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Shellfish like shrimp contain a low concentration of mercury.
One of the best ways for you to lower your risk of heart disease is to eat seafood. The American Heart Association says that by eating 3.5 ounces of fish or shellfish at least two times a week, you'll get an adequate amount of the omega-3 fatty acids that can help lower your triglyceride levels and inhibit the build up of plaque in your arteries. However, some types of seafood -- especially large fish such as king mackerel or swordfish -- contain a mercury concentration that can be potentially harmful to young children and unborn infants. Pregnant women and children should avoid these types of seafood and focus on eating up to 12 ounces weekly of fish and shellfish that are naturally low in mercury.
The AHA reports that a 3-ounce serving of shrimp contains such a small concentration of mercury, it's considered lower than the level of detection. For seafood to be labeled as having no detectable mercury, it needs to have a mean mercury level of 0.01 parts per million or less in a serving.
Like shrimp, clams have less than 0.01 ppm of mercury in each 3-ounce serving. When you're buying clams, the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch advises choosing farmed clams since they're both low in contaminants and harvested in an environmentally friendly way.
Both fresh and frozen salmon are good choices when you're seeking fish that's naturally low in mercury. A 3-ounce serving of salmon has 0.01 ppm of mercury. Although salmon does not contain much mercury, the National Resources Defense Council cautions that salmon may have a high level of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, a chemical contaminant that can harm babies and children. You can decrease the amount of PCBs in the salmon you eat by discarding the skin and as much of the visible fat as possible.
Scallops contain only 0.05 ppm of mercury in a 3-ounce serving. Choose farmed scallops whenever possible, says the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch, since these types of seafood farms have a low impact on the environment.
A 3-ounce serving of cooked flounder has 0.05 ppm of mercury. If you can't find flounder, a good substitute is sole, another thin, white-fleshed fish that also has only 0.05 ppm of mercury in each serving.
Catfish contains 0.05 ppm of mercury in a 3-ounce serving. Look for catfish that was farmed in the United States. Avoid imported catfish; these may actually be other types of fish like swai or basa.