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how much protein is in fishHOW MUCH PROTEIN IS IN FISH?

We all know that meat and poultry have a lot of protein. But what about fish? If you, like me, are looking for different options to fill your protein requirements, it’s time to take a closer look at fish.

You have probably heard that eating fish is good for you. But do you know why? Eating fish can have many health benefits:

  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Lowering triglycerides
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Reducing the risk of macular degeneration
  • Reducing the risk of heart disease
  • Reducing the risk of stroke

Fish is loaded with vitamins and minerals. Each type of fish provides slightly different nutritional value. Some fish may provide more Vitamin B6, for example, while another type of fish may provide more Vitamin E. Below are some of the vitamins and minerals commonly found in fish.

  • Niacin
  • Folate
  • Pantothenic Acid
  • Riboflavin
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin E
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorous
  • Potassium
  • Selenium

Fish also provides a lean source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are good fats that your body needs but can’t make itself. Two crucial omega-3s are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). They are primarily found in certain fatty, cold-water fish such as mackerel, sardines, salmon, herring, halibut, trout, anchovies, and tuna. ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), the third omega-3, is found in certain plants.

Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids benefit heart health. Omega-3s help to lower triglyceride levels. High levels of triglycerides are associated with coronary artery disease and metabolic syndrome.

One in four women in the United States dies from heart disease every year. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids are particularly beneficial for post-menopausal women. Omega-3s can help slow, and potentially reverse, coronary atherosclerosis in women with heart disease.

Omega 3-s also benefit your brain. They help support mood and memory as you age.

How Much Protein is in Fish?

So how does the protein in fish stack up to the protein in beef, pork, chicken and turkey? A 3 oz. serving of skinless chicken or roasted turkey has about 25 grams of protein. The same serving of beef has about 26 grams. Pork has about 22, while ham has about 14.

Many fish and other seafood contain over 20 grams of protein per 3 oz. serving. I consider 3 oz. to be a conservative serving. Many people would consider 4-5 oz. (or more) as a serving. Depending on your serving size, one serving of fish may provide over 1/3 of your recommended protein for the day.

If you are looking for the most protein per serving ( 3 oz.) of fish and other seafood, some top choices include:

  1. Scallops: 27 grams
  2. Tuna: 26 grams
  3. Salmon: 22-24 grams
  4. Halibut: 23 grams
  5. Tilapia 22 grams
  6. Haddock: 21 grams
  7. Ocean Perch: 21 grams
  8. Rockfish: 21 grams
  9. Shrimp: 21 grams
  10. Cod: 20 grams
  11. Blue Crab: 20 grams
  12. Pollock: 20 grams

The chart below from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration shows the protein, fat, calories and other nutritional information for 21 fish and seafood varieties.

The American Heart Association recommends eating fish, particularly those high in omega-3s, at least two times a week. Fish provides complete protein with little to no saturated fat. Having varied sources of protein from fish and other seafood–with a mix of both fatty and lean fish is recommended for optimal nutrition.

Many people are familiar with only a limited variety of fish. Some people have only eaten a few similar types of fish and conclude all fish are about the same. Other people have tried fish a few times and are convinced they do not like it. As with many foods, different varieties have different textures and tastes. There is very fishy fish, such as Anchovies and very mild fish, like Cod. There is flaky fish, such as Sea Bass and denser fish, like Mahi Mahi. There is raw fish (Sushi) and canned fish (Tuna) and everything in between. Plus, there is a variety of seafood–Scallops, Shrimp, Clams… Of course how the fish and seafood is prepared is a huge factor in whether someone likes it or not.

Personally, I need to have any fish or seafood to be well cooked. I would rather have overcooked Halibit than undercooked Swordfish. For me, it all has to do with texture. Other people prefer Sashimi and seared Ahi. There are so many different types of fish to try and so many different ways to prepare it, there is bound to be some varieties that appeal to almost everyone. Below is a list of fish high in Omega-3s and a list of lean fish and seafood.

10 Fish High in Omega 3 Fatty Acids

  1. Anchovy
  2. Halibut
  3. Herring
  4. Mackerel
  5. Salmon
  6. Sardines
  7. Snapper
  8. Swordfish
  9. Trout
  10. Tuna

18 Lean Fish and Seafood

  1. Bass
  2. Bluefish
  3. Cod
  4. flounder/Sole
  5. Haddock
  6. Halibut
  7. Lobster
  8. Mahi-mahi
  9. Monkfish
  10. Orange roughy
  11. Perch
  12. Pike
  13. Pollock
  14. Porgy/Scup
  15. Scallops
  16. Snapper
  17. Tilapia
  18. Tuna


4 Fish to Eat in Moderation

Is fish a good, healthy source of protein? Yes. But it isn’t perfect. Traces of mercury is present in pretty much all fish and shellfish. These trace amounts are not usually a concern for most people. However, some fish contain more mercury than others.

Larger amounts of mercury is generally found in predatory and older fish. Shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish are reported to contain the most mercury and should be eaten in moderation. The highest concentration of mercury is found in the skin and outer fatty layer of the fish. Removing these portions and eating a wide variety of fish can help reduce your risk of consuming excess mercury. Children and pregnant women should avoid eating these four fish.



As you can see, most fish has 20 grams or more of protein per 3 oz. serving. If you are looking to expand your sources of healthy protein or looking to add more protein to your diet, I encourage you to try several varieties of fish. Fish supplies a multitude of nutrients, in addition to protein, and provides many benefits to your health.

Your comments are welcome.