Seas of Deception: Buying Healthy Fish

Posted On Monday, 11 March 2013
Seas of Deception: Buying Healthy Fish

There are three new headlines (and the rest of the stories we tweeted about in the most recent YOU The Owner’s Manual Radio Show), that juxtaposed perfectly with our most recent great guest, who is the author of The Alzheimer’s Prevention Cookbook.  

The headlines I'm talking about are:

1. Alzheimer's fastest-growing health threat in USA, report says
2. Mediterranean Diet can prevent over 30% of  strokes (brain loss) in already optimally managed patients
3. Survey Finds That Fish Are Often Mislabeled

The synergy here is interesting.

YOU know the Mediterranean diet is mostly veggies, whole grains, fruit, with a few nuts (walnuts especially), olive oil, and fish three times or more a week.  (Cheese, meat and low-fat dairy are rare, and not judged positively in the studies - so skip these parts of the Mediterranean diet).

So, you need to find healthy and healthful fish.  But how can you tell if 94% of the tuna sold as sushi in NYC, isn’t actually tuna? (yes, we’ll tell you—but don’t skip ahead!)

YOU read that right.  How can it be, that some samples of red snapper and tuna were really from the bottom feeding Tile Fish - banned from sale in the USA (supposed to be anyway) because it has so much mercury?

The group Oceana DNA tested over 1,200 samples of fish from restaurants, grocery stores, and fish markets.  About 30% was mislabeled... and always in a non-healthful way. Most went from healthy choices, like cod or halibut, to the omega-6 rich tilapia.  The only ones true to form were ocean trout and salmon, although unfortunately, it was labeled wild when it was, if fact, farm-raised.

But at least it was the fish it claimed to be.  

That brings us to the great news.

Dr. Sabbagh, author of the The Alzheimer’s Prevention Cookbook, says that the keys to preventing memory-loss are exercise, avoiding and reversing diabetes, avoiding cigarettes, managing stress, and enjoying the Mediterranean diet. And, his book had 100 recipes that sure looked good.  

A large Spanish study that found a 30% reduction in strokes - in otherwise optimally treated people - who went Mediterranean, versus the high-fat Standard Spanish Diet.

I cooked two recipes from The Alzheimer’s Prevention Cookbook--they were pretty darn tasty.

And it is easy to cook since you can make his magical starting potion—“Better Brain Broth”—in advance; freeze, thaw when needed, and voila!

But what to do about the fish?

Here are two keys:

1st: Stick with salmon and ocean trout - they are highest and most consistent fish for content of omega-3’s and 7’s. Those are the fats we're looking for when we think of healthy fat, and healthy protein.

2nd: If you want other fish, you need to learn their skin appearance, shape and meat texture. Use Google or Wikis on your smartphone at the market or restaurant, and insist on seeing the skin and whole fish if you're going to buy. And don’t be shy. Remember! You are the CEO of what you buy. (That’s a new one of “Roizen’s Rules For A Younger YOU.”)  

For me, I love mustard-crusted salmon with olive oil, sautéed broccoli, and walnuts.  

Hope to “see” YOU on Saturdays, from 5-7pm, right here on   

I’ll always try to give you an action step useful for YOU to keep younger.  

Listen to my conversation with Dr. Marwan Sabbagh by clicking here.

Questions—just send em to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Michael Roizen, MD

Dr. Mike is a New York Times #1 bestselling author and co-founder of the well-known website, along with Dr. Mehmet Oz. He is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute of the Cleveland Clinic and health expert on Oprah.

Dr. Mike hosts the popular YOU The Owner's Manual Radio Show here on, and on radio stations nationwide.

You can also visit his latest partnership with Dr. Oz at

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