Beware of the Dangers of Mercury When Eating Fish

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Beware of the Dangers of Mercury When Eating Fish
Beware of the Dangers of Mercury When Eating Fish

Although fish is one of the he althiest foods, some types of fish are at risk of containing high levels of mercury which can be harmful to he alth. To avoid the dangers of mercury from fish, you can consider several things in this article

The World He alth Organization (WHO) states mercury as a substance that can cause he alth problems. Mercury (Hg) is a heavy metal that is naturally found in soil, water and air. Mercury is also usually found in factory waste, which will then pollute the water.

Beware of the Dangers of Mercury When Eating Fish - Alodokter

The mercury content in the water is what will settle in the bodies of fish, fish-eating animals, and shellfish which are then consumed by humans.

Mercury Hazards for He alth

Mercury can enter the human body through direct exposure to the skin, inhaled air, and food or drink consumed.

In high levels, mercury exposure can harm the immune system, brain, lungs, and kidneys.

In fetuses, infants, and children, exposure to metallic mercury can damage the nervous system and interfere with brain function, which can reduce their ability to learn and think.

Birth defects and death are other risks due to mercury exposure, which the fetus is susceptible to.

The higher the amount of mercury that enters the body, the greater the possibility of he alth problems. The dangers of mercury to humans can be recognized by the signs below:

  • Weak muscles
  • Nervous disorders, such as tingling, numbness, and difficulty or inability to walk, hear and speak
  • Body coordination disorders
  • Body shaking (tremor)
  • Visibility, even blindness
  • Inhibition of growth and development
  • Mental disorder
  • Lung damage

The Minamata tragedy in Japan is the most famous case of mercury poisoning in history. People who were exposed to mercury in the tragedy experienced neurological disorders, such as loss of hearing and vision, body shaking, and mental disorders.

Types of Fish Containing a Lot of Mercury

The level of mercury in the body of fish varies, and this depends on the age of the fish and the type of fish food, whether the fish eat other marine animals or plants.

In general, the higher the position of a type of fish in the food chain, the higher the mercury content. This is because the mercury in the prey's body will settle in the body.

The following are some types of fish that contain a lot of mercury:

  • Mackerel
  • tuna fish
  • Shark
  • Swordfish
  • Marlinfish
  • Tilapia

How to Avoid the Danger of Mercury in Fish

Despite the dangers of mercury, the nutrients in seafood are a shame. Even though fish can contain mercury, that doesn't mean we shouldn't eat fish at all.

There are several ways that can be done to avoid the dangers of mercury in fish, including:

1. Avoid or limit the consumption of certain fish

Women who are planning a pregnancy, pregnant women, nursing mothers, as well as infants and children, are advised not to consume high-mercury fish species, and to be more careful in choosing the types of fish that are safe for consumption.

2. Choose fish with low mercury content

Choose fish or other marine products with lower mercury content, such as catfish, tilapia, shrimp, salmon, anchovies, and snapper.

To meet the needs of protein and good fats, you can eat these fish at least 200-350 grams a week, which is divided into 2-3 servings.

3. Be careful when buying fish and its processed products

When buying fish, processed fish products, or marine products, make sure the product has the Food and Drug Supervisory Agency (BPOM) logo.

BPOM regulation number 5 of 2018 has set the maximum limit for heavy metal contamination including mercury in every food product.

Avoiding consumption of types of fish that contain a lot of mercury and proper cooking methods can minimize the risk of exposure to mercury, so that the dangers of mercury to he alth can be prevented.

If you feel symptoms that are suspected to be symptoms of mercury poisoning, you should consult a doctor to get the appropriate treatment.

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