14 Amazing Benefits of Fish

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Eating fish is a common practice in many countries in the world, not only because of convenience but also because of the many health benefits that these marine creatures can provide.

What is Fish?

As most of you know, fish are aquatic creatures possessing gills and fins in place of limbs. Unlike other large classifications of animals, they are a paraphyletic group of taxa, composed of lampreys, hagfish, bony fish, and cartilaginous. These creatures first began to develop during the Cambrian period, which occurred roughly 500 million years ago. Most estimates place the total number of species close to 32,000 different varieties, some of which are hunted and cultivated in different parts of the world. [1]

Eating fish is very healthy, as some species provide a storehouse of nutrients and essential fatty acids that the body needs. Despite such a wide variety available in the oceans, lakes, and rivers of the world, only a small percentage of its species are consumed regularly by humans. [2]

Flatline picture of trevally fish placed on a wooden board with lime halves and sprigs of dill.

The firm-fleshed trevally fish can make a light supper. Photo Credit: Shutterstock


When it comes to nutrition, there are a few foods that are as nutrient-dense as fish. These delicious marine creatures can provide high levels of vitamin D, vitamin B12, selenium, and protein. This is in addition to high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, both of which are essential for human health. The nutrient density will vary widely between species. Some species are known for being very healthy for consumption, while others are known to be quite dangerous, due to the presence of heavy metals. [3]


There are many impressive health benefits associated with eating fish on a regular basis, including its ability to reduce depression, lower your risk of autoimmune diseases, and even alleviate PMS symptoms, among many others. [4]

  • Speeds up the metabolism to improve weight loss [5]
  • Treats liver disease
  • Alleviates PMS symptoms, such as mood swings and cramps
  • Boosts brain health, increases concentration, and is likely to arrest the onset of Alzheimer’s disease [6]
  • Lowers risk of heart attacks and strokes
  • Reduces the chance of developing autoimmune diseases
  • Protects against type 2 diabetes [7]
  • Improves sleep quality and prevents insomnia
  • Boosts skin health and can alleviate acne symptoms
  • Provides critical nutrients for development and growth
  • Reduces blood pressure and lowers cholesterol to protect cardiovascular health [8]
  • Eases the pain and discomfort of rheumatoid arthritis
  • Strengthens vision and eye health
  • Helps to prevent cancer [9]
  • Helps reduce asthma in children [10]

How to Store?

Once you catch or purchase fish, it is important to know how to store it in a safe and healthy way.

  • Cooked: After cooking it, you can store the leftovers for 3 to 4 days. However, it is best to eat it on the day it is prepared.
  • Smoked: To avoid food poisoning, smoked fish should be stored on a plate in the refrigerator for no more than 4-5 days. Be sure to cover it in plastic cling wrap.
  • Fresh: Most refrigerators do not get cold enough to store fresh fish overnight without some degradation in flavor or taste. Therefore, you can use ice packs or ice wrapped around it to keep the temperature low. This will ensure its freshness in the coming days.
  • Frozen: If you want to freeze fresh fish, be sure that it is completely dry and then place it in a freezer bag. [11]

Side Effects

In general, eating fish is considered a healthy practice. But there are some side effects when too much of it is eaten.

  • The biggest health risk associated with it is the presence of mercury, which poses the risk of heavy metal toxicity that has negative effects on human health.
  • Many species are prone to certain bacteria or compounds that can cause ill health.
  • Breastfeeding and pregnant women should be particularly careful when eating it.

In most cases, it is quite easy to find out which fish is considered healthy, and which is considered dangerous. [12]

Risky for Health:

  • Spanish mackerel
  • Eel
  • Tilefish
  • Shark
  • Swordfish

Good for Health:

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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