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Eat Smart and Choose the Right Fish

Eating fish is mostly a smart choice. It's a lean protein with great health benefits. But fish can sometimes be bad for you, and for the environment.

Some seafood can be contaminated with high amounts of mercury or PCBs, and some varieties of seafood have been over-fished or caught in ways that might cause lasting damage to oceans and marine life. So, when you're at the store or ordering in a restaurant, how do you know which seafood to choose?

The Natural Resources Defense Council has a checklist to help you make an informed choice. Here are some examples:

* Eat lower on the food chain. Smaller fish tend to be more plentiful and better for your health because they contain less mercury. Great small seafood to choose includes squid, oysters, mackerel, sardines and mussels.

* Buy wild. Given current issues with the environmental impact of fish farming, a wild-caught fish is almost always better than a farmed fish of the same variety for your health and the environment.

* Eat local. Unless you're eating fish from a nearby body of water, it has to be frozen or transported, which uses more energy. And very likely it was caught or farmed en masse in order to keep the price down.

* Ask where your fish came from. The health of different species varies by region. Alaskan seafood such as salmon and halibut, when caught in sustainable ways, is generally good for you and the environment.

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