Fish and seafood products, have a high nutritional value regarding beneficial amounts of protein, lipids as well as essential micronutrients.

By Gulshan Zahra, Anam Saira, H. Maria Mahmood, Masood Ahmad

Aquatic animal foods are a rich source of protein and have a lower caloric density, and have a high content of omega 3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LC PUFA) compared to land living animals. (Strong links between fish and seafood consumption and positive health effects, especially with the decreased risk of coronary heart and cardiovascular diseases, decreased inflammatory disease as arthritis and prevention of cancer have been shown by many researchers. But research is proving more and more, that also other nutrients from fish have positive effects on human health. In addition of being the major source of n-3 LC PUFA, fish and other seafood have also a well-balanced amino acid composition, contain high proportions of taurine and choline, the vitamins D3 and B12 and the minerals calcium, phosphorus, iodine, and selenium.

Omega-3 fatty acids in fish and lipids in human nutrition

 In pre-agricultural times, the foods available to humans were game meat, fish, shellfish, green leafy vegetables, fruits, berries, honey, and nuts. This diet, containing higher amounts of n-3 PUFA and lower amounts of n-6 PUFA than modern diets, shaped the genetics of human nutrition. After the agricultural revolution though, intake of cereals increased enormously. Cereals are rich in n-6 PUFA and low in n-3 PUFA and, as a consequence, the n-6/n-3 PUFA balance to which humans are adapted has changed dramatically over the last 10,000 years. Human genetics however could not keep pace with such a fast change in dietary habits, since the spontaneous mutation rate for nuclear DNA is estimated to be 0.5% per million years.

Protein in Fin Fish

The exact protein content of fish depends on the species you select. In a 3-ounce serving size of the most common fin fish, you’ll get between 16 and 26 grams of protein. That equals between 35 and 57 percent of a woman’s daily needs, and between 29 and 46 percent of a man’s. Fish supplying these amounts are:

  • Catfish
  • Cod
  • Flounder
  • Haddock
  • Halibut
  • Pollock
  • Rainbow trout
  • Ocean perch
  • Orange roughly
  • Salmon
  • Swordfish
  • Tilapia
  • Tuna

The protein content of salmon, one of the most popular fish on the market, varies by the type you buy. Pink salmon – found in canned varieties – contains 22 grams of protein, while Coho, Atlantic and sockeye salmon each offers 24 grams. Tuna, a staple of many American diets, offers the most protein with 26 grams in a serving.


Fish is an important source of micronutrients which are not widely available from other sources in the diets of poor people. Compared to other minerals Ca absorption to body is insufficient. Only 25 to 30% of Ca is absorbed by our body. Besides milk and milk product, fish and fish bones are a good source of Ca and it was shown that calcium absorption from fish is comparable to that of skimmed milk. Ca is also important for bone density and calcium ions play role in most of the metabolic process. Fish is very rich in minerals like iodine and selenium [24]. Small Indigenous Species (SIS) which are consumed whole with heads and bones, can be an excellent source of many minerals such as iodine, selenium, zinc, iron, calcium, phosphorus and potassium. Deficiency of this mineral can cause anemia, impaired brain function and in infants it causes poor learning abilities and poor behavior.


 The entire vitamins essential for human health is present in good amount in fish, but amount may vary according to the fish species. Fish is a significant source of vitamin A and D, and several vitamins of B- group. Many foods are deficient in vitamin D naturally and foods that are fortified with vitamin D is inadequate for a child’s or adult’s development. Many species of fishes store large amount of vitamin A & D in their liver. Vitamin A helps for normal growth, formation of bones and teeth, building of cells and it also prevents the problem of poor eyesight and helps in the treatment of many eye diseases.

Delicious and easy to prepare

Fish is delicious and easy to prepare.For this reason, it should be relatively easy to incorporate it into your diet. Eating fish one or two times per week is considered sufficient to reap its benefits.If possible, choose wild-caught fish rather than farmed. Wild fish tends to have more omega-3s and is less likely to be contaminated with harmful pollutants.Salmon can be prepared baked, fried, seared, or boiled. It pairs well with a multitude of vegetables and grains.

Authors :  Gulshan Zahra, Anam Saira, H. Maria Mahmood, Masood Ahmad University of Agriculture Faisalabad