Fish Plus Coffee Adds up to Reduction in Mercury

Fish lovers can rejoice and add some of their favorite sea foods back to their diets. This week, study results were released that showed cooking fish lowered the mercury levels. Even better, and more surprisingly, eating the cooked fish with coffee or tea reduced the mercury levels to almost zero! That’s right - coffee’s new health benefit of the month is a big one.

Karen Seidman wrote that the research from the University of Montreal even shocked the researchers. “We thought there might be a five to ten percent reduction (in the exposure to mercury). We don’t usually see such dramatic results,” said one of the lead researchers. The study found that boiling or frying tuna, shark or mackerel, brings about a reduction in mercury exposure of 40 to 60 percent to those eating the fish. If the boiled or fried fish is eaten with coffee or tea (at least 250 milliliters, or 8.5 ounces), such exposure is brought down to almost nothing. Without cooking, eating raw fish such as sushi with coffee and tea still brings down the exposure by 50 to 60 percent. Many people reduced or stopped eating fish when it was found that they had high mercury content. It’s highest in such fish as shark and red tuna and can cause adverse neurological effects. Mercury also may be carcinogenic and affect the cardiovascular system. Since fish is a good, lean, inexpensive source of protein, this has had far-reaching effects. Tuna in particular has been a staple for many on stressed-out budgets. More research is necessary.

After all, the study relied on a simulation of human digestion, so other study models might be necessary to confirm the findings. Also left unanswered by the article is what in coffee and tea provides the benefit. Is it the caffeine or something else? We don’t know if espresso - or what amount of espresso - gives the same benefits. But for now, if you do eat sushi or tuna melts, etc., just combine the meal with a coffee or tea beverage for mercury reduction. The best solution might be to buy your tuna or mackerel raw and boil it yourself to use in tuna salads, as canned tuna has tested high for mercury even though cooked twice. One problem is that the cans themselves contribute to the mercury content. So combine any fish meal with coffee and tea for now and try to avoid a constant fish diet. Brew on in good health.

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