If you love eating fish, you already know the health benefits of packing in the omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins D and B2, calcium, phosphorus, and more. Not only is fish delicious, but the results could lead to a healthier heart, lower cholesterol, and better cognitive function. The American Heart Association also recommends eating fish at least twice a week as part of a healthy diet.
However, there is debate about whether or not farm-raised fish or wild-caught fish is better. What are the differences, and does it even matter which one you eat? Here's a look at how each type of fish measures up in areas from nutrition to sustainability.
Is There a Difference In Nutrition?
Many people will say that wild-caught fish offer more nutrients and health benefits, but the answer isn't that simple. A wild-caught fish that lived in a natural area with poor food sources or exposure to pollution may not have the same level of fatty omega-3s our bodies need. Instead, the farm-fresh option could actually be the better choice if it was raised sustainability and its feed was fortified without the help of chemicals.
The answer? The difference in nutrition between wild-caught fish and farm-fresh fish is negligible. In most cases, they both have the same level of nutrition and omega-3 fatty acids.
What About Contaminants?
Contaminants can be a serious issue when you consume any type of fish. Heavy metals, pollutants, and other contaminants could negatively impact our health. However, fresh-caught fish from a farm or protected area probably have less potential for contaminant exposure. You probably won't know exactly what a fish was exposed to, but the farmer has more control over how the fish is raised. Meanwhile, the fish is caught in the sea may have been exposed to harmful contaminants you're unaware of.
Should You Worry About Antibiotics?
Antibiotics are a worry for many people, whether you're eating fish or beef or any other type of meat. It's possible you may encounter antibiotic exposure when it comes to farm-raised fish. Some studies have shown that antibiotics were found in wild shrimp, farmed tilapia, farmed salmon, and farmed trout even when it said it was antibiotic-free. However, this isn't true of all farm-raised fish, and there are many reputable fish farms. It's important to purchase fish from a high-quality retailer or provider that does their due diligence on how the fish is raised and whether or not there was known exposure to antibiotics.
Is There a Difference in Flavor?
Have you ever done a taste test between wild-caught fish and farm-fresh? Wild-caught fish usually has more flavor than farm-raised varieties. However, there is a caveat. Whether or not someone thinks wild caught fish has more flavor really comes down to personal preference. Wild-caught fish tends to have a more robust flavor than many people savor. Others prefer the milder flavor of farm-fresh varieties.
What About Sustainability?
There are different issues to consider when considering sustainability. Some fish farms are highly sustainable and help reduce the stress and impact on wild fish populations. You could argue that farmed fish allows wild-caught fish to repopulate and keep their ecosystem balanced.
However, others feel that wild-caught fish are more sustainable because their environment is not manipulated. For example, no fish farmers treat and monitor their habitat or attempt to treat them for health issues or growth.
Eating more fish in your diet could improve your health and help you feel great. To simplify the process, choose our delicious healthy meal prep options, including fresh line-caught and sustainable fish options. Browse FitTrax's selection of delicious meals and fish options here.