steak-626206_640If you follow the headlines you’ll already be aware that oily fish is one of the best sources of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. But there’s so much more to seafood than this one benefit. A healthy diet should include at least two portions of fish per week, one of which should be oily fish. A portion should be around 140g (about 5 oz) for the average adult. But what is the difference between oily fish and any other kind, and what types of fish are included in these groups, anyway?

Simply put, oily fish are those fish whose fat or oils are distributed throughout their flesh rather than solely in the liver as in white fish.So when we eat oily fish, we consume their oils, whereas with white fish we don’t. This is why oily fish is such a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, but it also means that oily fish are generally slightly higher in calories. However, this is countered by the health giving benefits of the fatty acids.

Oily fish types include sardines, herring, and fresh tuna (because of the way it is prepared and stored, canned tuna doesn’t count as oily fish). All of these have their own excellent benefits, but to look at them all in more detail, firstly sardines are nutritional all-stars. A single serving contains an incredible 1500 mg of omega-3 fatty acids, 23 grams of protein, a massive 140% of the daily value of vitamin B12 and more than 40 percent Vitamin D, phosphorus and selenium.

A serving of fresh tuna contains 19g of protein as well as huge amounts of selenium, niacin, and vitamins B6 and B12. Another fantastic nutritional powerhouse is herring; with almost 2000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids, 20g protein, 60% selenium and an amazing 180% of vitamin B12 per serving. Other oily fish include salmon, trout, anchovies and mackerel.

Examples of whitefish include cod, plaice, haddock, sole, flounder, pollack, sea bream and sea bass. This type of fish tends to be low in fat, so as long as you enjoy them baked or steamed instead of fried!

Examples of shellfish include crab (brown and white), mussels, clams, oysters and whelks. Oysters may not be to everyone’s taste, but they’re packed with protein and nutrients. A single serving of oysters contains your entire daily value of selenium, vitamin B12 and zinc, as well as being a great source of copper and iron. Crabmeat is also an incredible powerhouse of nutrients, from 19g of protein per 3oz serving to over half your daily dose of selenium.

So you can see there is a huge range of choice when it comes to choosing healthy fish to add to your diet. Just pick out your favourites and enjoy!