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Last Edited: 9/1/04

Is eating fish good for you?

Fish is a good source of nutrition and many kinds of fish are low-cost and easy to prepare.  The American Heart Association recommends that people eat 2-3 meals of fish a week.  EHIB recommends people eat a variety of fish and shellfish as part of a balanced diet.

  • Fish is an excellent low-fat food, a great source of protein, vitamins and minerals.
  • The oils in fish are important for unborn and breastfed babies.
  • Eating a variety of fish helps to reduce your chances of stroke or heart attack.

Fish and Your Heart

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids found in all seafood, including shellfish, oysters and shrimp. When combined with a healthy diet, research suggests these fatty acids help protect against heart disease.

While there are no specific dietary recommendations for omega-3 fatty acids, studies show the healthy effects of omega-3s can be achieved by eating fish twice a week. Since there are more than 200 species of fish and shellfish available, adding fish and shellfish to your weekly eating plan is easy.

Protecting Against Stroke

Eating a variety of fish on a regular basis may help to reduce your chances of some common types of stroke. Stokes and heart attacks can occur due to blood clots, and blood clots are caused when platelets (a part of blood) clump.  Fish, like aspirin, keep platelets from clumping and, therefore, help prevent clots. 

Chemicals in Fish

Fish, like meats, eggs, and dairy products, can contain chemicals.  Different types of fish have more chemicals than others, and people should limit their consumption of these fish.  Shark, swordfish, tilefish, and king mackerel have large amounts of mercury, and pregnant and nursing women, as well as women who may become pregnant and children, should not eat these four fish.  They should also limit their consumption of other fish.  Information for women and children about eating fish can be found here.