6 Healthiest Fish to Eat for a Balanced Diet

When it comes to maintaining a nutritious and well-rounded diet, seafood has long been celebrated for its numerous health benefits. Fish, in particular, offers an excellent source of lean protein, essential omega-3 fatty acids, and various vitamins and minerals. However, not all fish are created equal in terms of their impact on our health. Understanding the healthiest fish to eat and being aware of the types that may carry potential risks is crucial for making informed choices.

Here are the 6 Healthiest Fish to Eat

  • Best Source of Omega-3: Alaskan Salmon
  • Best for Essential Amino Acids: Tuna
  • Best for Nutrients from Bones & Skin: Sardines
  • Best for Energy & Nervous System Support: Cod
  • Best for Heart Health: Halibut
  • Best Source for Healthy Fats: Mackerel

1. Alaskan Salmon

Salmon is a fatty fish that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to promote weight loss, decrease inflammation, and reduce the risk of heart disease.

It is also a good source of high-quality protein, which helps to keep you feeling full and satisfied.

2. Tuna

Tuna is a lean fish that is low in calories and fat but high in protein. It is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Unlike most fish, tuna is among the few that contains all the essential amino acids required for growth and maintenance. Opt for fresh or canned tuna packed in water rather than oil to keep the calorie content low.

3. Sardines

Sardines are small, oily fish that are packed with omega-3 fatty acids and protein. They are also a good source of calcium and vitamin D. Choose sardines packed in water or olive oil rather than sauces or dressings.

Contrary to popular belief, canned sardines are vitamin-packed because they can be consumed whole – bones and skin included.

4. Cod

Cod is a lean white fish that is low in calories and fat. It is a good source of protein and contains several important nutrients such as vitamin B12 and iodine. These vitamins improve metabolic processes, enabling the body to optimize energy.

Cod is also versatile and can be prepared in various healthy ways.

5. Halibut

Halibut is a lean fish that is high in protein and low in calories. It is also a good source of potassium, magnesium, niacin, selenium, and vitamin B12 – all ingredients that promote heart health. Grilling or baking halibut with herbs and spices can create a flavorful and healthy meal.

6. Mackerel

Mackerel is another oily fish that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. It is also a good source of protein, vitamin D, and vitamin B12. Like sardines, mackerel can be a sustainable choice and is often available fresh or canned.

If you suffer from an iron deficiency, mackerel is an excellent source of healthy fats and iron that can help combat symptoms of anemia.

Worst Fish for Your Health

While taste preferences can vary, certain fish are generally considered less desirable for consumption due to high levels of mercury or other contaminants and environmental concerns that impact health. Here are six fish species that are often considered less favorable for consumption:

  • Patagonian Toothfish/Chilean Sea Bass: While undoubtedly popular in restaurants, Chilean sea bass has high mercury content, which can be toxic when consumed in significant amounts. Prolonged exposure to high mercury levels can negatively impact pregnant women, nursing mothers, and young children.
  • Shark: Though occasionally considered a delicacy in some countries, shark boasts notoriously high mercury levels and accumulated toxins. Because of bioaccumulation, contaminant concentration in shark meat increases over their lifespan.
  • Tilapia: Though tilapia is a common fish in aquaculture, unethical farming practices have led to adverse health risks involved with unnatural diets.
  • Orange roughy: These fish, also called slimeheads, live an impressive 150 years. However, because of this longevity, they are more likely to become exposed to contaminants and toxins.
  • Imported catfish: Unlike locally farmed catfish, their imported counterparts are rarely inspected for contaminants. In addition, they are prone to unregulated antibiotic use.


In the quest for a balanced and health-conscious diet, understanding the healthiest fish to eat and being aware of the types of fish that carry potential risks is paramount. By prioritizing fish species rich in omega-3 fatty acids, low in contaminants, and sourced sustainably, individuals can reap the benefits of a nutrient-dense protein while minimizing potential health hazards.

Remember to consult local seafood consumption advisories, as they provide region-specific recommendations regarding safe and responsible fish choices. By making informed decisions and opting for the healthiest fish options, we can nourish our bodies while supporting the long-term well-being of our oceans and marine ecosystems.

  • +

    Get fresh, sushi-grade Alaskan salmon delivered to your door.

    Alaskan Salmon Company Shop Salmon