This Is the Healthiest (And Most Sustainable) Fish to Eat, Say Experts

fresh fish

Seafood is a great option when you are trying to eat healthier, but which fish is best for you and the planet?

CNN spoke to experts about which type of fish you should be eating for optimal nutrition and health benefits, along with which is most sustainable -- plus they revealed which types of seafood are hardest on the planet.

"As an animal source, it has one of the lowest amounts of saturated fat in relation to protein,"  dietitian nutritionist Lourdes Castro tells CNN, noting seafood is a great source of vitamin D and B, and important minerals like iron, potassium, and calcium. Fish also provide us with omega-3 fatty acids, which are believed to help with our cardiovascular and immune systems.

CNN's experts urge everyone to eat seafood at least twice a week in order to get a boost of omega-3 fatty acids, which are not all that common in other types of foods commonly eaten. The National Institutes of Health says mean need 1.6 grams of omega-3s each day and women should be getting 1.1 grams daily.

And the experts' top pick for the healthiest fish to eat: salmon

Food science and human nutrition Mary Ellen Camire says of salmon, "Fattier fish from cold water are a better source of omega-3s" and notes that salmon contains the most omega-3 fatty acids per ounce, and nearly every type of salmon meets the National Institutes of Health's recommended amount of omega-3s.

The 3 types of wild salmon with the highest levels of omega-3s: Alaskan Chinook salmon (also called king salmon), Coho salmon, and sockeye salmon.

The experts say there are advantages and disadvantages to both wild and farm-raised types of salmon and note advances in sustainable farming have come a long way in recent years. Wild salmon was thought to be the best option for years, but the experts explain there may not be enough fish in our oceans to feed everyone in the long term. The experts say fish farmers adjusting the diet of fish to produce more omega-3s may be a solution to make farm-raised fish more sustainable and also a healthy food source. 

Other types of seafood that are high in omega-3s and also usually very sustainable, according to CNN's experts:

  • Oysters
  • Mussels
  • Clams
  • Rainbow trout (US-farmed)

Fish to avoid due to sustainability issues

  • Tuna (certain types like bluefin, due to overfishing and possible high mercury levels, the experts say to look for "pole and line caught" or "troll-caught" tuna)
  • Sardines
  • Mackerel

Get CNN's entire list of the best type of fish to eat, good alternatives, and their picks for fish to avoid, here!

More: Get More Vitamin D from Fish!

More: The Best Type of Fish to Eat After a Workout

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