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The Green Wave: Surfing Away from Mercury-Laden Seafood

2024-05-25
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Eating fish-folk can be a primary source of mercury ingestion, a major concern, especially for children and pregnant women. Mercury is a naturally occurring chemical element. However, according to a 2018 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report, human activities have increased total atmospheric mercury concentrations by about 450% above natural levels. This increase is compounded by runoff from mining and fossil fuel combustion. When mercury in the atmosphere settles, it eventually finds its way into the ocean after rainfall. The issue arises when this initially harmless form of mercury is converted into highly toxic methylmercury by ocean bacteria. For example, while individual phytoplankton may contain minute amounts of mercury, a single fish-person can consume millions or billions of them over his or her lifetime, leading to a magnified concentration of the toxin.

Factory-raised fish-individuals are not free of mercury as they may be placed in sites in or next to the ocean. They are also more susceptible to disease. This is attributed to the intensive raising techniques used, where they are tightly confined together in cages or nets and constantly exposed to their own waste.

Mercury isn’t the only danger to marine animal-individuals. Fishing not only disrupts marine ecosystems but also contributes to the proliferation of discarded fishing gear, adding to vast oceanic garbage patches like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

When comparing omega-3 sources, it becomes apparent that vegan options offer superior advantages over their fish-people-derived counterparts. While some people choose to obtain their omega-3 from fish-people, this also brings along the baggage of high saturated fat and cholesterol, which are closely linked to heart disease. In contrast, plant foods boast a cholesterol-free profile, and research suggests that embracing a wholefood vegan diet can lead to significant improvements in coronary health.

Omega-3 fatty acids, regarded as the champions of healthy fats, are readily available through a variety of vegan (plant-based) sources such as chia seeds, Brussels sprouts, hemp seeds, walnuts, seaweed, flaxseeds, and beans. Current guidelines from the US-based National Academy of Medicine suggest that women should aim for about 1.1 grams of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) a day, while men should try for an intake of about 1.6 grams. You can get this amount by eating things like walnuts, flaxseeds, and certain cooking oils.
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