Ten Tasty Fish That Are High In Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Are you looking to boost your omega-3 intake through delicious and nutritious fish choices? Well, you’re in for a treat! We’re about to dive into the world of fish that are not only incredibly tasty but also packed with those heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. These aquatic marvels don’t just make your taste buds sing; they can also do wonders for your health.

From the bold flavors of mackerel to the delicate goodness of trout, join us as we explore the top ten fish that reign supreme in the omega-3 department. So, whether you’re a seafood aficionado or just eager to explore new culinary horizons, this list has something for everyone. Let’s set sail on this ocean of omega-3-rich delights

Excellent Source of Omega-3 Fatty acids


Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for maintaining good health, and fish is one of the best sources of these beneficial fats. Among these healthy fats, it is EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) that are the most important. EPA has been shown to have a positive impact on heart health and the source of omega-3’s anti-inflammatory properties. DHA is crucial for brain function and may help protect against age-related macular degeneration and dry eye syndrome.

The fish highest in omega-3 fatty acids are generally classified as “oily” or “fatty” fish. These are fish that are usually darker in color and often are very flavorful compared to white fleshed fish. Think of it as the difference between chicken breast and chicken thighs. This is not always the case however, and some of the best sources of these fatty acids are not from fish, but from shellfish like oysters.

Research on this subject led to numbers that were hard to verify. This is not the definitive list, but when it comes to fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, here are the heavy hitters:

Mackerel

Season Brand box

Mackerel is one of the richest sources of omega-3s, particularly EPA and DHA. It’s an oily fish that packs a nutritional punch. Mackerel typically has the highest concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Mackerel is considered one of the richest sources of these beneficial fats, making it an excellent choice for those looking to maximize their omega-3 intake. A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) cooked portion of mackerel typically contains an incredible amount of omega-3s, often exceeding 2,000 milligrams of combined EPA and DHA. These concentrations depend on factors such as the specific species of mackerel and where it is sourced.

Salmon

Faroe Island Salmon with Brown Sugar rub

Salmon is another excellent source of omega-3s and is widely available. Salmon is particularly abundant in EPA and DHA. These are the forms of omega-3s that offer significant health benefits, including cardiovascular support, brain function, and anti-inflammatory properties. A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of cooked salmon typically contains approximately 1,000-2,000 milligrams or more of combined EPA and DHA. Wild caught salmon tends to have higher omega-3 content than farmed varieties. When incorporating salmon into your diet for its omega-3 benefits, it’s advisable to choose wild-caught salmon whenever possible, as it tends to have higher omega-3 levels and is often considered a more sustainable option.

Sardines

Tinned sardines in oil are high in omega-3

Sardines are one of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids among commonly consumed fish. These small, oily fish are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids including EPA and DHA, making them an excellent choice. On average, a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of canned sardines typically contains approximately 1,000-1,500 milligrams of combined EPA and DHA. This makes sardines one of the richest natural sources of these essential fatty acids. Canned sardines are arguably the most inexpensive and convenient option as well.

Anchovies

sicilian anchovies

These tiny fish are often used as a flavor enhancer in various dishes and are also rich in omega-3s. Anchovies are particularly dense in DHA, which is crucial for brain health and development. A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of canned or fresh anchovies typically contains a substantial amount of combined EPA and DHA, often exceeding 1,000 milligrams. Beyond the omega-3s, anchovies provide a range of essential nutrients, including high-quality protein, vitamin D, vitamin B12, calcium, and selenium.

Herring

Bar harbor herring

Herring is a fatty fish that is highly regarded for its omega-3 fatty acid content, specifically EPA and DHA. A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of cooked herring typically contains a substantial amount of combined EPA and DHA, often exceeding 2,000 milligrams. It’s commonly pickled or smoked and is a staple in many cuisines. The omega-3 content can be influenced by the processing method. For example, pickled or smoked herring may retain slightly lower omega-3 levels compared to fresh herring. Atlantic and Pacific herring are the two main species of herring commonly consumed. Both species are rich in omega-3s, but the specific content can vary depending on factors such as diet and environment.

Sablefish – Black Cod

gin marinated sablefish

Known for its velvety, buttery texture, sablefish or black cod is very rich is omega-3s. A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) cooked portion of sablefish typically contains approximately 1,000-1,500 milligrams (mg) of combined EPA and DHA. This makes it a rich source of these beneficial fatty acids. Sablefish is generally considered a low-mercury fish, which makes it a safer option for regular consumption. Adding black cod to your seafood mix can greatly increase your omega-3 intake while providing a unique taste and texture compared to other fish species.

Trout

baked rainbow trout

Both rainbow and brook trout are rich in omega-3s and make for a tasty and nutritious meal. A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) cooked portion of rainbow trout may contain approximately 600-1,000 milligrams of combined EPA and DHA. In general, wild-caught trout tend to have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids compared to farm-raised trout, as their natural diet includes algae and small aquatic organisms rich in omega-3s.

Swordfish

Grilled Gloucester Swordfish

Swordfish has a surprising amount of omega-3 for a fish that is not considered “oily.” The fish contains both EPA and DHA, but a smaller amount of the latter. On average, a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) cooked portion of swordfish may contain approximately 250-1,000 milligrams of combined EPA and DHA. Larger swordfish tend to have higher levels of these fatty acids. However, due to the mercury content of large fish, it’s best enjoyed in moderation.

Albacore Tuna

ventresca tapas

Albacore tuna contains a significant amount of omega-3 fatty acids, primarily in the form of EPA and DHA. The precise omega-3 content in albacore tuna can vary depending on factors such as the size and age of the fish. A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) cooked portion of albacore tuna typically contains approximately 900-1,500 milligrams of combined EPA and DHA.

Bluefin Tuna

Bluefin Tuna with mint basil pesto

Bluefin tuna is known for its exceptionally high fat content, which gives it a rich and buttery texture. This fat is where the omega-3 fatty acids are concentrated. On average, a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) cooked portion of bluefin tuna contain approximately 250-500 milligrams of combined EPA and DHA. However these numbers can vary quite a bit, maybe more than the other fish listed considering the wide variation in size and fat content. Like swordfish, bluefin tuna is rich in EPA and DHA, but also can have a high mercury content. If you choose to include bluefin tuna in your diet, it’s suggested to do so in moderation.

Final Thoughts on Fish High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

This is not an exhaustive list, and there are more fish, and shellfish that are high sources of omega-3 fatty acids. A good resource I found when researching was from the Seafood Nutrition Partnership. They produced a chart on omega-3 content based on US FDA data. You can check it out here. Remember that it’s essential to include a variety of fish in your diet to ensure a well-rounded intake of nutrients. As this list shows, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to eat healthy fish. Some of the best options, like canned sardines and mackerel will only set you back a couple of bucks.