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Staying Healthy, Choose the Healthiest Fish to Add to Your Diet

Updated on December 4, 2015
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Jo has been an ITU nurse at the London North West NHS Trust for 14 years. She obtained her RN at University College London Hospital.


Fish Healthy Diet, How many Calories

Haddock, Smoked, Raw
58 (1 Serving/85g)
Lobster, Boiled
88 (1 Serving/85g)
Prawns, Peeled
99 ( 1 Serving/100g)
Herring, Grilled
154 (1 serving/85g)
Trout, Rainbow, Raw
202 (1 serving/150g)
Scampi, Whole
229 (1 Serving/100g)
Mackerel in Tomato Sauce
254 (1 Can/125g)
Salmon, fresh
290 (1 serving/163g)
The one that didn't get away
The one that didn't get away | Source

Calories in Oily Fish per 100g portion ( source : weight loss resources )

Type of Fish
Raw (Kcal)
Grill (Kcal)
Smoked (Kcal)
Steamed (Kcal)
Baked (Kcal)

A Healthy Diet

To encourage children to eat more fish, mums throughout the ages would extoll the virtues of fish by describing it as brain food. As children, we were told, the more fish we eat, the smarter we will become.

Well... of course, mum knows best. The old wive's tale has been proven to be true. And no.. not because fish are often seen schooling. Yes....OK.. sorry about that, just couldn't resist.

Various studies have shown that fish is good for our health, it can improve brain function, it is so important that our Governments have found it necessary to recommend that we eat at least two meals containing fish per week or more. What's it to them? I hear you ask, well..the healthier the population, the less money the Government will have to spend on health, it's in both our interest to stay fit and healthy.

The American Heart Association also recommends that everyone should eat at least two 3.5 oz servings of oily fish per week, this can help us to achieve the recommended amounts of omega 3 fatty acids to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Fish; especially the oily variety, are high in omega-3 fatty acids, these are fats that are an important component of our brain cells and are thought to improve learning power and memory.

Omega-3 Fatty acids, are essential fatty acids that are necessary for human health, but which the body do not produce. However, Omega 3 Fatty Acids are found in fish such as salmon, tuna, halibut and other sea foods including algae and krill.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids are also found in some plants and nut oils.

Oily fish is a good source of protein and vitamins in addition to the healthy omega-3 fatty acids, it can help to reduce cholesterol levels, it is low in calories and full of goodness, a must when planning a healthy balanced diet.

According to studies from Mauritius, children who ate a diet containing plenty of fish from the age of three, are less likely to have criminal records by the time they're 23 years of age.

Research show, that infants who do not get sufficient omega-3 fatty acids from their mothers during pregnancy, are at risk of developing vision and nerve problems.

Symptoms of this deficiency include; fatigue, poor memory, dry skin, heart problems, mood swings and depression.

Studies have shown that eating fish on regular bases can protect us from a range of diseases, not only that, but it can help to improve the symptoms of conditions we may already have. The benefits of eating fish include:

  • Boosting brain power

  • protection against Heart disease

  • May be able to prevent damage to brain cells, protect against Alzheimer's Disease

  • Protect the brain, shown to increase levels of serotonin to ease Bipolar disorder, depression and dementia

  • Reduce Obesity, the fish is low in saturated fat content and is also an excellent substitute for meat

  • Protection Against Cancer, studies shows that 1 in 5 bowel cancers are linked to eating certain types of red and process meat, people who eat more fish and fibre can lower the chances of getting bowel cancer.
  • Relieve Symptoms of Arthritis, studies in population groups who eat a lot of fish such as the Inuits, have low rate of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis
  • Support Immune Function, Omega 3 has been shown to increase the activation and number of T-cells in the body significantly to improve the ability to fight disease.
  • Eye Health, a large French study show a strong relation between eating a diet high in omega 3 fatty acid and a reduced risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD), the most common cause of blindness in the elderly population.

  • Diabetes

  • Circulation

  • Joint health

  • Breathing and asthma

  • Depression and hyperactivity

  • Skin, according to dermatologist Nicholas Perricone, author of The Perricone Prescription, a diet packed with salmon can help smooth out age lines.

Which Fish ( The Good)

White fish like cod are excellent source of low fat, minerals and protein

Oily fish like sardines, halibut, tuna, salmon, mackerel and pilchards are high in omega-3 fatty acids.

