel, choose a smaller species like Atlantic, Pacific or Spanish.
– Pacific and Wild Salmon is a great choice. Alaskan Salmon is regarded as the best salmon for your health because they come from clean, well-managed fisheries.

Catch Of The Day: Clean Fish Is Providing Families And Five Star Restaurants Fresh And Safe Food

From Thomas Keller’s French Laundry in Napa Valley to Eric Ripert’s Le Bernardin in New York City, to Andrew Johnston’s taquería The Little Chihuahua in San Francisco, chefs around the country are singing the praises of CleanFish, a company committed to promoting great tasting, sustainably produced, authentic artisan seafood.

Formed in 2004 by founders Tim O’Shea and Dale Sims, the company connects small-scale fish suppliers with distributors to get sustainable seafood to restaurant kitchens and supermarkets, in an effort build a market for sustainable aquaculture and wild fishing that doesn’t damage the environment.  But praises from chefs and the culinary world are not all.

CleanFish has also gotten a nod from the business world, as well. In May 2009, BusinessWeek named listed them as one of the “Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs”. And TIME magazine called them “Responsibility Pioneer" and one of 25 companies "big and small old and new…changing the world". It is a company that is doing well by doing good.


How Clean Fish Operates:

In Photo: Tim O’Shea, 59, and Dale Sims, 61

Clean Fish co-founder and CEO Tim O’Shea describes large-scale commercial fishing as "Hoovering up ecosystems.” I take this as a commentary on our over-fished and over-harvested oceans.  O’Shea’s operation has four full-time "Clean Fish evangelists" among his 30-strong staff, separate from his sales force, who work to educate chefs and consumers about how they source their fish. The company’s suppliers—24 artisan fish producers they call the Clean Fish Alliance—have already been able to expand because Clean Fish increased the market for their seafood. The company’s revenue has been doubling each year for three years, and CleanFish expects to top $20 million in 2009.


It’s Not Just Restaurants, It’s The Environment:

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), humans are responsible for:

  • Removing about 8% of the total primary production of the aquatic ecosystem each year.
  • Harvesting and consuming more than one fourth of the annual fish production of ocean upwelling regions and tropical marine shelves.
  • Removing about 35% of temperate shelf region productivity.
  • Over harvesting to this extent can greatly affect the biodiversity of many important aquatic ecosystems and local industry and the economy.

Overharvesting to this extent can greatly affect the biodiversity of many important aquatic ecosystems and local industry and the economy.

Clean Fish’s ethos is based on the ideal of a marketplace that rewards human-scale fisheries where wild fish are harvested responsibly. They believe this demands conscious restraint appropriate from fishermen who know over-harvesting for this year’s market will only hurt the viability of fish stocks in the future. And their belief system is being embraced by top chefs and the business world alike. 

The next time you are going out to dinner or getting fish from your local grocery store, check to see if it is Clean Fish.

For more information, visit CleanFish.

Photos: courtesy of BusinessWeek, Le Bernadin, Food Network.

Eat Fish, Be Happy

It’s amazing! When researchers took a close look at the foods typically eaten in various countries, they discovered an interesting insight: as fish consumption increased, depression decreased. Of course, depression isn’t uniform in each country; it varies from city to city and town to town. But what is consistent is this: People who consume the most fish (found in Japan, Thailand, and Hong Kong) were the least depressed, while those with the lowest fish consumption (found in North America, Europe, and New Zealand) had the highest rates of depression. And the secret seems to be the abundance of a particular type of fat found in fish (and in other foods): omega-3 fatty acids.

Fish-fat findings
A closer look at the Japanese diet sheds still more light on the fish-omega 3-depression link: Typically, about 15 times more omega-3s are in the diet of the Japanese than are in the American diet. Depression-wise, this translates into a Japanese culture with one-tenth the depression rate of Americans. Viewed from another vantage point, this means that almost 50% of elderly Americans have symptoms of depression, compared with about 2% of the Japanese elderly. Even more striking is the discovery in 1995 by psychiatrists who interviewed elders living in a Japanese fishing village: they did not find even one case of clinical depression.
Anatomy of Omega 3s and Mood
How might Omega-3 fats ward off depression?  One of the omega 3s—with the long name of docosahesaenoic (DNA)—is believed to boost the blues because it is concentrated in the brain. Contributing to about 50% of the total fats in nerve tissue, they play a key role in the functioning of nerve membranes, and in turn, your nervous system. Add the link between deficiencies in omega-3 fatty acids and low levels of serotonin, and you’re more vulnerable to depression.
Fish for feel-good feelings
From dreary doldrums to a deeper depression, a diet that is deficient in omega-3 fats can contribute to the problem. Here are some omega-3-rich fish to integrate into your diet.
Seafood (3 ounces, before cooking)
Sardines, in sardine oil  (3.3 grams omega 3s)                                                                                                     
Mackerel, Atlantic  (2.5 grams omega 3s)                                                                                                             
Trout, lake (1.6 grams omega 3s)                                                                                                       
Anchovy, European (1.4 grams omega 3s)                                                                                                           
Salmon, pink (1.0 grams omega 3s)
Two or three servings are all you need each week to get the benefits of fish oil (while avoiding too much mercury and other toxins often found in fish). If you find it’s not always convenient to eat omega-3-rich fish, it’s a good idea to consider supplementing your diet with a good fish oil supplement that is mercury and toxin-free. Keep in mind that fish oil-rich food is your best defense against depression, but taking a daily supplement can also be good insurance against deficiency. For more insights into natural mood boosters, read “Get High with Movement and Motion," by Deborah Kesten, MPH.
Deborah Kesten, MPH, was the nutritionist on Dean Ornish, MD’s first clinical trial for reversing heart disease through lifestyle changes—without drugs or surgery, and Director of Nutrition on similar research in cardiovascular clinics in Europe. Specializing in preventing and reversing overweight and heart disease through lifestyle changes, she is the award-winning author of Feeding the Body, Nourishing the Soul, The Healing Secrets of Food, and The Enlightened Diet. Call her at 415.810.7874, or visit her at www.Enlightened-Diet.com to take her FREE What’s Your Eating Style? Quiz, and to learn more about her Whole Person Nutrition Program for wellness, weight loss, and heart-health; coaching; and books.

Green Fish? Montereybay Aquarium hosts Seafood Watch for Sushi Lovers and Others

Seafood Watch: Montereybay Aquarium offers an online green guide for making ocean friendly sushi choices. http://snurl.com/i4ktu – As their website explains: 

"There are only so many fish in the ocean. The choices we make today determine tomorrow’s ocean wildlife."

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