It’s no secret that when it comes to seafood, there are a lot of misconceptions out there. So, this month we’ve rounded up five of our favorite “fish tales” to dish the truth on!
1. In the U.S., more than 90% of the seafood we enjoy in restaurants and shop for at retail is sourced globally – meaning, from outside the United States.
True! The majority of the seafood we eat in the U.S. is either fished or farmed in other parts of the world and then imported here for consumers to enjoy. To ensure they are sustainable, America’s seafood stocks are responsibly managed by the U.S. government. Meanwhile, the waters in other parts of the world provide a variety of delicious seafood at a greater yield. Pro Tip: All the seafood at the grocery store is labeled with info about where it came from. If you are curious at the restaurant, just ask your server!
2. You should only eat shellfish in months that contain an R.
False! You may have heard this ol’ fish tale in relation to oysters, but it is not a concern if the shellfish is from your grocer or on the menu at an eatery. So where does this myth come from? The most-common explanation is that the summer months are ripe for the formation of large blooms of algae, which can contain toxins that are absorbed by some shellfish. But, rest assured, you may continue to enjoy shellfish in May, June, July and August (but leave the harvesting to the pros).
3. Eating seafood when you are pregnant will support your baby’s brain development.
True! Eating seafood regularly during pregnancy is vital for keeping both baby and mom healthy. In fact, research shows that the nutrients found in fatty fish – particularly nutrients such as the omega-3s DHA and EPA – are especially beneficial for baby’s brain and eye development, as well as mom’s heart, skin and mood. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend that pregnant women, breastfeeding moms and women who plan to become pregnant should consume at least 2 to 3 servings of a variety of seafood each week. There are seven types of fish that moms-to-be, breastfeeding moms and even young children need to avoid: shark, swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel, orange roughy, marlin and bigeye tuna (found in sushi). For more info, check out this Seafood Pregnancy Guide.
4. Skip the shrimp if you have high cholesterol.
False! (Are you still there or did you already run out to get some shrimp?) This falsehood comes from the fact that shrimp is higher in dietary cholesterol than some other seafood. But recent research shows that eating shrimp has a net positive effect on cholesterol in the body. Don’t just take our word for it—both the American Heart Association (AHA) and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan recommend shrimp as a heart-healthy choice. So, don’t skimp on shrimp!
5. If I cook fish, my kitchen is going to smell like fish.
True! OK, yes, it’s true your kitchen will smell like fish if you indeed cook fish in there. But here we are to save the day, and we bet you already have some of the ingredients for these magic solutions in the pantry. Pro Tip #1: Before you start cooking, place a small bowl of white vinegar on the counter or near the cooking location. The vinegar will absorb the fish “fragrance.” Pro Tip #2: While you are cooking, put a medium pot of water on the stove and add to it a cinnamon stick (or 2!), 1 teaspoon of cloves, and 1 teaspoon of ground ginger. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Ta-da!