Shellfish such as lobster, mussels contain selenium and are thought to have cancer-fighting properties.

Fish to avoid, (The Bad )

Although fish is considered to be one of the healthiest foods, conversely; it can also prove to be hazardous to our health when the wrong type of fish are consumed.

Fish products have been found to contain varying quantities of heavy metals such as mercury and fat-soluble pollutants from water pollution.

Mercury is a heavy metal that is highly toxic to the human body. Mercury in fish can be a health issue, especially for pregnant women, women who are trying to get pregnant, nursing mothers and young children

Fish with longer life span and those that are high up on the food chain contains a greater concentration of mercury in the flesh; they include marlin, tuna, sharks, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish (Gulf of Mexico) northern pike and lake trout.

Mid- Atlantic tilefish has lower mercury levels and are considered safe to eat in moderation. Fish that are also lower in mercury content are; trout, catfish, crab, wild salmon (not farmed) haddock, sardine, herring, shrimp and Pollock.

How Our Fish Becomes Contaminated, (The Ugly)

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) recently reported, hundreds of tons of mercury have leaked from the soil into rivers and lakes around the world. The toxic metal is used in chemical production and mining.

In the last 100 years, the mercury found in the top 100 meters of the world's oceans has doubled, and the concentration in water deeper than that have gone up by 25 percent.

UNEP's executive director said mercury pollution remains “ a major global, regional and national challenge regarding threats to human health and the environment.”

Mercury is a natural element found in the air and soil; it cannot be created or destroyed. When our oceans and rivers become polluted, a concentration of pollutants also accumulates in fish, with the level becoming higher as it moves up the food chain.

All fish contains some mercury. However, the larger fish which consumes higher quantities of food, that is also polluted, will accumulate higher levels of pollutants in the flesh.

Unknowingly; as we strive for a healthier life by eating more fish, we are also inadvertently increasing the mercury levels in our bodies.

As we consume more fish to maintain a healthier life, we should be aware of which fish are safe to eat and which to avoid. The degree of exposure to mercury depends on both the amount and the type of fish an individual consumes.

Fish or Fish oil.

A study by Cambridge University and others found that taking fish oil supplements do not reduce the risk of suffering a stroke. However; eating oily fish at least twice a week may have a significant impact.

Fish contains nutrients such as vitamin D and B, which are essential for healthy bones and skin and can help us fight off infection. Oily fish with the long-chain omega-3 fats are linked to good vascular health.

Fish also contain trace minerals such as iodine, taurine and selenium. People who eat more fish, generally eat less red meats and are, on the whole, healthier than those who eat less fish or take supplements.

Personally; I found some of the studies conflicting and at times confusing, my motto is, "if in doubt err on the side of caution."

Always do the research. I take a high-quality cod liver oil supplement choosing a product where contaminants are filtered out. I also eat fish as often as possible, but only those that are on the list and are deemed safe to eat,

Things to consider when taking Cod Liver Oil;

  • Cod liver oil can interact with anti-hypertensive drugs ( drugs to reduce blood pressure) causing a lower drop in blood pressure, therefore, blood pressure should be carefully monitored when taking fish oil supplements.

  • Anticoagulant, Antiplatelet drugs interacts with Cod Liver Oil, when taken together, and can slow or prolong blood clotting, increasing the chances of bruising and bleeding. People who are taking these medications and are considering taking fish oil supplements should first discuss with doctors or health care providers.

Fish with the Highest Levels of Mercury (best to be Avoided)

Mercury (ppm)
Tile fish (Gulf of Mexico)
Mackerel King
Tuna (Fresh/Frozen, Bigeye)
Orange Roughy
Mackerel Spanish


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    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Kate, thank you so much for stopping by, much appreciated!...Yes it is interesting; some research suggests that eating fish gives us the benefit of a package of different nutrients that we do not get from supplements. In addition to the omega 3s, we also get a good source of vitamin D and B complex, plus essential amino acids and trace elements. Nature always knows best... that is until we interfere to our detriment.

      Thank you again, and my best to you.

    • Kate Mc Bride profile image

      Kate McBride 4 years ago from Donegal Ireland

      Such a comprehensive, balanced hub which is so well-researched as well. Voted up and useful. I found it interresting that eating fish is better than just taking supplements-makes sense really. Thanks for sharing this hub

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Irish, lovely to see you back and fit, we've got to take the over time when we can get it.

