Coffee, Tea, or - Fish?

Mercury In Fish

Photo of a fish in a coffee cup

Concerned about the amount of mercury in your fish? A cup of coffee could be the cure according to a University of Montreal study published in the journal Environmental Research. It shows that consuming coffee or tea with fish reduces your exposure to mercury, and that boiling or frying fish significantly reduces exposure to the contaminants. Cooking fish with a cup of coffee or tea reduces exposure to almost nothing, according to an article about the research in The Montreal Gazette that appeared October 10, 2011.

Those findings, the newspaper said, “shocked even the researchers working on it.” It quoted lead scientist Marc Amyot, a professor of biological sciences, as saying, "The magnitude of the effect was surprising. We thought there might be a five to 10 percent reduction in the exposure to mercury. We don't usually see such dramatic results."

The study, conducted using in vitro techniques to simulate human digestion, showed that boiling and frying tuna, shark, and mackerel reduced exposure to mercury by about 40 to 60 percent, according to the Gazette article. Drinking coffee and tea while consuming raw fish reduced exposure by about 50 to 60 percent. The two combined pretty much eliminated exposure to mercury, the article concluded. That’s the good news but, for safety’s sake, please don’t jolt down too much java before you fillet that flounder. — Ryck Lydecker