Mercury is a metal that’s been making big waves in the news in recent years due to the high levels of it found in different kinds of fish. It’s also one of the deadliest substances in the world for humans, even more so than lead, so it’s rise in the fish that we consume has become more alarming with every passing year.
Fortunately, mercury isn’t found in all species of fish, although this doesn’t mean that we’re completely safe from it. Sushi eaters might be particularly concerned about consuming too much mercury, so we will break down what it is and where it’s most commonly found.
Where It Comes From
Most of the mercury we find in fish starts its life out as methylmercury, an organic metal that, naturally, can only be found in tiny trace amounts. Most of this methylmercury begins its life from industry, such as coal-fired power stations, which then release the metal into the ocean as run off. Once it’s in the ocean, it gets consumed by phytoplankton, and then those plankton are consumed by larger fish, and the cycle continues. By the time it’s in the fish that we consume, it has undergone a process called biomagnification, which means that it’s highly concentrated, and can become a problem.
Luckily, it only tends to accumulate in certain fish, especially the ones that tend to be larger and have bigger fat reserves.
Fish With The Most Mercury
Only certain species are of a particular worry, which include swordfish, sea bass, ahi tuna, and sea bass all have higher concentrations of the compound than most others. Experts are on the fence about how many times these kinds of fish can be consumed as sushi, but it’s generally agreed that just once a week is a good place to stop. Nagiri and sashimi are dishes that should be avoided more often if possible, although they are okay every now and again. If a person does get overloaded with mercury, the body is able to readily dispose of it, although this can take a couple of months, and having too much in the body can cause serious health problems, so it’s best to avoid a build-up.
Fish That’s Okay To Eat
Fish that tend to be lower on the food chain are also better for us in terms of their mercury content. That means that, much to the delight of sushi lovers, any sushi that’s made from crab, shrimp, eel, and salmon, are okay to eat. In fact, experts believe that sushi made with these kinds of seafoods can be eaten up to four times per week either while during dinner or browsing great games online, although it’s important not to eat too much in a single week, as it is possible to put too much mercury into the system. It’s also recommended to eat a lot of veggies alongside the sushi, as many vegetables have been shown to have a protective effect on the body against the more severe symptoms of mercury overload.