The benefits of eating fish

Fish is a really nutritious food, being rich in protein, vitamins and minerals which are essential to maintain good health. There are three types of fish: oily fish, white fish and shellfish.

Examples of oily fish

Examples of white fish

Examples of shellfish

Salmon

Mackerel

Fresh tuna

Trout

Sardines

Herring

Cod

Plaice

Whiting

Haddock

Sole

Hake

Crabs

Mussels

Oysters

Lobster

Prawns

Oily fish are a rich source of vitamins A, D and E. They are also rich in essential omega-3 fatty acids which are essential for healthy brain, eye and nerve development in babies and children. They are also beneficial to your heart health and there is emerging evidence to suggest that eating fish reduces the risk of cancer and arthritis.

How much can I eat?

Two portions of fish a week are recommended including one portion of oily fish.

Ways you can buy your fish

Fresh

  • Full of flavour and convenient to prepare and cook.

Frozen

  • Frozen fish with no coatings has the same nutritional content as fresh fish.
  • Fish often comes breaded, battered and in sauce – choose those with lowest salt and fat.

Canned

  • Keep as an essential in your store cupboard – ideal for making a meal when you’re in a hurry.
  • Choose canned fish in mineral water over brine and oil.

Note: Canned tuna does not contribute to a portion of oily fish as the fatty acids are destroyed during the canning process.

Smoked

Choose varieties with lower salt content.

Safety precaution

Children, pregnant women or those planning to have a baby should avoid eating shark, marlin or swordfish as they contain high levels of mercury. Other adults including breastfeeding women should have no more than one portion per week. For more information read our pregnancy and breastfeeding pages. Learn more about fish allergies in the food allergy section.

Storing fish

Purchase as near as possible to when you are going to consume it as it is highly perishable. In the refrigerator, keep in an airtight container or on a plate covered with cling film. Do not put mussels, oysters or any other live shellfish into airtight containers, because they need to breathe. Place in bowl and put in the coldest part of your fridge.