Often times we hear the word “farm-raised” and immediately think that the food we are eating is most likely healthier, better for the environment, and less harsh on animals. I mean chipotle’s entire company is based on the fact that their animals are farm-raised, making them one of the highest grossing restaurants in the food industry. Unlike the food you see at chipotle, which is most likely higher in standards because of the upbringing of the animals, fish should be looked at entirely differently when considering farm-raised or wild-caught.
To get a better idea of the concept, wild-caught fish come from natural bodies of water, while farm-raised are brought up in man-made environments such as ponds. In general, most experts will say to steer clear of the farm-raised fish and always turn to wild caught. Here is why.
Studies done by the Pew Foundation show that it is likely that farm-raised fish contain higher contaminant levels. They contain about 11% more dioxins and a greater number of PCBs. Both of these are said to cause cancer, and can be harmful to pregnant women and their fetuses. This is due to the fact that farm-raised fish are usually fed a synthetic and limited diet compared to wild fish that have a large variety of food to choose from. They are also often fed antibiotics to prevent infection. . Why eat fish if you are just getting sick anyway?
One of the greatest benefits that fish provide is the protein they contain. Being a Pescetarian, the majority of my protein comes from different types of fish, my favorite being salmon. According to an expert, Dr. Weil, farm-raised fish can contain up to 20 percent less protein compared to wild fish. The next time you work out and then go to eat sushi to load up on protein, ask the waitress if the fish is wild-caught or farm-raised. When you’re making those gains, make sure you’re getting the maximum amount of protein.
A core reason why people eat fish is because it is known as a brain food. Fish is known to make you smarter and stimulate your brain. The reason for this is that it contains plenty of omega-3 fatty acids. On average, wild-caught fish contain both the good omega-3 and the not so good omega-6 fatty acids. Unlike wild-caught fish, farmed-raised usually contain more of the bad fatty acids then the precious ones. Treat the way you eat fish just like the way you eat avocados, and get the good fats.
Overall, wild-caught and farm-raised fish are both healthy options when it comes to choosing a food to eat, but it is obvious that the natural fish option is far better for us. Although is may be more expensive, there are cheaper versions to turn to such as the canned or frozen option. These will contain the same nutrients and health benefits as the fresh ones you buy from the farmers market.