Fish Nutrition Facts: Calories and Health Benefits (2023)

If you’re trying to lose weight orimprove your diet, you should probably eat more fish. The American Heart Association recommends that you eat at least two servings of fish each week. But fish calories vary substantially and some that are higher in calories provide healthy fat.So the type of fish you choose makes a big difference. There are some types of fish to avoid and other types of fish that are better for you.

Fish Nutrition

Comparing fish calories and nutrition data can be tricky because the way you prepare your fish can change its nutritional makeup significantly. What's more, the exact nutrition of fish also varies depending on the variety. But as an example, 1/2 of a wild Atlantic salmon fillet (154g) contains 280 calories, 12.5g of fat, most of which is monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, 86mg sodium, 39.2g of protein, and no carbs, fiber, or sugars.

  • Calories:280
  • Fat:12.5g
  • Sodium:86mg
  • Carbohydrates:0g
  • Fiber:0g
  • Sugars:0g
  • Protein:39.2g

You can compare other types of fish using the following guide based on USDA nutrition data. Fish calories and nutrition are listed for a 100 gram (3.5-ounce) serving.

  • Halibut (raw with skin):116 calories, 3 grams fat, 0 grams carbohydrate, 20 grams protein.
  • Tuna (yellowfin, fresh, raw):109 calories,less than one gram fat, 0 grams carbohydrate, 24 grams protein.
  • Cod (Atlantic, raw):82 calories, 0.7 grams fat, 0 grams carbohydrate, 18 grams protein.
  • Mahimahi (raw):85 calories, 0.7 grams fat, 0 grams carbohydrate, 18.5 grams protein.
  • Ocean perch (Atlantic, raw):79 calories, 1.4 grams fat, 0 grams carbohydrate, 15 grams protein.

Believe it or not, research suggests that the best fish for weight loss and improved health is fatty fish. But not just any fatty fish. Certain types of fish contain an essential fatty acid called omega-3. This polyunsaturated fat provides your body with important health benefits.

Fish that contain omega-3 fats help to reduce your risk of heart disease. According to the National Institutes of Health,studies show that people who eat seafood at least once per week are less likely to die of heart disease.Researchers also believe that the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish may help to reduce symptoms of rheumatoidarthritis and may even help to improve brain and eye health.

Of course, you can get essential omega-3 fatty acids by taking a supplement. But research has not been able to show that taking a supplement can provide the same benefits as eating omega-3 foods, like fish.

So if you're going to build a diet-friendly weight loss meal, why not choose a fish that provides a boost of good health as well?Eating higher fat fish may mean that you consume more calories in a single meal, but if you eat the fish in moderation and usegood cooking methodsto prepare the food, you may benefit in the long run.

Health Benefits

The American Heart Association suggests that you eat fish varieties such as salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines and albacore tuna to get your healthy dose of omega-3. Here's a run-down of some of the most nutritious, lower-calorie fish varieties:

  • Salmon (3 ounces) 175 calories, 10 grams fat, 1.7 grams of omega-3 fatty acids
  • Anchovies ( 3 ounces) 111 calories, 4 grams fat, 1.7 grams of omega-3 fatty acids
  • Pacific and jack mackerel (3 ounces) 134 calories, 7 grams fat, 1.6 grams of omega-3 fatty acids
  • Pacific black cod (3 ounces) 70 calories, 1 gram fat, 1.5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids
  • Whitefish (3 ounces) 115 calories, 5 grams fat,1.5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids
  • Albacore tuna (3 ounces, canned, packed in water) 109 calories, 3 grams fat, 0.7 grams ofomega-3 fatty acids
  • Atlantic herring(3 ounces) 134 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1.4 grams of omega-3 fatty acids
  • Tilapia(4 ounces) 145 calories, 3 grams of fat, 0.1 grams of omega-3 fatty acids

The calorie counts listed are for the raw form of each omega-3-rich fish. Note that unless cooked with flour or another ingredient that contains carbohydrate, fish itself, as a protein, does not contain any carbohydrate.The way that you prepare your fish will change the calorie count. Baked fish, grilled fish, and broiled fish are usually lowest in calories.

