Healthiest Fish to Eat, Per Expert Opinion
Fish is a crucial component of a balanced diet for kids, adults, and developing infants. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that the majority of Americans probably don’t eat enough fish in their diet. In addition to being a great source of protein, fish is also high in iron, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids, which make it a vital part of a balanced diet.
Learn more about the various health advantages of eating fish, the finest kinds to consume, and how to include fish in your diet by reading on.
Fish’s Health Benefits
According to Kimberly Gomer, a registered dietitian and nutritionist with a private practice in Miami, fish is a good source of critical vitamins and minerals that can improve one’s overall health. Think about the following nutrients, which are frequently present in fish and have health benefits:
Protein: Every cell in the body needs protein to grow and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and skin.
Vitamin A : Healthy eyesight, immunological response, cellular communication, male and female reproduction, and the development and upkeep of the heart, lungs, eyes, and other organs are all facilitated by vitamin A.
B vitamins : which are abundant in thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folate, and other forms, maintain the health of cells, especially those in the nervous system and brain.
Vitamin D : is necessary for the body to absorb calcium, which strengthens bones, permits muscle contraction, helps the brain send instructions to the rest of the body through nerves (such as those necessary for the development of new neurons and the production of specific neurotransmitters), and supports the immune system. Vitamin D also aids in the defense against germs and viruses.
Omega-3 : Fatty acids with omega-3s are involved in the development of new tissue and energy in the heart, lungs, blood vessels, immune system, and endocrine (hormone-producing) system.
Calcium : Strong bones, blood flow, hormone release, and muscular contraction all depend on calcium.
Iodine : Iodine is essential for the production of thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolism and promote healthy bone and brain development in expectant mothers.
Iron : Hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body, myoglobin, the protein that gives muscles their oxygen, and other hormones are all made possible by iron.
Selenium : is essential for DNA synthesis, thyroid gland function, reproduction, and infection prevention.
Zinc bolsters : Zinc helps produce DNA and proteins and strengthens the immune system.
According to Gomer, leaner white fish like flounder or mahi mahi are inferior to fatty fish like salmon and mackerel because the former contain important omega-3 fatty acids and nutrients that are soluble in fat that the body can use. The FDA recommends that adults consume at least 8 ounces of fish per week, based on a diet of 2,000 calories.
Eat These 7 Healthiest Fish
The healthiest fish to eat are those with high nutritional content and little to nil mercury content, which can be dangerous for some fish species.
“Think SMASH—sardines, mackerel, anchovies, salmon and herring—when choosing the healthiest fish to eat,” says Amanda Sauceda, a registered dietician and founder of The Mindful Gut, a nutritional guidance company in Long Beach, California.
Here are seven of the healthiest fish to eat, as recommended by professionals, to help you make your decision.
Because of their high omega-3 content, sardines are among the healthiest fish to eat, according to Gomer. Because sardines are small, they haven’t had an opportunity to absorb mercury, and because they are eaten with the bone in, they have calcium. According to Gomer, sardines are cheap and come in a tin with water or olive oil, either salted or not.
According to Sauceda, mackerel is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Mackerel is an oily fish that has a high vitamin D content. Department of Agriculture (USDA) statistics shows that fried mackerel has less protein and more carbs and sugars than canned, grilled, baked, or broiled mackerel.
Another fatty fish that is high in omega-3s is anchovies. Anchovies are a great source of calcium, potassium, and phosphorus—a mineral the body needs to produce energy.
Salmon, a well-liked fatty fish, is a great source of protein, potassium, vitamin D, vitamin E, and numerous B vitamins, among other nutrients. Bones are an additional source of calcium and phosphorus found in canned salmon.
5. The Herring
Another oily fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, selenium, and vitamin B12—a vitamin necessary for the production of red, white, and platelets as well as the health of the central nervous system—is herring. “The benefit of herring is that it is a wild fish that is not farmed,” Gomer claims. “An additional significant benefit is that small fish, such as sardines and herring, are much less affected by the problem of mercury contamination in wild caught fish.”
Another fatty fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamin D is trout. Compared to grilled or steamed trout, fried trout has higher fat and carbohydrate content and lower protein content.
Thanks to the omega-3s, iodine, and taurine (an amino acid that helps with cellular structure, regulates clotting, lowers blood pressure, and more) that it contains, tuna is still a healthy option even though it’s not an oily fish.
Skipjack tuna is among the healthiest varieties of tuna that can be found in cans. While albacore and yellowfin tuna are also excellent options, the FDA advises against bigeye tuna because of the elevated risk of mercury exposure.