What is the number 1 healthiest fish?

When it comes to choosing the healthiest fish to eat, there are many options to consider. The top healthiest fish provide excellent sources of protein and omega-3 fatty acids while being low in mercury and other contaminants. Here are quick answers to some common questions about the healthiest fish:

What fish is lowest in mercury?

Fish that are lowest in mercury include salmon, sardines, pollock, tilapia, trout, anchovies, herring, and Atlantic mackerel. These fish typically have less than 0.05 ppm mercury.

What is the most nutritious fish to eat?

Some of the most nutritious fish are salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, trout, and anchovies. They are packed with omega-3 fatty acids like DHA and EPA and are a great source of high-quality protein, vitamins, and minerals.

Which fish has the most omega 3?

Fish highest in omega-3s include:

  • Mackerel – 4,107 mg per serving
  • Salmon – 2,260 mg per serving
  • Sardines – 2,205 mg per serving
  • Anchovies – 951 mg per serving
  • Herring – 1,947 mg per serving

The omega-3 fatty acids in these fish are EPA and DHA, which have powerful heart and brain health benefits.

What is the #1 healthiest fish to eat?

After comparing nutrition profiles, mercury levels, sustainability, and health benefits, the number 1 healthiest fish is salmon.

Why Salmon is the Healthiest Fish

Salmon is one of the most nutritious, heart-healthy foods you can eat. Here are some reasons why salmon is the number 1 healthiest fish:

  • High in Omega-3s – Salmon is one of the best sources of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. A 3.5 ounce serving of salmon has 2,260 mg of omega-3s.
  • Good Source of Lean Protein – Salmon contains about 22 grams of protein per 3 ounce serving. This makes salmon an excellent choice for building and repairing muscle tissue.
  • Rich in B Vitamins – Salmon provides B vitamins niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, B6 and B12. These vitamins help convert nutrients into energy and maintain healthy skin and nerves.
  • Packed with Potassium – Salmon contains high levels of potassium, with 534 mg per 3 ounce portion. Potassium helps control blood pressure.
  • High in Selenium – Salmon is an abundant source of selenium, an antioxidant mineral that supports immune function and thyroid health.

Nutrition Facts for Salmon

Here is the nutrition breakdown for a 3.5 ounce serving of cooked Atlantic salmon:

Nutrient Amount % Daily Value
Calories 175 9%
Fat 8 g 12%
Saturated Fat 1 g 5%
Protein 22 g 44%
Omega-3 Fatty Acids 2,260 mg N/A
Vitamin D 31% DV 31%
Potassium 534 mg 12%
Selenium 50% DV 50%

Salmon Health Benefits

Here is a closer look at some of the top health benefits associated with eating salmon:

Supports Heart Health

Salmon is one of the best foods you can eat to promote heart health. Its high omega-3 fatty acid content helps reduce inflammation, lower triglyceride levels, and decrease blood pressure (1).

Studies have found eating salmon 1-2 times per week can reduce the risk of heart disease by up to 34% (2). The anti-inflammatory effects of salmon may also help prevent atherosclerosis and lower stroke risk (3).

Benefits Brain Function

The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon like DHA play an important role in brain development and function. DHA makes up over 90% of omega-3s in the brain and supports neuron communication (4).

Eating salmon may help slow age-related mental decline, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. One study found people who ate baked or broiled fish 1-4 times per week had more grey matter in brain areas related to memory and cognition (5).

May Reduce Risk of Depression

Salmon may offer mental health benefits and help reduce symptoms of depression. In one meta-analysis, people who ate fish regularly had a 17% lower risk of developing depression (6).

The combination of omega-3 fats and vitamin D in salmon supports brain function and mental wellbeing. Getting enough of these nutrients may help relieve symptoms of depression.

Helps Vision Health

Eating salmon provides anti-inflammatory omega-3s that are beneficial for eye health. Salmon also contains a good amount of vitamin A, an antioxidant that is vital for proper vision.

Getting enough omega-3s from salmon helps prevent dry eyes, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and may slow the progression of retinitis pigmentosa (7).

May Reduce Risk of Cancer

Some research indicates the nutrients in salmon may help inhibit the growth and spread of certain cancers, including colon, breast, and prostate cancer (8).