(Video) ✅Nutrition facts of fish |Health benefits of fish|How many calories,carbs,fat,fiber,protein in fish

And what about shellfish and other types of seafood? A single serving of shrimp (three ounces) provides about 100 calories and only 1.5 grams of fat, so they can be a healthy addition to your diet. And calories in scallops are low as well. Three ounces of steamed scallops provide about 95 calories and less than one gram of fat.

Less Healthy Fish Options

Even though eating fish can be good for you, not all fish is good for your diet. There are some times when skipping fish is the better diet choice, even if the fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids.

These are fats that you should limit in your diet. Convenience products like breaded fish sticks, fish tenders, and fish patties are often higher in fat and calories and don't provide as many health benefits as fish that is prepared using low-calorie methods. For example, a breaded fish fillet provides approximately 350-400 calories and 17-25 grams of fat and up to 5 grams of sugar.

When you're trying to cut calories in a restaurant, be wary of fish dishes that can interfere with your weight loss efforts. It's usually best to skip the fish and chips and choose a grilled or roasted fish instead. Ask for the sauce to be put on the side to keep the fat and calorie count in control.

Storage and Food Safety

Fish experts suggest that you buy the freshest catch available. It helps if you know what questions to ask when you visit the fish counter at your local market.

  • When was it caught? The fresher the better. Fish may remain edible for five days after it is caught, but it may not taste as fresh.
  • How was it stored? The way that the fish is stored and delivered to the market will have an impact on the taste. Fish should be chilled immediately after catching, and kept cold through delivery and to the market.
  • How does it look? How does it smell?If the fish has a bad odor, it is probably not fresh. Fresh fish should smell like seawater. If you are buying fish fillets, look for a moist texture with clean cut edges.If the fish is whole, look for clear eyes and firm texture.
  • Where is it from? The Natural Resources Defense Council suggests that you buy local fish from sustainable fisheries. In their Smart Seafood Buying Guide they advise that you buy American fish and provide a list of fish with lower mercury levels for better health and safety.
  • What is the best way to prepare this fish? Sometimes, the fish monger is the best source for fabulous, simple and healthy fish recipes and preparation methods.

Use your fresh fish within two days or put it in the freezer. When you are ready to use frozen fish, thaw it in the refrigerator (never at room temperature).

If you're not used to it, including fish in your diet might be hard at first. But the health benefits of eating omega-3 fish are clear. And when you're trying to lose weight, it's important to choose foods that are nutrient-dense. That means that they are foods that provide many nutritional benefits for fewer calories.

If you don't like the taste of fish, there are a few things you can do toinclude it in your diet. First, try less "fishy" varieties. For example, many healthy eaters say that red snapper (about 100 calories per serving) has a less fishy taste than a heavier fish like salmon. You can also add fresh herbs and citrus to manage the taste.

Or try adding fish to recipes that you know you like. Add fish to a healthy salad.Or try making grilled fish tacos. You can add salmon to your morning omelet or even make a lean fish sandwich for lunch. You can use fish just like you would use any other protein, like chicken.

(Video) Start Eating Fish Every Day, And See What Happens to Your Body

Drizzle your fish with lemon or lime to give it a fresh and zesty flair. If you're creative and persistent, you'll get your two servings of fish per week along with all of the health and weight loss benefits that they provide.

  • 6 Healthy Ways to Cook Fish
  • Very Easy Grilled Dill Salmon
  • Salmon with Tangy Glaze

Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. American Heart Association. Getting Healthy. Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids.

    (Video) Top 3 Best Fish vs. Worst Fish to Eat: Thomas DeLauer

  2. U.S. Department of Agriculture. FoodData Central.

  3. National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. 7 things to know about omega-3 fatty acids.

  4. Rizos EC, Ntzani EE, et al. Association Between Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation and Risk of Major Cardiovascular Disease Events A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA. 2012;308(10):1024-1033. doi:10.1001/2012.jama.11374

  5. Natural Resources Defense Council. Nicole Greenfield. The smart seafood buying guide: five ways to ensure the fish you eat is healthy for you and for the environment.

Fish Nutrition Facts: Calories and Health Benefits (1)

By Malia Frey
Malia Frey is a weight loss expert, certified health coach, weight management specialist, personal trainer​, and fitness nutrition specialist.

