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Eating Fish - Here's the Catch

When it comes to eating healthy, fish is a top choice. It's packed with vitamins and minerals, and several studies have shown benefits in lowering the chance of a heart attack, fighting off dementia and stroke in the elderly.

But here's the catch. Some fish contain potentially harmful environmental chemicals - mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and others. Women who are pregnant or about to become pregnant are especially at risk.

"PCBs and methyl mercury may cause low birth weight and developmental problems in babies of women who eat polluted fish while pregnant," said Anne Sweeney, PhD, associate professor in the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health.

"These chemicals don't make you feel sick but will build up in the body over time. They may also affect the child's neurological development and learning ability," she said.

Choose fish that do not consume other fish. Instead, eat smaller, younger fish, Sweeney said. Remove skin and fat to eliminate PCBs, and broil, grill or bake. Do not use any dripping fat for sauces or gravy.

Used with permission from www.health-eheadlines.com, © 2006, Write On, Inc.

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