Seafood – an acquired taste for some, but a favorite food for others.
Seafood, specifically, fish can be one of the best sources out there for a variety of vitamins, minerals, protein… and of course the most well known, HEALTHY FATS. I say can be, because like anything, the quality of the fish will play a big part of whether or not you get the nutritional and health benefits you hear about when it comes to fish.
For example, fish sticks and wild-caught salmon are both “fish” … yes, but are vastly different in the impact they each will have on your health, body, and results you earn!
In this article, we’ll explain why fish is so good to eat. We’ll also talk about what the best fish to eat, as well as other fish options for you to add to your nutrition plan.
There are several vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that you need and can get from fish.
Let’s talk about them for a bit.
Omega-3 fatty acids are great for maintaining a healthy heart. Omega-3 fatty acids can lower your blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular problems. Omega-3 fatty acids also help aid brain function and improve vision in infants. They’re great for the nervous system as well.
It’s been shown that Omega-3 fatty acids can possibly decrease the risk of diseases such as depression, ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and diabetes. Not only that, but Omega-3 fatty acids can lessen the inflammation that makes arthritis worse.
Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, which aids in bone growth and maintenance. Normally, those with too little vitamin D in their system end up having soft or brittle bones which are more prone to injury.
Vitamin D also plays a role in hormone regulation. This can have a positive impact on weight management as well as energy levels, mood, and even helping with sleep! What many people don’t know is that roughly 70% of the American population is low or deficient in Vitamin D! Therefore, eating fish could possibly help you get back into a healthy range for Vitamin D3 intake.
Vitamin B2 is also known as riboflavin. Vitamin B2 helps break down macronutrients such as fat, protein, and carbohydrates into compounds that the body can use. Vitamin B2 helps convert carbs into adenosine triphosphate (ATP.) ATP is essential for producing energy for the entire body.
Calcium is a mineral that’s famous for making and maintaining strong, healthy bones. Calcium is mostly stored within the bones. Calcium is also an important mineral that helps give your blood the ability to clot. It also plays an important role in your muscles’ ability to contract and your heart’s ability to beat.
Although the vast majority of your calcium’s is stored in the blood and teeth, it clearly helps to perform other essential bodily functions.
Phosphorus works with Vitamin D and calcium to help build strong bones. It also plays an important role in healthy cell creation and energy production. Calcium and phosphorus have an odd relationship. When your levels of one are too high then it will prevent your body from absorbing the other.
Iron is vital for hemoglobin production. That’s what red blood cells use to carry oxygen throughout the body. This also explains why blood has an iron-like taste to it. The majority of your iron goes to hemoglobin production, but iron also part of many other proteins and enzymes in your body.
Zinc helps boost the immune system. Your immune system keeps you from getting sick by fighting off bacteria and viruses. Zinc also plays a role in DNA replication. It helps the body create the proteins necessary for your DNA to replicate.
Iodine is an important mineral that helps make and regulate thyroid hormones. These hormones are what help the body control and maintain bodily functions such as metabolism.
Thyroid hormones also help improve bone and brain development in babies during pregnancy and infancy. When you look at all of the things thyroid hormones are responsible for, it becomes obvious why iodine is important as well.
Magnesium is needed for over 300 different biochemical reactions. Needless to say, we’re not going to list all of them off here. We will say, however, highlight a couple of the most important roles magnesium plays. It helps maintain nerve and muscle function. It helps support a healthy immune system.
Magnesium also regulates your blood glucose levels and aids in energy production.
Lastly, let’s talk about potassium. Potassium is a mineral that works as an electrolyte. Your muscles need it to contract properly. Your heart needs it to beat regularly. And you need it to regulate your blood pressure.
Aside from the above-mentioned vitamins and minerals, fish can be a great source of protein. If you’re looking for a source of protein that’s low “bad” fats but sufficiently high in the good ones, you’ll be hard-pressed finding better options than high-quality fish.
After learning about the nutritional benefits of some types of fish, you might be wondering what to include in your diet and what to avoid in terms of fish if you’re looking for the best fish to eat, here are some suggestions.
The best fish to eat include:
Salmon beats the other fish on this list. From a nutrient standpoint, it seems to be the best fish to eat, especially if you can get your hands on some wild-caught, Atlantic salmon. Some even refer to wild Atlantic salmon as virtually a superfood in its own right!
Wild-caught is going to be the best type of all of the fish listed above! This is because in most cases the omega-3 content would be higher as well as other beneficial vitamins and minerals and lower in the potential to contain toxins or substances you don’t want to ingest.
As I said above, not all fish are created equal. Fish sticks vs Wild Caught salmon are going to be drastically different…. the differences between those two should be obvious. But when looking at less obvious differences, say between wild-caught salmon and Bluefin Tuna, the differences will be less obvious. These differences don’t necessarily make one type of fish bad… it can simply just mean that they are different.
For example, the amount of fat and protein per serving, and how it can fit into your macros can influence how effective or beneficial that particular source of fish is for that individual. Or the differences might be how many omega-3 fatty acids or other nutrients are in it compared to other sources.
Now I do want to note that some fish, such
Other fish options include:
When that list is compared to the “good” fish option list… you have quite an extensive list and lots of options. Which typically leads to one question we get here at 1st Phorm… and it’s a question that gets at my fish sticks vs salmon analogy as well. So let’s dive in… (pun intended haha)
Most of these fish are only considered bad if you get them from a fish farm. This is because farmed tuna and salmon have been known to carry parasites, for example. Others still are bad for you because they contain higher levels of mercury and other toxins that we should generally avoid.
Now, to put it into perspective, I am not saying you should never eat a farm-raised fish again. For almost the entire world, myself included, that would not be feasible. What I am saying is that if you can make the choice, lean toward a while caught fish… or if you are going to have fish as a main staple in your diet… eating it every day or multiple times a day … I would minimize the amount of farm-raised fish you consume.
Also, another thing to consider is the food farm-raised fished are served. The feed, or grain, or food they are given can can alter there omega 3 and omega 6 fat ratios. Do some background research to find out what labels mean what when it comes to fish. You can find out more about where the fish is coming from and decide if the environment is good enough or not.
If you’re looking to change your diet, eating fish is a good way to do it. Another good thing to do is supplement your food intake with 1st Phorm.
Whether you’re looking to improve your nutrition with healthy omega-3’s or you’re wanting to increase your protein intake without adding extra calories to your diet, 1st Phorm has a variety of supplements that can help you reach your various goals.
Try 1st Phorm today!
*This post was written by Will Grumke. He is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist, NASM Certified Weight Loss Specialist, NASM Certified Behavioral Change Specialist, and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer.
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