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These Varieties Of Fish Have The Highest Levels Of Mercury

Mercury can be highly toxic to humans, here are top 5 varieties of fish with high mercury content.

These Varieties Of Fish Have The Highest Levels Of Mercury

Mercury is highly toxic to humans, especially for expectant mothers


  1. Lobsters are high in mercury, sodium and cholesterol
  2. Ahi and other tuna varieties are pretty high in mercury
  3. Farm raise salmon would be a much healthier choice

Fish is considered to be one of the healthiest foods available and for a good reason. One can simply go on for hours to discuss its benefits for the overall health of a person. But are all varieties of fish just as healthy? Turns out, they're not. Some varieties of fish are loaded with mercury which in no way leaves them healthy, or even safe enough for regular consumption. This metal is highly toxic to humans, especially for expectant mothers.

Nutritionist Pooja Malhotra says, "Mercury poisoning can produce toxic effects. It is a neurotoxin and poisons the central as well as peripheral nervous system, and also has a damaging effect on the kidneys. Even small amounts of mercury can interfere with brain development. Children below 6 years of age, pregnant and nursing women and even women who are planning to conceive within a year's time should avoid eating fish that are known to have high levels of mercury."

Here's a list of the top 5 fishes with very high levels of mercury.

1. Shark

Sharks are at the top of the food chain as it consumes other fish in the sea as well. Due to this, they accumulate too much mercury overtime and carry much more than all other fishes.


Photo Credit: iStock

2. Mahi Mahi

Mahi Mahi usually comes on a platter topped with salsa and a delicious buttery flavor which this fish is blessed with. However, there is another ingredient that comes to your plate with the fish and that is mercury. Doesn't sound so healthy and delicious now, does it? This can be quite harmful to expectant mothers. Farm raised salmon would be a much healthier choice. This variety is rich in protein and omega 3 fatty acids and is very healthy for consumption.

mahi mahi

Photo Credit: iStock

3. King mackerel

King mackerel is that vicious predator which in no way is recommended for consumption. High mercury levels in this fish can be potentially harmful to your health.


Photo Credit: iStock

Mercury in no way is good for your health, but that does not mean that you cannot engage in once-in-a-while indulgences. You surely can enjoy these fishes once or twice a month but not too often. Pregnant women, however, need to control their temptations for the sake of their health and for their baby too.

4. Lobster

Lobsters are high not in mercury, but in sodium and cholesterol as well. This can take a very negative toll on your heart. You could opt for crabs instead. They are much lower in mercury, cholesterol, and calories.

lobsters food seafood

Photo Credit: iStock

5. Tuna

Ahi and other tuna varieties are pretty high in mercury. Though canned varieties of food are not highly recommended as compared to the fresh varieties, for tuna you must opt for the canned variety as they can be lower in mercury content. Fresh Ahi tuna does not have many alternatives to it but tilapia can be consumed in its place as a safer variety.


Photo Credit: iStock

"Whenever in doubt, remember one key rule, the lower an organism sits in a food chain, the lesser amount of mercury it could have; higher up organisms tend to accumulate lot more mercury as they eat up a lot of smaller organisms.," says Pooja. 

(Pooja Malhotra is a city-based nutritionist)

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Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information. 


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