      Enjoy your fish, it is still one of the most healthy food we can eat, but do a little research, find out where you tilapia is coming from and check for mercury levels. Good to see you, take care and my best as always.

      Love Jo.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Jo! I have been taking advantage of some overtime and this is the first chance I have had to catch up. Great article. Very useful and informative as many, like me, were under the misguided assumption that all forms of fish are good for you. Although I am fortunate to list cod among some of my favorites, it is also good to know that this is the "healthier" of the bunch. I am also a HUGE tilapia lover.

      Great write Jo.

      Many blessings and much love to you, my friend. XOXO Beckie

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Theresa, many thanks for stopping by, so glad you've found the information helpful....keep up with the fish oil but check that it is a good quality filtered brand.

      My best to you as always.


    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Hello Jo - Well written and informative. I know I should eat more fish; I will try to let your hub be my motivation. I am printing out your list of "good fish" and will put it up on my refrigerator as a constant reminder. I do take a fish oil supplement. I will check and see if it the right one. Thank you for a very useful and helpful hub. Blessings. Theresa

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Thank you Vinaya, much appreciated.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

      I found this hub very useful and informative. I love fish, but I no nothing about fish,except that fish oil is rich with Omega 3 which is good for our body.

      Thanks for sharing this well researched hub.


    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Condominium, thank you for checking this out....the fish that lives longer actually have more time to eat more fish, also containing mercury, over time the mercury builds up in the flesh to cause a higher level of contamination.

      When it comes to eating fish smaller is much better. :)

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Devika, great to have you back and thanks for stopping by. Yes we do tend to underestimate the benefits of the simple fish, however it is never too late to start.

      Take care and my best to you.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Fish is among the healthiest foods and somehow one fails to see such an important fact. You have told me all I need to know about eating fish and of which one thanks for such an informative hub.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Travmaj, very nice to see you, thanks for stopping by, I'm so glad you enjoyed this.

      I think many of us have mixed feelings about eating fish and taking cod liver oil, I also remember my gran lining us up to take the awful cod liver oil; fortunately, these days it comes in soft gel with great flavours and easy to swallow capsules, so no more excuses :). Have a very happy weekend and my best to you.

    • travmaj profile image

      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      Most interesting and informative - Note to self - time to hit the fish trail.

      I have no idea why we don't eat more. Habit I guess. So thank you for all this valuable information.

      My mother insisted on a spoonful of cod liver oil a day - I remember holding my nose and swallowing. Today it's back with a vengeance happily in a more palatable form.

      Enjoyed the good the bad and the ugly. Thank you.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Bisnar 6665, welcome aboard.....much appreciated. Nice to see you took the bait.

      I'm sure your parents gave you a pretty good start in life with all that fish :). I hear what you're saying about cause and effects; however, the statistics are based on in-depth studies done over a lengthy period of time. I believe psychosocial issues were included in the study. Research done in the 80s and early 90s suggested, infants who received DHA enriched formula had experienced improved cognitive development, in 2001 the US food and drugs administration allowed DHA with omega-3 supplement to be added to infant's formula. We already know what children eat can impact on their behaviour, I say let them eat moderation, of course.

      Thank you for checking this out.

    • bisnar6665 profile image

      John 4 years ago from Irvine, California

      Very interesting, you got me with that first picture. Shock value POW!

      My parents always made sure to give me plenty of fish as I was growing up. Although I don't know if it had any positive effects, I have managed to stay abnormally healthy throughout my life.

      You used some interesting statistics, most notably the one about children who use fish oil have less likelihood of having a criminal record. Although I understand why you would use it, it seems to shout at me "correlation is not indicative of causation!".

      Good hub. Vote up. Keep writing!

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Graham, so lovely to see you!...I also eat a lot of fish, as do my friends and family. When we have the facts we are able to make an informed choice. Thank you for taking a look at this, much appreciated.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Lurana, thank you for taking a look, I'd originally included more information on other good sources of omega-3, but I had already covered it in another hub and Rajan also did a very comprehensive job in his hub, so for those who need more information I've added his link above.

      If we are careful when choosing our fish we can still enjoy the health benefits .

