As Freddie Mercury once said, in a bout of mercurial wisdom… “eat some fish, scaramouch scaramouch, it’s good for your brain. Fandango.”
I have no idea if Freddie Mercury was full of mercurial wisdom, or if he even liked fish for that matter. But this week is all about fish and I really needed a mercury connection - which is how we find ourselves in this predicament. With temperatures rising, who better than Mr Farenheit to segue us right in?
AM I A METH ADDICT?
TL;DR: Ingested mercury from certain fish could cause damage to the brain.
So, I know you’re diligently eating 2-3 servings of fish a week, because #omega3goals. But, have you been paying any attention to the mercury content?
Mercury? Is it in retrograde again?
Put your lunar charts down. This is the kind that, when ingested, small amounts can cross the barrier from your blood into your brain (because it’s attached to a methyl). The problem is that when it’s there, it gets converted back to elemental mercury and stays in your brain, where it’s pretty much impossible to break down.
Issues from mercury toxicity include disruption of the central nervous system and neurotransmitters, and stimulation of the development of neurotoxins - essentially resulting in damage to your brain.
Practice safe seafood
Before you swear off fish for good, don’t panic, there are ways to manage your mercury exposure. Mercury levels are highest in fish at the top of the food chain, or ones that live a long time; so the ones to watch out for are swordfish, tuna and chilean seabass.
Not to say you have to avoid them completely, but if you choose to eat a high mercury fish, make that your only seafood serving that week, (especially if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding).
FOR THE NERDY: Fish, fish, fish, fish, fish. (10 points if you get that reference) [Source: Journal of Environmental and Public Health]
Share this week’s fishy offering with the King of Seafood himself, Rick Stein, or your mum, or your friends or your colleagues. They’ll love it. Come on, we’re literally fishing for compliments here. Simply share the link to this week’s article.
Want More of This? Get Some Brain Food Every Week.
BRAIN FOOD: PAN-FRIED MACKEREL WITH CHERRY TOMATOES AND BEETROOT
I just couldn’t not include a fish recipe this week, but don’t worry - this one (courtesy of delicous magazine) has sidestepped the mercury risk.
Quick ‘n’ easy to whip up, it’s perfect for a midweek dinner and will do nicely for lunch too if you make double portions. Just don’t warm it up in the office microwave, no one will like you.
Why is it good for my brain?
The star of the show is mackerel, which is super high in omega-3 - the kind of healthy fat that our brains need. Alongside it are antioxidant-rich cherry tomatoes, which are in season right now, so extra delish; and beetroot, which is chock-full of brain-boosting nutrients and gives your libido a boost. You’re welcome.
What you’ll need: puy lentils, watercress and rocket, extra virgin olive oil, pine nuts, lemon, cherry tomatoes, cooked beetroot, mackerel fillets (You can click the button below to automatically add all these to your usual food shop. )
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Cook the lentils according to the pack instructions.
Put half the watercress and rocket into a food processor with 3 tbsp of the olive oil and the pine nuts. Season well and whizz to a rough pesto, loosening with 1 tbsp water if necessary. Stir through the zest of half a lemon.
Toss the warm lentils with half the pesto, then stir through the tomatoes, beetroot and the juice of half a lemon. Divide between 2 plates.
Rub the mackerel with the remaining olive oil and lemon zest. Season. Heat a frying pan, fry the mackerel skin-side down for 2 minutes over a high heat, then turn over and cook for a further 1-2 minutes (depending on the thickness) until cooked through.
Top the lentil salad with a mackerel fillet, then serve with a handful of the remaining salad leaves, a dollop of pesto and lemon wedges to squeeze over.
Here’s the full recipe.
WHAT WE LOVE THIS WEEK
Watch: Ever have the feeling that you’ve been here before? Ever have the feeling that you’ve been here before? Deja vu is weird. No one really knows why it happens, but here’s some ideas.[Youtube]
Read: Symptoms: difficulty focusing, immune suppression, weight gain and even physical pain. The household foe responsible? Clutter. [Weforum]
Listen: There are lots of facts and stats around the Big C. It’s predicted that one in two of us will get diagnosed with cancer in our lifetime, half of us will survive it, and 4 in 10 of those cases are preventable. So how do we safeguard ourselves, and why haven’t we found a cure yet? [Food for Thought podcast]
For all you vegans - next week won’t be about fish I pinky-promise. Beetroot on the other hand… #caughtredhanded