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Fish Quiz: Fact or Fiction?

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Fresh fish is always healthier than frozen fish.

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Fresh fish is always healthier than frozen fish.

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Unless you know for sure it's high-quality fresh fish, go with frozen. A lot of fish is flash frozen on the boat right after it's caught. After thawing, it should still be quite good.

On the other hand, "fresh" fish that was never frozen may have spent a few days sitting in a smelly ship's hold by the time you buy it. And some "fresh" fish may have been frozen and then thawed out behind the supermarket counter.

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The health risks from eating fish often outweigh the benefits.

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The health risks from eating fish often outweigh the benefits.

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Many foods, from fruits and vegetables to dairy products and meat, can be tainted with chemicals and other unsavory things. Fish, too, can have mercury and PCBs. But experts say the benefits are much more likely to outweigh the risks.

People who eat fish regularly have a lower risk of:

People who eat fish regularly have a lower risk of:

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The benefits of regularly eating healthy fish keep piling up. It lowers blood pressure, cuts the risk of irregular heartbeats, and drops the risk of fatal heart disease by 36%.


It also seems to lower the risk of stroke and some cancers, improve your mood, and help with other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Most of the health benefit of eating fish comes from:

Most of the health benefit of eating fish comes from:

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Omega-3 fatty acids help our cells work. Because our bodies don't make enough of them, we have to get them in food. Fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, herring, mackerel, and sardines.   

Oysters raise libido.

Oysters raise libido.

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Oysters as an aphrodisiac? It turns out to be a legend, or at least researchers have never found a connection.

In theory, people who have very low levels of certain nutrients, like selenium, could feel friskier after eating more oysters. But that condition is rare. 

How many servings of fish per week does the American Heart Association recommend?

How many servings of fish per week does the American Heart Association recommend?

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The American Heart Association recommends at least two servings of fish per week, especially fatty fish high in omega-3 fatty acids. What's a serving? About 3.5 ounces -- a little bigger than the palm of a woman's hand.

"Sushi grade" raw fish is certified to be free of bacteria and parasites.

"Sushi grade" raw fish is certified to be free of bacteria and parasites.

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Bad news, sushi fans. No matter how good the restaurant, eating raw seafood poses a higher risk of food-borne illness than cooked seafood.
 

Although "sushi-grade" sounds good, it's a marketing term. It has no legal meaning. Fish for sushi is often flash frozen, which should kill parasites. But the only sure way to avoid parasites and bacteria is to cook your fish.

Which of the following usually has the lowest percentage of calories from fat?

Which of the following usually has the lowest percentage of calories from fat?

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Shellfish -- like crab, lobster, shrimp, scallops, and clams -- is quite low in fat. Compared to beef and chicken, shellfish tends to have higher levels of healthy fats and lower levels of unhealthy fats. Shellfish is a great source of protein, too.

So break out your lobster crackers and put on your bib. Just go easy on the drawn butter.

Eating fish can help your memory as you age.

Eating fish can help your memory as you age.

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Fish really might be brain food. Studies have found that eating baked or broiled fish once a week -- over the long term -- seems to help people keep their short-term memory sharp.

Eating fish also appears to lower your risk of Alzheimer's disease and mental decline.

Wild fish always have more omega-3 fatty acids than farm-raised fish.

Wild fish always have more omega-3 fatty acids than farm-raised fish.

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It depends on the fish. Some fish, such as salmon, mackerel, herring, and trout, can be high in healthy omega-3s whether they're farmed or wild.  

But a lot of farmed fish, especially tilapia, are fed a corn-based diet. As a result, they tend to have much lower levels of omega-3s.

Fish is supposed to smell "fishy."

Fish is supposed to smell "fishy."

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Fresh seafood should have a mild smell or none at all. If it smells sour or fishy, it's past its prime. If it stinks up your kitchen every time you open the refrigerator door, throw it out.

Good fish should never be mushy either. It should be moist and springy when you touch it. 

It's better to get omega-3 fatty acids from fish than from fish oil supplements.

It's better to get omega-3 fatty acids from fish than from fish oil supplements.

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Stick with fish, not capsules. Most of the encouraging studies have looked at people eating fish, not taking a supplement. Extracted omega-3 fatty acids may not have the full benefits of what's naturally in fish.

Some recent studies of people at higher risk of heart disease did not find that omega-3 supplements helped. People with heart disease should talk to their doctor to see if omega-3 supplements might be a good idea.

Cooking fish properly will kill worms and other parasites.

Cooking fish properly will kill worms and other parasites.

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Fish can carry some nasty parasites. One of the most revolting is the tapeworm. It can live in the human gut for years, growing up to a couple of yards long, causing severe pain, weight loss, and anemia.

 

Want the good news? Cooking your fish so the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit will kill any parasites.

Pregnant women should not eat fish.

Pregnant women should not eat fish.

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Pregnant women should eat fish -- up to 12 ounces of seafood per week. Fish has nutrients that are important for a baby's brain development. Studies show that pregnant women who eat fish regularly have children that go on to score higher on intelligence tests.

However, pregnant women should avoid fish high in mercury, like shark, swordfish, tilefish, and king mackerel. Instead, choose varieties that are lower in mercury, like shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, and catfish. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding can eat white tuna (albacore), but only 6 ounces a week, because it's higher in mercury than light tuna.

Seafood is the most common cause of food allergies.

Seafood is the most common cause of food allergies.

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Allergies to shellfish, like shrimp and lobster, are more likely to send people to the ER than any other food allergy. But people can also be allergic to finned fish, like haddock and trout.

Seafood allergies may develop suddenly in adulthood. Unfortunately, they don't tend to fade and can often be very serious. If you get a seafood allergy, you're probably stuck with it. 

Even fried fish is good for you.

Even fried fish is good for you.

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Fish is healthiest when it's baked or broiled. Unfortunately, fish's health benefits may disappear once it's deep-fried. Eating a lot of fried foods -- especially when cooked in saturated or trans fats -- is closely linked to heart disease and stroke. In one study of older women, a single serving of fried fish a week was associated with a 48% higher risk of heart failure. 

 

Skip the fried fish. Choose baked or broiled instead.

Fear of fish is called:

Fear of fish is called:

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You know that eating fish is good for you, but what if you just hate it? Keep trying. Remember that seafood has all sorts of textures and flavors. Try a bland fish like tilapia or cod. Or try something with a firm, meaty texture, like swordfish or scallops.

 

In time, you're bound to find seafood you like -- and your health will be better for it.

Your Score:     You correctly answered   out of   questions.
Your Score:     You correctly answered   out of   questions.
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Nice work! You're obviously a fish fanatic.

Not bad. But you could do better. Visit your local fish counter and get some pointers.

You could do better. You should learn more about seafood -- and maybe eat more, too. 

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