You're Eating Too Much Fish If This Happens To You

Fish is a healthy, low-calorie protein that is encouraged by health experts to be a part of a balanced diet. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults eat at least eight ounces of seafood per week to enjoy its benefits (via FDA). Fish is often a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as other nutrients like protein, iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and selenium. Eating fish regularly has been shown to improve heart health, decrease the risk of some bone fractures, and aid in cognitive development.

However, there can be too much of a good thing, and fish is no exception. The main issue with eating fish too frequently is mercury poisoning. According to Keck Medicine of USC, all types of fish contain some mercury, which is a toxic metal that can be found throughout nature. Some types of fish tend to contain less mercury than others and are recommended for people worried about mercury poisoning. These include halibut, grouper, mahi-mahi, albacore tuna and canned tuna. Swordfish and large species of tuna, which have long lifespans, are two types of fish to eat sparingly.

What to know about mercury poisoning

Mercury poisoning is the effect of consuming large amounts of the toxic metal mercury. According to Healthline, small amounts of this substance are common in various foods and products and won't cause any health issues. However, large amounts can be serious. Mercury poisoning will mainly result in neurological effects like anxiety, depression, irritability, and memory problems. Other symptoms in adults may include hearing and speech issues, lack of coordination, muscle weakness, and vision changes.

Children and pregnant women need to be particularly careful about their intake of mercury. Mercury poisoning can affect cognitive development in children and fetal development for pregnant women. It is recommended that pregnant women eat no more than six ounces of tuna per week and no more than 12 ounces of other low-mercury fish per week. According to the FDA, children under the age of three should eat about two ounces of fish per week, children under the age of 10 should eat four to six ounces per week, and children 11 years and older should eat about eight ounces per week.