7 Low Mercury Fish You Should Be Eating More

The FDA recently recommended consuming more fish, including pregnant women and nursing mothers, because emerging science clearly shows the benefits to heart health, brain development, and even bone strength from consuming fish as part of a healthy diet.  Fish are low-fat, high quality protein, filled with omega-3 fatty acids that when combined with nutrients like vitamin k2 have huge benefits for bones. It’s also rich in vitamins and minerals including D, B2 (riboflavin), calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and potassium.

Mercury has deterred some people from fish altogether, and is still a huge concern. The FDA is clear to avoid high mercury fish. Fortunately, some of the lowest mercury fish are also the most common and affordable. Here are 7 low mercury fish recommended by the FDA, prepared with our favorite bone-healthy recipes:

1. Shrimp
A very good source of vitamin D, which regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, essential for strong bones.

bone healthy grilled shrimp

Grilled Shrimp with Lime, Orange and Basil Oil
• 2 oranges
• 2 limes
• 1/2 cup olive oil
• 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
• 60 medium or large shrimp, peeled and deveined
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

In a large bowl, combine zest of 2 oranges and 2 limes, olive oil, and chopped fresh basil. Add shrimp, kosher salt, and black pepper; refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove shrimp from oil; discard oil. Grill shrimp over medium heat until opaque and slightly charred (about 2 minutes per side). Garnish, if desired.

2. Salmon
A 4 oz serving of wild salmon provides a full day’s requirement of vitamin D? It is one of the few foods that can make that claim.


Grilled Salmon Lemon Kebobs
• 2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
• 2 tsp sesame seeds
• 1 tsp ground cumin
• 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
• 1-1/2 pounds skinless wild salmon fillet, cut into 1-inch pieces
• 2 lemons, very thinly sliced into rounds
• olive oil cooking spray
• 1 tsp kosher salt
• 16 bamboo skewers soaked in water 1 hour

Thread salmon and folded lemon slices onto skewers and spray or brush fish with oil, salt and spice mixture. Grill on medium heat, turning occasionally, until fish is opaque throughout, about 8 to 10 minutes total.

3. Catfish
The low amount of calories in this fish (122 calories in a 3 oz serving) make it a popular choice for a healthy meal plan.

pecan crusted catfish

Cajun Pecan Crusted Catfish
• 1/2 cup nonfat buttermilk
• 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce, or 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
• 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
• 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
• 1/2 cup pecan pieces
• 1 pound catfish fillets, about 1 inch thick, cut into 4 portions
• Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with foil.

Blend buttermilk, hot sauce, oregano, chili powder and garlic salt in a shallow dish. Pulse pecans in food processor until coarsely chopped. Dip each catfish fillet in the buttermilk mixture, and then dredge in the pecans. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Bake catfish for 25 minutes, or until it flakes easily with a fork.

4. Cod
Rich in EPA and DHA - “long-chain” omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients reduce risk of death from coronary heart disease and decrease blood pressure, blood clot formation and triglycerides in your blood.

Baked Cod Casserole

Baked Cod Casserole
• 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
• 2 medium onion, very thinly sliced
• 1 cup dry white wine
• 1 ¼ lb cod, cut into 4 pieces
• 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
• ½ tsp kosher salt
• ½ tsp black pepper
• 1 ½ cup finely chopped whole-grain bread (about 2 slices)
• ½ tsp paprika½ tsp garlic powder1 cup finely shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until just starting to soften. Add wine, increase heat to high, and cook until the wine is slightly reduced, 2 to 4 minutes. Place cod on the onions and sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper. Cover the pan tightly with foil; transfer to the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Toss the bread with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, paprika and garlic powder in a small bowl. Spread the bread mixture over the fish and top with cheese. Bake, uncovered, until the fish is opaque in the center, about 10 minutes more.

5. Tilapia
Contains some unsaturated fat, calcium and a large amount of protein. In addition, it does contain a small amount of cholesterol, which may raise your risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease when consumed in excess.

walnut pesto tilapia

Tilapia with Cilantro-Walnut Pesto
• 1-3/4 cups lightly packed fresh cilantro sprigs
• 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
• 3 Tbs. toasted chopped walnuts
• 1 lemon, half squeezed to yield 1-1/2 Tbs. juice, half cut into wedges
• 1 medium clove garlic
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 4 tilapia or other firm white fish fillets (about 1 lb. total)
• 2 Tbs. unsalted butter

In a food processor or blender, combine the cilantro, 1/4 cup of the oil, the walnuts, lemon juice, garlic, 1/4 tsp. salt, a few grinds of pepper, and 3 Tbs. water. Process until mostly smooth; set aside. Pat the fish dry and season with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Heat the remaining 1 Tbs. oil and 1 Tbs. of the butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until the butter melts and its foam subsides. Cook 2 of the fillets, turning once, until browned and just cooked through, about 4 minutes total. Transfer to a platter, cover, and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining fish and 1 Tbs. butter, adjusting the heat as necessary.

6. Canned Light tuna
White tuna has more mercury than light tuna. The reason is that albacore are larger, older fish than the types used for light tuna, so they’ve had more time to accumulate methylmercury.

canned lite tuna penne

Nicoise Light Tuna Pasta Salad
• 1 pound penne or other small pasta
• 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed
• 6 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 2 6-oz. cans light tuna packed in water, drained
• 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
• 1/2 cup black olives, pitted and chopped
• 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
• 1 tablespoon capers, drained

Add pasta to boiling water andand cook until almost tender, about 8 minutes. Add green beans to pot and continue to boil until beans and pasta are both tender, about 2 minutes longer. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water. Run pasta and beans under cold water and drain again. Set pasta and green beans aside. In a large bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar and salt. Stir in tuna, tomatoes, olives, parsley and capers. Add pasta and green beans to bowl. Stir, adding reserved cooking water to moisten as necessary.

7. Pollock
As healthy a fish choice as cod and tuna except it is often served fried.

sweet and sour pollock

Marinated Sweet and Sour Pollock
• 3 tbsp olive oil
• 2 medium onions, peeled and cut into 1cm slices
• 1 tbsp coriander seeds
• 3 peppers (a mix of yellow and red), cut into 1cm slices
• 2 garlic cloves, crushed
• 3 bay leaves
• 2 tomatoes, chopped
• 1½ tbsp curry powder
• 2 tbsp honey
• 3 tbsp cider vinegar
• Salt and black pepper
• 500g pollock fillet (or other white fish), cut into four pieces
• Seasoned flour, for dusting
• 1 large egg, beaten
• 20g chopped coriander

Heat two tablespoons of oil in a large sauté pan or casserole that will fit in the oven. Add the onions and coriander seeds, and cook on medium heat for three minutes, stirring often. Add the peppers, cook for five minutes, then add the garlic, bay, tomatoes and curry powder. Cook for eight minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the honey, vinegar, a teaspoon of salt and some black pepper, and cook for five minutes. Heat the remaining oil in another frying pan. Flash saute fish and transfer the fish to the pepper pan. Add 150ml water, so it's just coated by the vegetables and some liquid. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the fish is cooked, then remove and leave to come to room temperature and thicken. Serve garnished with coriander.

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