Health

Which fish is the healthiest?

Separating the good fish from the rest of the school

Atlantic salmon fish
Which fish is the healthiest?
Separating the good fish from the rest of the school

Let’s be clear: Fish are good for you. They’re packed with omega-3s, those fatty acids that slash your risk of heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, depression and kidney cancer. Yet Canadians have been forgoing fish, consuming twice as much poultry and nearly four times as much red meat. Is it concern over mercury levels? Confusion about picking between farmed and wild? Take a closer look at four contenders for your dinner plate.

  NUTRITION
(75 g serving)
THE GOOD THE BAD THE VERDICT
Atlantic Salmon 154 calories, 47 mg cholesterol, 9.26 total g of fat. Its mercury content is safely low and it’s the best source of omega-3s (1.8 g per serving, more than three times the required daily dose). The latter links salmon to a drop in prostate-cancer risk and reduced hostility in teens. A family-friendly fish. Farmed salmon is more likely to contain carcinogenic polychlorinated biphenyls, though experts argue its PCB levels are too low to register an impact on humans. Still, buy wild salmon for peace of mind. Heads and tails the best fish on the market. Bonus: All canned salmon is wild, so feel free to pick up a couple of tins at the supermarket. Your formerly grouchy teen will thank you.
Tilapia 96 calories,
43 mg cholesterol, 1.99 total g of fat.
High nutritional content and low mercury. A farmed fish, but the David Suzuki Foundation says tilapia aquaculture is ecologically sustainable, meaning wastes turn into fertilizers, rather than pollutants. One serving has only 166 mg of omega-3s, less than one-third the daily requirement. This fish is tasty baked, steamed or blackened. It just won’t give you omega-3s.
Orange Roughy 67 calories,
20 mg cholesterol, 0.68 total g of fat.
Those low calories! That teeny fat content! And only a whiff of cholesterol! Still… Sky-high mercury content – higher than Health Canada’s guideline for routine consumption. There’s just a touch of omega-3s here, too: only 27 mg per serving. Health Canada approves eating 150 g a week of this or other predatory fish. If you’re breastfeeding or pregnant, have just 150g a month.
Atlantic Pollock 88 calories,
68 mg cholesterol, 0.94 total g of fat.
Found in fish sticks and imitation crab, you probably have some in the fridge. Eat up: It’s full of omega-3s and vitamin B12, which promotes healthy nerves. Trace amounts of mercury means low risk to your little ones. It’s salty: An average serving contains about 82 mg of sodium (twice that of Atlantic salmon). Mild-tasting, available and affordable. A good fish that’s guaranteed to please.