Harvard Health Letter

By the way, doctor: A very fishy diet

Q. I read in an earlier issue that one of the nutrition experts eats five servings of fish a week. Why so much? And isn't there a risk from the contaminants?

A. I believe research has shown that eating fish has a variety of benefits, but for me, the science came much later than my love of fish did.

I grew up on a potato farm on the East End of Long Island. My childhood home there was on a farm on Bunker Hill that overlooked the ocean about three-quarters of a mile away. A fish factory that processed menhaden, or bunker fish, a small sardine-like fish, into oil and fish meal was about a mile away. In fact, this Bunker Hill — not the more famous one in Boston — got its name because bunker fisherman used to dry their recently tarred nets in the field. So early on I learned to love the ocean, fishing, and eating fish. My family ate potatoes at least once a day during the winter, and fish and shellfish from the great bounty nearby (bluefish, striped bass, flounder, black bass — to name just a few) at least four times a week.

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