What makes fish a good choice?

Fish is delicious and nutritious!

Fish are diverse and provide you a wide range of tastes, textures, and nutritional profiles to explore.

What makes fish a healthy choice?

Fish is a protein that contains vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids, and it is a part of a healthy, balanced diet. Many fish are nutrient-dense foods that provide more nutrients for the calories consumed.

Fish are a healthy source of nutrient-rich lean protein, a part of a healthy balanced diet according to the American Heart Association. Here are three reasons why fish are an excellent choice.

  1. Muscle building: Eating fish and shellfish helps build and repair muscles. Protein is a building block of life. Every cell in your body needs protein, but the human body cannot store excess protein effectively, so including it as a part of your regular diet is essential.
  1. Heart healthy: Eating omega-3 rich fish and shellfish twice a week can lower the risk of heart disease.1,2,3
  1. Brain boosting: Eating fish and shellfish that contain high levels of omega-3 fats boosts brain activity, memory, and mental sharpness.4

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fat found in fish and shellfish, is critical for brain development in unborn babies and small children. To learn more about this, visit our Fish and Pregnancy page.

How often should I eat fish?

According to the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans5, adults should eat 8 ounces of seafood a week. That breaks down to two 4 ounce servings per week. For a mental picture of what a serving size is, imagine a deck of playing cards.

Recommended Reading

1American Heart Association. 2017. Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Available at:  https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/fish-and-omega-3-fatty-acids

2Kris-Ehterton, P.M., Harris, W., Appal, L.J., 2003. Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Disease. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology 23, 151-152.

3Mozaffarian D., Rimm E.B., 2006. Fish Intake, contaminants, and human health: evaluating the risks and the benefits. JAMA 296, 1885-1899.

4Tan MD, MPH, Z.S. Red blood cell omega-3 fatty acid levels and markers of accelerated brain aging. Neurology. 2012 Feb 28;78(9):658-664.

5USDA – Agricultural Research Service. 2020. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. 2020. Scientific Report of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee: Advisory Report to the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of Health and Human Services. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Washington, DC.. Available at: https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/2020-advisory-committee-report