Best Fish to Eat and Their Health Benefits

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best fish to eat

You must have known that fish is significant in your diet. So you do eat it, but why do you need to do it? Which fishes highly recommended for you to eat? Which is better frozen or fresh fish? Here you find answers to these questions and learn just as what you are curious about eating fish.

What is the Nutritional Value of Fish?

Fish meat can either be white (white fish) or red (oily fish). According to Intermediate Technology Publications, fish provides vitamins and minerals (zinc, iron, iodine, magnesium, and potassium) and an excellent high-quality protein source. Oily fish has more fats containing fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K and other essentials vital for normal body function.

Aside from its low fat high-quality protein, it is also a good source of calcium and phosphorus. The American Heart Association suggests twice a week serving fish as part of a healthy diet. It is undoubtedly packed with nutritional value while providing you a palatable meal.

What are the Benefits of Fish in Health?

To the Heart

The essential fish component that has multiple effects on the human body is an essential fat called omega-3 fatty acids (FA). Your body cannot produce this kind of FA, and studies have shown it to the heart. It helps lower the blood pressure, risk of sudden heart attack that may lead to death, stroke, and abnormal heart rhythms.

Specifically, it helps in the dilation of constricted arteries. Thus, it helps normalize blood circulation and to have a healthy heart.

To the Brain

Omega-3 FA DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) is also vital for growth and development, especially to the developing brain and eyes. This is why pregnant women eat fish, as recommended. Aside from its benefits for the infant, it can also benefit aging people. It decreases the risk of age-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Eating fish also has psychological health benefits. A study showed that it could lessen the risk of depression, ADHD, stress, and anxiety. It enhances concentration and cognitive function. It also helps alleviate insomnia through nutrients like vitamin D, protein, magnesium, etc., that promote sleep.

To Your Respiratory System

The vitamins B found in fish can help your respiratory system by combating some environmental pollution and inflammation. It can promote proper breathing and significantly reduce the risk of asthma in children.

To Your Muscles and Bones

The potassium found in fish can provide enough amount to strengthen your muscles. Likewise, calcium and vitamin D in fish can also promote healthier bones. Thus, it lessens your chance of having bone-related problems such as rickets, osteoporosis, arthritis, or even fractures.

To Your Integuments (Hair and Skin)

Eating fish can be your beauty secret because it promotes youthful skin and hair growth. Omega-3 FA, vitamin A, and B are nutrients that make skin elastic, which means youthful skin while fighting premature aging. It can also prevent a skin-related disease called psoriasis. Omega-3 FA helps hair growth by reducing damaged hair follicles and dry scalp. The protein and omega-3 FA help to promote healthier hair.

To your Body’s Micronutrient Needs

Micronutrients are significant vitamins and minerals that your body needs to have for normal functioning. However, your body can’t produce these essential nutrients that can reduce deficiencies. For example, it can reduce your iron deficiency because it is rich in iron that promotes red blood cell formation and average blood circulation. Another example is a deficiency in vitamin D. This vitamin D promotes bone health. Here is a list of other essential micronutrients found in fish.

Protein

  • Protein helps to build and maintain muscle
  • Protein needed for healthy bones
  • Protein helps with average growth and development in children

Vitamin A      

  • It helps to keep skin healthy
  • Helps to maintain good vision
  • Needed for a healthy immune system

Vitamin D 

  • Needed to help absorb calcium and phosphorus
  • Needed for healthy bones and teeth
  • Required for a healthy immune system

Vitamin E

  • Antioxidant

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)

  • It helps to release energy from food
  • Needed for a healthy nervous system
  • Required for a healthy heart

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 

  • It helps to keep skin healthy
  • Needed for normal metabolism Helps to keep the blood healthy
  • Required for a healthy nervous system

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 

  • Needed for healthy skin
  • It helps to reduce tiredness and fatigue

 Vitamin B6 

  • It helps to reduce tiredness and fatigue
  • Needed to help keep hormones healthy
  • It helps to keep the immune system healthy
  • Needed for healthy blood

 Vitamin B12 

  • Needed to help release energy from food
  • It helps to keep the blood healthy – mostly red blood cells
  • It helps to keep homocysteine levels healthy
  • It helps to reduce tiredness and fatigue
  • Need for a beneficial nervous system
  • Needed to make healthy red blood cells
  • It helps to reduce tiredness and fatigue
  • Needed help the brain to work well
  • It helps to sustain your immune system healthily

Potassium

  • It helps to keep blood pressure healthy
  • Needed for healthy muscle function

Phosphorus 

  • Needed for healthy bones and teeth
  • It helps to release energy from food

Zinc

  • Essential for fertility and reproduction
  • Needed to keep levels of testosterone healthy
  • It helps the body to metabolize carbohydrates
  • It helps to keep bones healthy
  • Needed for healthy skin, hair, and nails.

