There’s a shift happening for humanity, but it’s a tipping point that many Americans are unaware of. According to a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization report, sometime in 2013, for the first time in history, farm-raised fish may become a greater source of seafood for the world than ocean fishing. In other words, the last wild food we still eat as a species will be truly “wild” no longer.
Fish matter! Seafood is at the heart of many of the world’s diets, such as the Mediterranean and Okinawan eating styles. Fish and seafood are rich in a variety of minerals (like selenium), vitamin B12, high-quality protein, and omega-3 fats. That’s why Dr. Oz talks about seafood regularly when he’s pointing you toward foods that cultivate optimal health.
While consumers may feel confused at the fish counter – Farmed or wild? Local or global? What about mercury and PCBs? – there is a clear bright spot that is certain: The consumer has power in shaping the global fish market and can help to shift the system to be more sustainable by more carefully choosing what to buy. With that simple goal in mind, why not dig your fork into one of these delicious fish?
Get Hooked on These Four Fish
Here are four fish to try right now, whether you’re at a fish counter or a restaurant. They deliver big taste and real health benefits.
Also called coley, saithe is a flaky, mild white fish that’s very similar to cod in texture, but a more sustainable catch. Perfect for the grill this summer, or delicious pan seared and served over whole wheat couscous and lightly steamed dark leafy greens.
This flavorful fish (think somewhere between trout and salmon – its flesh is a light pink color) is a surprising source of omega-3 fats. A 3.5-oz serving has 1,000 mg omega-3s and just 185 calories. Try it grilled, steamed, poached, blackened or broiled for a delicious summer meal.
This Asian sea bass is a “sustainable cousin” to the much loved, but much over-fished Chilean sea bass. Barramundi’s rich, buttery texture makes it a favorite of chefs, and I call it the “perfect fish for people who don’t like fish.” I introduced it to Dr. Oz, and it soon became one of his suggested superfoods. Have you tried it yet? Here’s how: Simmer it in tomato sauce with capers and black olives, give it a go in grilled fish tacos, or add it to parchment paper “boats” with some olive oil, lemon slices and fresh summer herbs and toss on the grill.
Before you say “No way,” let me ask you this: Do you like southern Italian pasta sauces? Or the taste of “umami”? Sardines are often the secret ingredient behind both. Wild-caught Pacific sardines are some of the leanest, greenest foods for your family, loaded with vitamin D, omega-3 fats and more. Fresh sardines are wonderful grilled and drizzled with a squirt of lemon over a salad. Canned sardines melt marvelously into the background of your favorite low sodium tomato sauce – just sauté some onions and garlic and a canned sardine, then add the sauce. Or, mash one canned sardine into homemade Caesar dressing – great on salads, green beans or chopped dark greens like baby kale.
Want more lean and green seafood choices? Check out the The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s “Super Green List.” It highlights seafood and fish that are currently on the Seafood Watch “Best Choices” (green) list, low in environmental contaminants, and good sources of omega-3 fats. You can also find some delicious and healthy recipes.