Fish: Friend or Foe?

Fish is a very important part of a healthy diet. Fish and other seafood are the major sources of omega-3 fats and are also rich in other nutrients such as vitamin D and selenium. Furthermore, it is low in fat and high in protein.  There is strong evidence that eating fish or taking fish oil is good for the heart and reduces the risk from heart disease by 36 percent.

To reap the mentioned benefits of fish, the recommendation is to eat fish two to three times per week. Unfortunately, fewer than one in five people follow that advice. The most common reasons for this are that some people may simply not like fish, perceptions about cost, access to stores that sell fish and uncertainty about how to prepare or cook fish. But more recently the, researchers realised that people avoid seafood because they worry that they—or their children—will be harmed by mercury, pesticide residues or other possible toxins that are in some types of fish.

Should you forgo fish because of the contaminants they might carry? It’s a controversial topic that is often fueled more by emotion than by fact.  Here’s what’s known about the benefits and risks of eating fish and other seafood:

  • Known or likely benefits: In a comprehensive analysis, Harvard professors calculated that eating one or two servings of fatty fish a week, reduces the chances of dying from heart disease by more than one-third. Furthermore, eating fish once or twice a week may also reduce the risk of stroke, depression and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Possible risks: Numerous pollutants make their way into the foods we eat, from fruits and vegetables to eggs, fish and meat. The contaminants of most concern today are mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Very high levels of mercury can damage nerves in adults and disrupt development of the brain and nervous system in a fetus or young child.

Striking a Balance

Avoiding fish is certainly one way to avoid mercury or PCBs – but is that a wise choice, given the benefits of eating fish?

Here is how the research put in into perspective:

  • If people will eat farmed salmon twice a week for 70 years, the extra PCB intake could potentially cause 24 extra deaths from cancer—but would prevent at least 7,000 deaths from heart disease.
  • Levels of PCBs in fish are very low, similar to levels in meats, dairy products and eggs.
  • More than 90 percent of the PCBs in food supply come from such non-seafood sources, including meats, dairy, eggs and vegetables.  One exception: if you eat local caught freshwater fish, it makes sense to consult local advisories about the amounts of such fish you should eat.

In fact, the easiest way to avoid concern about contaminants is simply to eat a variety of fish and other seafood.

Recommended fish or seafood on Slender Wonder:

Low Mercury

Low Mercury

Moderate Mercury

Higher Mercury

Hake / Cape Whiting/ Haddock *


Prawns (Not farmed)

Tuna (Fresh/Brine)

Prawns (Farmed)

Sole (Pacific)


Cod (Kabeljou)











* Traditionally hake was known as “stock fish” for its use as victuals for passing fleets in the 17th century. Hake is also marketed as “Cape Whiting” and in its smoked form as “Haddock”.    

And to end off, here is a preview of what you can expect in our new recipe book – try this delicious shrimp recipe……

Slender Wonder Ceviche


Go Moderate




100 g

120 g

150 g

200 g

Shrimp, cooked and cooled down

45 ml

55 ml

70 ml

90 ml

Lemon juice

20 g

25 g

25 g

35 g

Onion, chopped



1 ½


Clove(s) garlic, crushed and minced

2 g

2.5 g

2.5 g

3 g

Fresh Parsley, chopped

100 g

125 g

125 g

165 g

Tomatoes, diced





Tabasco to taste





Herbal salt





Freshly ground black pepper to taste


1.Steam the shrimp or fish and let it cool down.

2.Add lemon juice, onion, garlic and chopped parsley.

3.Stir in diced tomatoes and Tabasco.

4.Chill and marinate the ingredients in the refrigerator.

Traditionally, ceviche is not cooked. The citric acids “cook” the fish. This can be an alternative to cooking the shrimp.

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