Selenium 

  • Needed for healthy hair and nails
  • Essential for the production of healthy sperm
  • It helps to keep the thyroid healthy
  • Antioxidant

Iodine 

  • Needed for normal, healthy brain function
  • Necessary for a healthy metabolism
  • Essential for healthy skin
  • Essential for healthy growth in children
  • Required to help make thyroid hormones
  • Required for a healthy nervous system

Omega-3 DHA

  • It helps maintain normal brain function
  • Needed for healthy vision
  • It helps to keep blood triglyceride levels healthy
  • Helps with normal brain development in babies during pregnancy when eaten by the mother
  • Helps with normal visual development of babies up to 1 year

Omega-3 DHA and EPA (together) 

  • Needed for a healthy heart
  • It helps to keep blood pressure healthy

Best Fish to Eat

  1. Alaskan Mackerel

Alaskan Mackerel

They are fast-growing fish with a large population. Atlantic mackerel must be free from confusion with King and Spanish mackerel because the two are high in mercury content. 

  1. Wild Salmon

Wild Salmon

Salmon is usually a common fish eaten for its omega-3’s and effects on the heart. However, sometimes you purchase the farmed ones. Farmed ones may have harmful fat content and high in calories due to their overcrowded pond. But if you don’t have access to wild salmon, make sure that this salmon is a good source. 

  1. Sardines

Sardines

These fishes are widespread and cheap. It has more omega-3s than salmon, tuna, or any other food. It is also high in vitamin B. However, Pacific sardines have been declining, thus the fishing restriction. Canned sardines can still provide you these benefits, although there may be additional oil, sodium, and calories.

  1. Herring

Herring

This fatty fish is similar to sardines. It has a stronger taste. It is also high in omega-3, low in mercury, and eco-friendly.

  1. Rainbow Trout

Rainbow Trout

Rainbow Trout is best when eaten fresh. However, its source must also be your concern. If farmed, you must ask whether raised in a pond or recirculating system because they are safe. If caught in the wild, they have contaminants. It is one of the best types of fish you can eat in terms of environmental impact.

Fish to Avoid

While all fish contain omega-4 FA, not all are safe to eat because of contaminants such as mercury, PCBs, and dioxins. What causes these contaminants, specifically mercury get into fish is through absorption and eating another fish. These fish who live longer has higher mercury level. Those fish who live longer are usually large.

Here is a list of the fish with the highest level of mercury as listed by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and suggest in avoid eating it:

  • Tuna (Bigeye, Ahi)
  • Swordfish
  • Tile fish (from the Gulf of Mexico)
  • Shark
  • Orange Roughy
  • Marlin
  • King Mackerel
  • Bluefish and Grouper

On Buying Fish: Which is Better, Fresh, or Frozen?

You may answer right away that fresh ones are better. You are right, but not all the time. It depends on your location. If you live closer to the coast and are buying fresh ones, that is ideal, but if you live 100 miles and more from the beach, your fish may no longer be fresh when it arrives on your plate.

Modern freezing techniques such as flash-freezing would make your fish the same as the fresh ones, even if it lasted for months.

Frozen fish seal its freshness, flavor, texture, and nutrients. But in choosing frozen fish, there are two things that you must consider: 1) it is vacuum-sealed and 2) a fish with a thick glaze on it. They will offer the same benefits as fresh ones. What’s more, is that they are cheaper than the fresh ones.

Author Bio:

Jennifer Moran

Jennifer Moran is the author and the social media manager at FishingSun.com. She has been working and passionate with writing for over four years. She spends most of her off-work time reading books, playing tennis, practicing yoga and dance, and catching up with the new TV shows she’s been missing. You can reach her at mapple (at) fishingsun (dot) com