FAQs

What are the healthy benefits of eating fish? ›

Fish is filled with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins such as D and B2 (riboflavin). Fish is rich in calcium and phosphorus and a great source of minerals, such as iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and potassium. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least two times per week as part of a healthy diet.

What fish is high in calories? ›

In the calorie chart, types of fish that show high calorie density, including salmon and tuna, will have a greater amount of fat per serving.

Does fish have a lot of calories? ›

Most lean or lower fat species of fish, such as cod, flounder, and sole, contain 100 calories or less per 3 ounce cooked portion, and even the fattier fish like mackerel, herring, and salmon contain approximately 200 calories or less in a 3 ounce cooked serving.

Is fish healthier than chicken? ›

While they are both excellent sources of protein and add to your nutrient profile, the benefits of fish tend to be slightly higher than chicken, especially when it comes to the Omega-3 content in it.

Why is fish good for your brain? ›

Fatty fish is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, a major building block of the brain. Omega-3s play a role in sharpening memory and improving mood, as well as protecting your brain against cognitive decline.

Which fish has most protein? ›

Tuna. Fresh tuna has the most protein per gram of any of the seafood on this list. With 30.7g of protein in a 100-gram serving, fresh tuna has the most protein by weight and is at the top of the list of commercially available, high-protein fish.

Can I eat fish every day? ›

But is it safe to eat fish every day? “For most individuals it's fine to eat fish every day,” says Eric Rimm, professor of epidemiology and nutrition, in an August 30, 2015 article on Today.com, adding that “it's certainly better to eat fish every day than to eat beef every day.”

Is fish high in protein? ›

All types of fish are high in protein. For example, half a salmon fillet (124 grams) provides 30.5 grams of protein, while a cod fillet (180 grams) provides 41 grams of protein ( 30 , 31 ).

Is fish healthier than meat? ›

In general, red meats (beef, pork and lamb) have more cholesterol and saturated (bad) fat than chicken, fish and vegetable proteins such as beans. Cholesterol and saturated fat can raise your blood cholesterol and make heart disease worse. Chicken and fish have less saturated fat than most red meat.

Is fish the healthiest meat? ›

When it comes to choosing healthy meat, fish swims to the top of the list. In addition to providing protein, vitamin D, vitamin B12, iron, selenium, zinc, and iodine, fish is noteworthy as an excellent source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

How often should I eat fish? ›

Eat up to 12 ounces (two average meals) a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury. Shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish are low-mercury fish. Albacore (“white”) tuna has more mercury than canned light tuna. So limit your intake of albacore tuna to once a week.

Which fish is best for weight loss? ›

Best: Lean Fish

Lean seafood has fewer calories than the fatty kind -- and lots of protein. For example, low-fat fish like tilapia, cod, flounder, and sole have fewer than 120 calories in a 3-ounce serving and give you plenty of protein.

What is the healthiest thing on earth? ›

The 10 healthiest foods on Earth
  • Lemons. ...
  • Beetroots. ...
  • Dark Chocolate. ...
  • Lentils. ...
  • Raspberries. ...
  • Walnuts. ...
  • Salmon. This fish is an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids which is linked to reducing the risk of depression, heart disease and cancer. ...
  • Avocado. The avocado can divide people, it is the marmite of the fruit world.
12 Jun 2017

Is fried fish healthy? ›

Fish are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which studies have linked with a reduced risk of heart attack and stroke. But there is evidence that frying fish reduces the amount of omega-3 fatty acids, and of course, it increases the food's fat and calorie content.

What are the 3 foods that fight memory loss? ›

What are the foods that fight memory loss? Berries, fish, and leafy green vegetables are 3 of the best foods that fight memory loss. There's a mountain of evidence showing they support and protect brain health.

What is good for memory? ›

Get adequate omega-3 fatty acids.

Essential for good brain health, omega-3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, in particular, may help improve memory. Seafood, algae and fatty fish — including salmon, bluefin tuna, sardines and herring — are some of the best sources of the omega-3 fatty acid, DHA.

Is fish high in iron? ›

Fish. It's a high-protein, low-fat way to add iron to your diet. And it doesn't matter if it's from a farm or caught in the wild. Tuna, sardines, mackerel, and haddock are good sources of the mineral.

