The Best Fish To Eat for Weight Loss
Adding a few seafood recipes to your repertoire can be a fantastic—and absolutely delicious—way to make sure that you're not always eating the same chicken and beef-based entrées. It's also a healthy option that can offer you a wide range of benefits. For instance, eating fish can improve your vision and reduce the risk of both heart disease and Alzheimer's disease, not to mention help you lose weight. That is, if you're eating the right amount and kind of fish.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, an adult should aim to eat around 2 to 3 servings or at least 8 ounces of fish each week. That gives you the opportunity to incorporate a few different types of seafood into your diet.
While you could choose to prepare drool-worthy dishes from different kinds of fish, there are a few specific options that are ideal for healthy weight loss. That's why you should check out the following suggestions from Lisa R. Young, PhD, RDN, nutrition consultant, adjunct professor of nutrition at NYU, the author of Finally Full, Finally Slim, and member of the Eat This, Not That! medical expert board, as well as Paulina Lee, MSHS, RD, LD, functional gut health dietitian and founder of Savvy Stummy, LLC, who both have valuable recommendations for fish that can help with weight loss in a healthy, appetizing, and satisfying way.
"Salmon is a great source of lean protein," Young tells Eat This, Not That!. "It contains omega-3 fatty acids which are essential for our diet. Omega-3sare nutrients that give our body energy and keep our heart, lungs, brain, and immune system working properly. This is important for someone trying to lose weight, especially because these fatty acids may also help to increase one's metabolism."
Along with these helpful benefits, omega-3s may also be able to help with with inflammation. "Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties," says Lee, "and it's also something our bodies don't make on their own, so it's an essential nutrient that should be included through food or supplementation. Anti-inflammatory omega-3s work to reduce inflammation in the body, which may help reduce weight-related inflammation."
Fortunately, we have plenty of healthy salmon recipes for weight loss that you'll surely want to try out.
You might also want to take a peek at our tempting tuna recipes if you're looking to improve your health while losing weight. "Tuna is full of nutrients, like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and selenium," Lee says. "Selenium is an essential nutrient needed by our thyroid to function optimally. Because the thyroid is in charge of metabolism, a poorly functioning thyroid could affect our ability to lose weight, so eating selenium-rich foods may help. One study showed that an increased intake of dietary selenium resulted in a decrease in body fat."
Beyond that, Young says that "skipjack tuna is considered a light tuna—meaning it has a lower mercury level than most other fish," while adding that "tuna also contains DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which is an omega 3 fatty acid."
Young points out that tuna "is a very affordable option and has a long shelf-life if bought canned," which are definitely perks to consider.
Cod is another fabulous fish to add to your diet that can help your body function properly due to the vitamins and minerals found in it. Specifically, Lee notes that "cod fish is high in protein and low in calories and fat," while also being "high in vitamin B that our body needs to manage stress, build neurotransmitters, metabolize nutrients, release energy from food, and so much more."
Young also explains that cod "is low in calories and low in fat, but high in protein, making it very nutrient dense."
Anyone who enjoys eating halibut on a regular basis can also enjoy a handful of health benefits. "Halibut is a great protein source when trying to shed some pounds," Young says while adding this fish to her list of recommendations. "It contains a variety of nutrients such as phosphorus, selenium, magnesium, and vitamins B6 and B12."
Specifically, vitamin B12 has been found to help in the weight loss process. A study published in Nutrients found that deficiency and low levels of this vitamin were associated with greater fat accumulation on the body and increased risk of obesity.
When it comes to tiny fish you can buy canned, sardines take the cake. And Young suggests eating them for weight loss, saying they "are high in iron, vitamin D, and omega 3 fats, which can help decrease inflammation." Additionally, they can benefit your bones and your heart, says the Cleveland Clinic. Young also tells Eat This, Not That!, "This type of fish will leave one feeling satiated and full, causing an individual to eat less frequently."
"Sardines are another great fish source for omega-3 fatty acids," Lee agrees. "Healthy fats can reduce inflammation, improve digestion, and feed some good gut bacteria to support gut healing. Sardines are also low in calories and high in protein."
Finally, Young recommends flounder, which is a fish that can be eaten sautéed, steamed, and even roasted. It can also be purchased whole or in fillets, and often comes without skin. And if you're feeling like an extra treat, it can breaded as well. "Flounder is rich in vitamin B12 and is low in calories and fat," Young adds. "It is low in saturated fat, which makes it a great option for weight loss." In fact, focusing on foods with less saturated fat and higher contents of healthy, unsaturated fat has been found to help reduce abdominal obesity. This makes flounder, as well as the other fish on our list, an excellent weight loss choice.
So, if you're trying to incorporate more fish into your diet for weight loss goals you've set for yourself, this list is a great place for you to start. Also remember, the way you prepare your fish matters as well. When you can, try grilling or baking your fish and opt out of the fried versions as much as possible.
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