5 Reasons To Eat Wild-Caught Vs Farm-Raised Fish

By: Joe Martinez, RPh, PDE, CMS, Founder and CCO, HMS

Contributor: Stephanie Wu

It’s time to get wild – that is, about choosing what fish to eat. Seafood is low in fat and high in protein and that’s a good start.  But let’s take this one step further.

Did you know that there are additional health benefits to eating wild-caught versus farm-raised fish?

Here are 5 reasons why wild-caught is the healthier option for you.

1) Antibiotic-Free, Natural Diet

Wild-caught fish live in natural habitats such as rivers, lakes, and oceans. Unlike fish raised in a large tank and fed fortified foods that may be tainted by antibiotics, wild-caught fish only eat organisms and plants from their own environment. Natural food source for them: natural food source for you.

2) More exercise – Less Fat

Wild-caught fish must swim miles in their life out in the lakes or oceans. Think of salmon and their trek upstream each year. Fish in the oceans  must also swim to find their own sources of nutrition. Wild-caught salmon are typically lower in fat than their farm-raised counterparts lounging around the pond and not working for their food because of the distances they must swim. (Sound like some humans you may know?)

3) Greater Nutritional Value

Wild-caught fish have more nutrition than farm-raised fish. Wild fish have a  diverse range of foods to eat and this translates into a variety of nutrients in their bodies. Conversely,  farm-raised fish have a consistent diet that limits the variety and the amount of nutrients they can provide

4) Vitamin D

Let’s use salmon as an example: Wild-caught salmon contains more than a day’s worth of vitamin D in just one serving. In fact, they contain up to 25 percent more vitamin D than farm-raised salmon. Why is this important? Vitamin D deficiencies are linked to many disease states including multiple sclerosis, cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis. A 2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed that about 90 percent of people with darker skin pigments in the US have a vitamin D insufficiency, stressing that it’s not only important to get a healthy dose of vitamin D from the sun, but to also eat vitamin D-rich foods.

5) Improved Bone Health

Eating fish rich in vitamin-D and omega-3 fatty acids, helps improve bone health. Researchers at Ohio State University studied osteoporosis in women. They found that those who have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood had fewer hip fractures. The study also showed that eating wild-caught fish that contain higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids contributed to anti-inflammation and as a result prevented the weakening and break-down of bone tissue.

Any Risks?

We should all be aware of the growing concern of mercury and other contaminants in our oceans and farming waters. Wild-caught fish usually have lower levels of mercury than it’s farm raised counterparts but the type of fish is also very important when it comes to mercury levels. Eating too much of a fish that is high in mercury will consequently raise the mercury levels in your blood and put you at risk for various illnesses. Thankfully, research has been done to guide us into choosing appropriate servings of low mercury fish such as wild caught salmon and chunk light tuna.

Yes, getting wild about your fish is definitely the healthier way to go. But don’t worry: if you don’t have access, know where to find some or simply just want to enjoy and not bother with cooking this week, try these delicious and wild caught cod and salmon dishes from Healthy Meals Supreme.

Northwestern Honey Balsamic Salmon
New England Roasted Cod
Roasted Lemon Dill Salmon

* Always check with your doctor or healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.

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