Which is better for protein chicken or fish? ›

Protein Value

Both chicken and fish are good sources of protein however, the question remains which one has the higher amount of protein. An average can of Tuna provides you with 42g of protein, while 100g of chicken leaves you with about 21g of it.

What fruit has the most protein? ›

Guava. Guava is one of the most protein-rich fruits around. You'll get a whopping 4.2 grams of the stuff in every cup. This tropical fruit is also high in vitamin C and fiber.

Which fish has highest omega-3? ›

Fatty fish contain the most omega-3 fatty acids and seem to be the most beneficial to heart health.
...
Good omega-3-rich fish options include:
  • Salmon.
  • Sardine.
  • Atlantic mackerel.
  • Cod.
  • Herring.
  • Lake trout.
  • Canned, light tuna.

Which fish has most mercury? ›

Overall, larger and longer-lived fish tend to contain the most mercury ( 4 ). These include shark, swordfish, fresh tuna, marlin, king mackerel, tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico, and northern pike ( 5 ). Larger fish tend to eat many smaller fish, which contain small amounts of mercury.

What happens if u eat too much fish? ›

It's also possible to develop mercury poisoning from eating too much seafood, even if the varieties have lower levels of mercury. The FDA states that in small amounts, certain types of fish with lower mercury levels may be okay for adults to eat once or twice per week.

Does fish improve skin? ›

Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and herring, are excellent foods for healthy skin. They're rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for maintaining skin health (1). Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary to help keep skin thick, supple, and moisturized.

Is fish and rice healthy? ›

This classic muscle-building dish is packed with protein and low-GI carbs while being very low in saturated fat, making it a physique-friendly favorite.

Is eating fish daily good for health? ›

But is it safe to eat fish every day? “For most individuals it's fine to eat fish every day,” says Eric Rimm, professor of epidemiology and nutrition, in an August 30, 2015 article on Today.com, adding that “it's certainly better to eat fish every day than to eat beef every day.”

What happens if I eat fish everyday? ›

Fish is a one-stop source of so many vital nutrients that it can maintain a healthy balance in your body, and help fight all sorts of major diseases. Apart from these benefits, eating fish can also improve your metabolism, sleep quality, skin quality, concentration and alleviate inflammation.

Is fish healthier than meat? ›

In general, red meats (beef, pork and lamb) have more cholesterol and saturated (bad) fat than chicken, fish and vegetable proteins such as beans. Cholesterol and saturated fat can raise your blood cholesterol and make heart disease worse. Chicken and fish have less saturated fat than most red meat.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of eating fish? ›

Fish is low in fat, high in protein and an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids. Regular consumption of fish can reduce the risk of various diseases and disorders. Selected research findings indicate the following: Asthma - children who eat fish may be less likely to develop asthma.

Is fish good for skin? ›

Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and herring, are excellent foods for healthy skin. They're rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for maintaining skin health (1). Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary to help keep skin thick, supple, and moisturized.

Is fish good for hair? ›

Fatty fish like salmon, herring, and mackerel have nutrients that may promote hair growth. They are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to hair growth in several studies.

Is fish good for eyes? ›

Fish, particularly salmon, can be a great food to consume for eye health. Salmon and other fish have omega-3 fatty acids. These are “healthy” fats. Omega-3 fatty acids can contribute to visual development and the health of the retina in the back of the eye.

Who should not eat fish? ›

However, some fish are high in mercury, which is linked to brain developmental problems. Thus, pregnant women should only eat low-mercury fish, such as salmon, sardines, and trout, and no more than 12 ounces (340 grams) per week.

How much fish should I eat per day? ›

How much fish should we eat? A healthy, balanced diet should include at least 2 portions of fish a week, including 1 of oily fish. Most of us aren't eating this much. A portion is around 140g (4.9oz).

What are the side effects of eating too much fish? ›

Mercury is most notable for its neurological effects. In general, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that too much mercury may cause: anxiety.
...
Mercury poisoning symptoms in adults
  • hearing and speech difficulties.
  • lack of coordination.
  • muscle weakness.
  • nerve loss in hands and face.
  • trouble walking.
  • vision changes.

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