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Jo. A first class hub. Full of information and so well presented. I eat fish almost every day.

      Vote up and all.


    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image

      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      So helpful!! Great source of information, thank you. I love fish, but I also add flaxseed oil to smoothies sometimes since that is a good source of Omega-3s as well.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Kashmir, very good to see you!...thanks for taking a look and for the great comment, always appreciated. I hope all is well, my best to you.

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi my friend great informative article on the best kinds of fish and the bad. Very well researched and written !

      Vote up and more !!! Sharing !

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Michelle, these days it helps to be prudent....I'm sure your fish dinner was delicious, unfortunately we now have to think twice about what we're eating. Thank you for stopping by, always a pleasure.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Someonewhoknows, you do know your stuff :). You're right about the canned salmon, although they all contain some mercury, the wild Alaskan Salmon is thought to be the safest. However, there are still many health benefits when we eat fish, but in moderation.

      Thank you for the insightful comment and visit, much appreciated.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Vicki, lovely to see you, I wonder how many re- takes that took!...The poor girl, I hope she likes sashimi :)). Thank you for the comment and visit, much appreciated.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Jo, just had fish!!!Thanks for the info! We'll be a bitmorejudicious about taking it, though!

    • someonewhoknows profile image

      someonewhoknows 4 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

      Canned Salmon is my fish of choice due to the fact that it is from wild Salmon rather than farm raised variety which may or may not be wild raised in the ocean somewhere where the ocean currents bring food as well as eliminates waste byproducts from the area the Salmon are kept for the purpose of capturing them for human consumption.


      Salmon is very high in Omega 3 fatty acid that are so Important for overall health.

    • profile image

      Vickiw 4 years ago

      That model in the first pic must have a really strong stomach! I can only imagine how that must have felt! Good information, and it reinforces the idea that moderation is good, and big is definitely not better in this case!

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Frank, I think most of us are hoping our levels of mercury will be relatively low, however, if you are feeling concerned or a bit apprehensive, you can probably have a check done. Thank you for the visit and comment, much appreciated as always.

      I hope you are keeping well, my best.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      tobusiness this was all very well written and Im sure research must have taken a lot out of you.. I enjoy fish.. but reading the ugly part.. I wonder how much toxins I have ingested hmm.. anyhow great write great hub..

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi rajan, thank you for stopping by, I hope you didn't mind the recommendation; it gives the reader a wider picture, and your hubs are very detailed and brilliantly done.

      Take care and my best to you.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Excellent info, Jo! And you've tackled the topic very well.

      Voted up, useful and interesting.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Martin, they do say that 'variety is the spice of life' Cod is great, but there's many more fish in the sea :). I hope all is well with you, my best as always.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hello Kidscrafts, always a pleasure to have you visit my hubs. It makes good sense to eat fish, but we also need to know what we are putting into our bodies. Thank you for the visit and insightful comment. My best to you.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Faith, I'm quite sure your computer is fine, I deleted a few capsules and can't get rid of the white space, all advice will be greatly appreciated.

      Thanks for stopping by, sharing and vote, always great to see you. Take care and have wonderful day.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Billy, thank you for this wonderful and encouraging comment, from a seasoned pro like yourself, this means a lot. Hope I managed to hooked you within the first 10 seconds, great tips by the way; which I've attempted to put into practice here. Have a great day :).

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. Very informative. I've grown pretty boring when it comes to fish. Cod

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 4 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Thank you for all the information in this hub Jo!

      All those fish with omega 3 are so good for us. Thank you for providing a list of all the benefits!

      I try to increase my intake of fish from one to twice a week since a while! I had to push myself to find interesting recipes... and I did :-)

      It's nice to try different recipes so it doesn't taste the same at each time!

      Too bad some fish contains heavy metal! Always better to be careful with those ones!

      Voted up, useful and interesting!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Very informative hub here, Jo! I love fish, especially salmon. I'm with Bill, that first photo is great! LOL I don't know if it is my computer, but after the paragraph about Cod Liver Oil, there is a huge amount of white space, may need to delete some spacing, or either something is not showing up on m computer? Anyway great hub.

      Voted up +++ and sharing

      Blessings, Faith Reaper

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, the first picture is a classic. You had me hooked from the opening bell with this one. Great information, the first of its kind that I have seen on HP. Well done my friend and your writing is superb. :)