Studies show a higher marine omega-3 intake is linked to lower risks of prostate, breast, and colorectal cancers (9). More research is needed on salmon’s anti-cancer effects.

Choosing the Healthiest Salmon

To maximize the nutritional benefits of salmon, choose wild-caught or sustainably farmed salmon whenever possible. Here are some tips for picking the healthiest salmon options:

  • Choose wild salmon – Wild salmon like sockeye, coho, pink, and chum generally have more omega-3s and fewer contaminants than farmed.
  • Look for sustainably farmed – If buying farmed salmon, choose sustainably raised sources marked with a blue Certified Responsible Salmon label.
  • Aim for Alaska or Pacific salmon – Salmon from Alaska or the Pacific tend to be lower in contaminants than Atlantic salmon.
  • Pick frozen salmon – Frozen salmon often has higher omega-3 levels than fresh salmon.
  • Avoid smoked salmon – Smoking depletes the omega-3 content in salmon and introduces carcinogenic compounds.

How Often to Eat Salmon

For optimal health benefits, aim to eat salmon 1-2 times per week. The Dietary Guidelines recommend adults consume 8-12 ounces of a variety of seafood per week (10).

Enjoying at least two 3.5 ounce servings of salmon per week will provide you with the recommended amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is one of the safest fish choices when it comes to limiting mercury exposure.

Pregnant women can safely eat 2-3 servings of low mercury salmon per week. Salmon is an excellent way for pregnant women to get vital nutrients for their baby’s brain development like DHA.

Salmon vs. Canned Tuna

How does canned tuna compare to salmon when it comes to health benefits? While tuna is a healthy fish low in mercury, salmon still reigns supreme.

Canned light tuna contains anywhere from 200-500 mg of omega-3s per serving, while canned white tuna has about 300-700 mg. Salmon has over 2,000 mg omega-3s per serving.

Tuna and salmon both provide lean protein, selenium, B vitamins, potassium, and other nutrients. However, salmon has a much higher amount of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.

Health Risks of Eating Salmon

While salmon provides incredible health benefits, there are some things to keep in mind when incorporating it into your diet:

  • Environmental pollutants – Farmed salmon may contain higher levels of PCBs, pesticides, and other contaminants from food sources.
  • Parasites – Raw or undercooked salmon can contain parasitic worms that may lead to abdominal discomfort, nausea, and diarrhea.
  • Mercury exposure – Certain types of salmon can have moderate mercury levels, so limit high mercury varieties like chinook.
  • Allergies – People allergic to fish and shellfish may react to salmon with symptoms like skin rashes, hives, or anaphylaxis.

To reduce risks, properly cook wild-caught or sustainably raised salmon. Avoid raw preparations if immune compromised or allergic to fish.

Healthy Salmon Recipes

Salmon is a versatile ingredient that works well in everything from salmon burgers to salmon salads. Here are some quick, easy recipe ideas to enjoy salmon’s amazing health benefits:

Maple Glazed Salmon

Brush wild salmon filets with maple syrup, mustard, and chili powder, bake at 400°F for 12-15 minutes for a sweet and spicy glazed salmon.

Lemon Garlic Salmon Sheet Pan Dinner

Bake salmon with potatoes, green beans, lemon slices and garlic on a sheet pan for healthy one-pan meal.

Salmon Burgers

Make salmon patties with canned salmon, breadcrumbs, eggs, garlic powder, and parsley for a flavorful salmon burger.

Salmon Salad

Flake cooked salmon over spinach, tomatoes, avocado, and bacon. Toss with olive oil lemon dressing.

Salmon Fried Rice

Stir fry salmon with brown rice, peas, carrots, eggs, sesame oil, and ginger for a nutritious salmon fried rice bowl.


Salmon is hands down one of the healthiest fish you can eat. Packed with protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, salmon offers an array of health benefits for the heart, brain, eyes, and more.

Aim to consume salmon 1-2 times per week for optimal health effects. Choosing sustainably raised salmon can help minimize contaminants. Prepare salmon by baking, grilling, or poaching to retain its nutritional value.

Incorporate salmon into salads, rice bowls, tacos, burgers, and more. Salmon can fit into a variety of healthy diets including keto, Paleo, Mediterranean, and gluten-free. Enjoy salmon’s amazing benefits to transform your health!

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