Fish is one of the most nutrient-dense foods out there. Some may even venture to call certain varieties of fish a superfood, thanks to the slew of nutrients a serving provides. In fact, eating fish is linked to numerous health benefits, including heart health support and brain health.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend adults eat at least 8 ounces of fish per week (based on a 2,000-calorie diet). Pregnant people are advised to limit their fish consumption to 8-12 ounces every week and to stick to low-mercury choices.

You may be sold on the idea of eating enough fish, but with an estimated 20,000 species of fish in the world, it can understandably be difficult to know which fish is the healthiest to eat.

To help you on your quest to pick the healthiest fish, we’ve listed the most convenient, affordable, and nutrient-dense choices below.

But before you start digging into your seafood pick, keep in mind that how you prepare your fish can impact how healthy it is. Specifically, deep frying your fish or drowning it in melted butter won’t make for a super healthy meal, regardless of which fish you choose.

Topping your fish with a creamy sauce isn’t recommended either, as many of these can be loaded with saturated fat (sorry, tartar sauce lovers). Your best bet will be to grill, bake, or sauté your fish and enjoy it with a serving of veggies and a healthy carb (like quinoa or a baked potato).

The 12 Healthiest Fish to Eat

1. Norwegian Salmon

Norwegian salmon is a top pick because of its taste, texture, and nutrition. These salmon thrive in Norway’s ice-cold, pristine waters and are farm-raised following strict standards of sustainability and thoughtful care for ocean health. Norwegian salmon is also antibiotic-free, non-GMO, and a good source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. It’s also packed with vitamins A, D, B12, and riboflavin.

2. Canned Skipjack Tuna

Canned tuna is both economical and accessible – two factors that make eating fish much more approachable for many people. Among the canned tuna options out there, skipjack tends to be lower in mercury than other options, like albacore. Opt for choices that don’t have added salt, and ensure the can you choose isn’t lined with BPA. Cans will typically indicate if they are free from this lining.

3. Cod

As long as it isn’t fried, cod is a protein-packed fish that is mild in flavor and easy to cook. Cod is one of the best sources of iodine, which can help support thyroid health. Norwegian cod is sustainably wild-caught in cold, clear Norwegian waters. Each serving has about 100 calories per 3-ounce portion and is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, D, and B12, and proteins.

4. Pacific Halibut

Halibut is a fish choice with a low to moderate mercury content that contains a slew of nutrients, including high-quality protein, DHA omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin B12. It is also a source of selenium, a nutrient that may support immune health. Pacific halibut tends to have low rates of bycatch and causes little habitat damage.

5. Striped Bass

Also known as rockfish or Atlantic striped bass, this fish is a healthy choice and delicious to eat. This white flaky fish is packed with vitamin D, vitamin E, and many other nutrients. It is also lower on the mercury-containing scale and lower in fat than many other fish options.

6. Arctic Char

This coldwater fish is part of both the trout and salmon families. Mild in flavor and rich in healthy fats, Arctic char is easy to cook and packed with nutrients.

7. Grouper

Grouper may have more mercury than some other fish options, like salmon and cod. But don’t let that stop you from enjoying this saltwater fish once in a while. It’s a source of many important nutrients, is low in saturated fat, and makes for a delicious ingredient in a classic fish sandwich.

8. Flounder

For people who don’t like eating a “fishy” fish, flounder can be a nice solution thanks to its mild flavor. This fish is a source of lean protein, healthy fats, and many micronutrients. Enjoy it baked with olive oil, lemon juice, capers, and parsley for a simple dish with nutrient-packed fish.

9. Wild Alaska Pollock

Unlike other whitefish, Wild Alaska Pollock is raised and caught in its natural habitat. It’s a low-fat, protein-rich, heart-healthy whitefish with nutrients such as vitamin B-12 and omega-3 fatty acids. Wild Alaska Pollock is also known as the ultimate kid-friendly fish due to its mild taste and texture.

10. Herring

Herring is an oily fish, making it a great choice if you are trying to get a boost of omega-3 fatty acids. Herring contains more omega-3s than salmon when comparing serving for serving. It’s one of the lowest mercury-containing fish and is also sustainable.

11. Atlantic Mackerel

The nutrients found in mackerel will have you saying “holy mackerel” after you read the list. From protein to selenium to important DHA omega-3 fatty acids, mackerel has impressive nutritional content. It’s also a lower-mercury fish and easy to include in many dishes. Note that king mackerel is high in methylmercury, so it should be limited.

12. Sardines

If you are a sardine lover, you’ll be thrilled to know that these tiny fish are a low-mercury source of healthy fats, protein, and important micronutrients like vitamin B12 and choline. Sardines can be added to pasta dishes, salads, and even enjoyed on top of toast for a quick and healthy breakfast.

Fish to Limit

While the above fish are great for a healthy diet, there are some fish that you might want to limit due to higher mercury levels and other concerns. These include:

  1. King Mackerel: High in mercury.
  2. Swordfish: High in mercury and overfished.
  3. Tilefish: High in mercury.

Final Tips

Before you head to the store, remember that how you prepare your fish matters. Aim to grill, bake, or sauté your fish for the healthiest meal. Pair it with veggies and a healthy carb like quinoa or a baked potato. Avoid deep frying, drowning your fish in butter, or topping it with creamy sauces loaded with saturated fat.

By choosing wisely and preparing your fish healthily, you can enjoy all the nutritional benefits that fish has to offer.