Why You Should Be Eating More Seafood

Steering clear of fish for environmental and health reasons? The bigger risk might be not getting enough of it.

Linda Cornish, founder of the nonprofit Seafood Nutrition Partnership, shops at The Organic Butcher of McLean. Photo by Liz Lynch

When the USDA released its latest nutrition guidelines in 2015, many media reports focused on the don’ts—particularly the recommendation that we cut back on red meat.

Cornish, who was born in Taiwan, where seafood is eaten two to three times a day, prefers to emphasize the do’s. A lot of good dietary habits involve pescatarian choices, she says, like occasionally swapping that hamburger for a salmon burger, or doing tacos with panko-crusted halibut instead of chicken.

Diners and home cooks in our area have an advantage when it comes to getting good fish. Not only do we have access to a variety of well-stocked markets and restaurants, we also have the abundant Chesapeake Bay watershed in our backyard.

Worried that you might inadvertently buy something that’s on the endangered list? Rest assured that most major retailers are doing the worrying for you. Some 80 percent of today’s big grocery chains, including brands like Walmart, Safeway and Target, are members of the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions, which maintains guidelines for sustainable seafood buying, selling and consumption. You aren’t likely to find so-called “Chilean sea bass” (a fancy-sounding euphemism for the slow-growing Antarctic toothfish) behind the counter if its current population has been depleted by overfishing.

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