From Salmon to Tuna: The Best and Worst Fish for Your Health

Fish are considered a highly nutritious food due to their rich content of essential nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, high-quality protein, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. Seafood can be a healthy choice in a balanced diet; however, not all types of fish are nutritionally equal, according to experts.

Michelle Rothenstein, a cardiovascular nutrition specialist at, emphasizes that fish vary in their nutritional profiles. Therefore, selecting specific types of fish can be more beneficial for your health. The following list highlights the best and worst fish for our health, according to nutrition experts.

Best Fish:

Salmon: Salmon tops the list as one of the healthiest fish. Lori Wright, a registered dietitian and professor at the University of South Florida, explains, "Salmon is among the best choices for healthy fish. It contains a high level of omega-3 fatty acids, which promote heart, blood vessel, and brain health, along with being a rich source of protein."

Oysters: Oysters are rich in omega-3 and iron, making them beneficial for both health and the environment. However, caution is advised against consuming them raw.

Sardines: Nutrition experts also highlight sardines for their richness in EPA and DHA, omega-3 fatty acids that offer anti-inflammatory benefits and promote heart health. Sardines are also a cost-effective source of vitamin D.

Haddock: Haddock is a good option as it is rich in selenium, an antioxidant beneficial for the heart, reducing inflammation, and oxidative stress. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, supporting immune, nerve, and liver health.

Red Snapper: Red snapper is a useful source of potassium, aiding in improving blood pressure and artery health. Additionally, it provides a good amount of protein and B vitamins.

Worst Fish:

Mackerel: Experts caution against mackerel due to its high contamination risk and low levels of heart-healthy nutrients like omega-3, potassium, and magnesium.

Farmed Tilapia: Another fish to avoid is farmed tilapia, known for high levels of pollutants, antibiotics, and omega-6 fatty acids that can contribute to inflammation and negatively impact health goals.

Orange Roughy: Also known as red roughy, this fish has a long lifespan, accumulating high levels of pollutants, including mercury.

Shark: Experts note that sharks have very high mercury levels, a neurotoxic substance. Consumption should be entirely avoided, especially by pregnant women and children. Additionally, shark populations are declining.

Tuna: Tuna is a controversial fish. While it is rich in vitamins B6 and B12, supporting immune, hormonal, and nervous system health, it is not an excellent source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Tuna also contains high levels of mercury. Therefore, moderation is advised, with some populations, such as young children and pregnant or lactating women, recommended to avoid it entirely.

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