Dr. Gary Small, M.D., is a professor of psychiatry and aging and director of the UCLA Longevity Center at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. Dr. Small, one the nations top brain health experts, frequently appears on The Today Show, Good Morning America, and The Dr. Oz Show. He is co-author with his wife Gigi Vorgan of many popular books, including The New York Times best-seller, The Memory Bible, and The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program. He is author of The Mind Health Report newsletter.

Dr. Gary Small, M.D.

Tags: fish | seafood | brain | omega-3 | Alaska

Best Fish and Seafood for Brain Health

Thursday, 30 Jan 2014 04:00 PM

By Dr. Small

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Wild fish, rather than farmed ones, are the best sources of the essential omega-3 fats EPA and DHA. Farmed fish contain higher amounts of saturated fat, as well as toxins and antibiotics.
 
The amount of omega-3 fats in different types of fish varies depending on the species and where the fish is caught. Among the fish we most often eat, wild salmon is the richest source. Sardines and herring are other good sources. These fish don’t present a mercury hazard.
 
Tuna is another rich source of omega-3. Unfortunately, albacore, the most popular type of tuna, is a significant source of mercury. Small albacore, such as tuna caught off the Pacific coast, and skipjack tuna (in “light” canned tuna) are the lowest in mercury.
 
Alaska produces 90 percent of the wild salmon sold in this country. The state does not allow any fish farms, so all fish and seafood from the state is wild, and it is available throughout the United States.
 
The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, a state agency, has compiled omega-3 content of different fish from food tests done by the USDA. These are amounts of omega-3 fats (the combination of EPA and DHA) in a 3.5-ounce serving of popular types of cooked fish and seafood:
 
Alaska Salmon
• King (aka Chinook): 1,700 mg
• Sockeye: 1,200 mg
• Coho: 1,100 mg
• Chum (aka keta, used in salmon burgers and processed salmon foods): 800 mg
• Pink (often canned): 1,300 mg
 
Alaska White Fish
• Halibut: 460 mg
• Cod: 280 mg
• Sole: 500 mg
 
Alaska Shellfish
• Shrimp: 310 mg
• Scallops: 370 mg
• King crab: 400 mg
• Snow crab: 500 mg
• Dungeness crab: 400 mg
 
Alaska Pollock
Another type of white fish, Pollock, is most often used to make fish sticks and imitation crab meat. It contains 470 mg of omega-3 fats per 3.5-ounce serving.

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