Researchers have been warning about the dangers of ocean pollution – especially the accumulation of plastic – for decades. However, it is only recently that comprehensive studies have begun to emerge showing just how contaminated life in the ocean has become.
Not only is this a tragedy for the environment and biodiversity, it impacts human health too.
A recent study by Ghent University in Belgium shows that micro-plastics are ubiquitous in the world’s oceans, and that they are ingested by organisms like plankton, ultimately bio-accumulating in larger vertebrate wildlife, shellfish, and a variety of consumable seafood. That means if you eat seafood, you’re likely consuming plastic – up to 11,000 micro-plastics per year by their estimates.
The long-term effects of such consumption continues to remain uncertain, but it is known that micro-plastics can become embedded in tissue, and that they release toxins like BPA and PS oligomer which disrupt the functioning of hormones and reproduction in animals.
While more research is needed to understand just how this toxic accumulation materializes in our bodies, the evidence so far suggests that we may want to be thoughtful about consuming seafood. Environmental Working Group and Seafood Watch both have helpful resources for choosing the safest options.
Generally speaking, seafood is rich in Omega-3 fats and a variety of minerals like iron and iodine, and it is a good source of protein, but there are many other foods that contain similar benefits. Olive oil, avocados, coconut oil, beans, nuts, lentils, quinoa, and seeds as well as nutrient-dense veggies like kale and spinach are also rich in these nutrients, minus the plastic!
Education and balanced wellness are essential to our philosophy at Integrative Nutrition, so we hope this information empowers you to make the best choices to nourish yourself, your family, and those around you.
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