I truly enjoy eating fish and I do often, which is why I thought I should share my super simple recipe for baked garlic citrus rainbow trout with you. Most of us know that eating fish is an important part of living a healthy diet. There are many nutritional benefits and the prep/cooking process is really simple. So, I always wonder why more people don’t eat it! The most common concern I hear from clients when they talk about fish is that they don’t eat it often because they are worried about the mercury levels.
I take all concerns and questions by clients seriously and this one is no exception. Often we hear things from family, friends or colleagues. We may also hear about things in the media and although there may be some truth to what we hear, we don’t always take the time to learn more about it. There is always more to a story than a headline or a brief comment made by someone. I want to help you better understand all of this.
Fish and mercury
Mercury is a metal found naturally in water, soil and rocks. There are some fish that contain higher levels of mercury depending mostly on the type of prey they eat. So, larger fish that eat many other fish will often have higher mercury levels. However, mercury can also be absorbed by the surrounding water and accumulate in the muscles of the fish.
So, what do you need to know? The larger fish that may accumulate mercury over time include (fresh and frozen): tuna, shark, swordfish, marlin, orange roughy, and escolar. You may continue to enjoy these fish but according to Health Canada should limit them based on the following information (this does not apply to canned tuna):
General population – 150 grams/week
Women pregnant/breastfeeding – 150 grams/week
Children 5-11 years old – 125 grams/month
Children 1-4 years old- 75 grams/month
*Based on Canada’s Food Guide, 150 grams is equivalent to 2 Food Guide servings.
This is one of the most popular types of fish commonly consumed in North America. According to Health Canada, the fish that is used in canned products are usually younger fish who have not accumulated significant amounts of mercury. As a result, they have much lower levels of mercury than fresh or frozen tuna. That being said, a specific type of canned tuna, albacore tuna, may have higher levels of mercury compared to its canned light tuna counterparts (i.e. skipjack, yellowfin, and tongol) which are comparatively lower in mercury. So although canned light tuna does not have specific guidelines/restrictions, canned albacore (white) tuna is recommended to be consumed in the following amounts:
Pregnant/breastfeeding women – 300 grams/ week
Children 5-11 years – 150 grams/week
Children 1-4 years – 75 grams/week
Fish as part of a healthy lifestyle
So, now that we know which types of fish to limit based on mercury levels there is a long list of fish that we can and should be consuming. These include: salmon, anchovy, char, herring, Atlantic mackerel, Pollock, smelt, rainbow trout, lake whitefish, shrimp, clam, mussel, oyster, cod, haddock, halibut, sole, scallops/squid, snapper, perch, bass, and tilapia. With so much variety, you are sure to find a couple that you’ll enjoy.
Other than tasting great, fish is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. This type of fat, especially EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) from fish sources can aid in heart health. As well, they help with normal brain and eye development in babies and young children.
Other than its healthy fat benefits, fish is also a great source of vitamin D, something we don’t get much of, especially in Canada. Vitamin D plays an important role in bone and teeth health. As well, it may help fight certain infections, reduce heart disease risk factors, and it may help prevent multiple sclerosis, diabetes and certain types of cancers.
Other nutrients found in fish include selenium, magnesium, iron, iodine, and copper. So, what are you waiting for? Try serving fish for your next meal and replace it with other protein sources for added nutrition, flavour and variety!
- 1 rainbow trout fillet
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced OR 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 lime slices
- Pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Place the fish on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet.
- Combine the olive oil, garlic or garlic powder and pepper in a small bowl. Mix well and brush on the rainbow trout.
- Bake the fillet for approximately 18 minutes or until opaque and can be flaked with a fork.
- Remove the fish from the oven, top with lime or lemon slices and some fresh cilantro and enjoy.