Fish Protein: Why It Shouldn't Be Missing from Your Diet

We're going to show you reasons why you should ensure the presence of fish protein on a frequent basis in your diet.
Fish Protein: Why It Shouldn't Be Missing from Your Diet
Saúl Sánchez Arias

Written and verified by the nutritionist Saúl Sánchez Arias.

Last update: 04 August, 2022

Fish protein is a nutrient that shouldn’t be missing from your diet, as it has several health benefits. In fact, in recent years, nutrition experts have recommended increasing the presence of seafood in the diet. This will help to keep internal inflammation under control, which helps to prevent pathologies.

Before we begin, we must point out that most of the population doesn’t achieve its daily protein requirements. This leads to a series of problems over time, such as the progressive degradation of lean tissue. It’s usually accompanied by a loss of strength and a poor prognosis when there are other associated pathologies.

Benefits of fish protein

Fish protein is of very high quality, and is denoted as having “high biological value”. This is because it has within it all the essential amino acids and a good digestibility score. Satisfying these needs is a determining factor in our daily diet.

In fact, consuming at least 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is recommended for sedentary people. In athletes, this dose can be increased to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, as evidenced by research published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. In this way, the adaptations of the lean mass are improved and the needs derived from muscular effort are compensated.

Some fish.
Fish protein contains all the essential amino acids and, because of this, you should include it in your diet.

Generally speaking, at least half of the proteins in the diet should be of animal origin. Vegetables can be deficient in at least one essential amino acid. In addition, a much higher amount will need to be consumed to achieve a similar anabolic response. They work well to fulfill the requirements, but they shouldn’t be the central part of your diet.

On the other hand, it should be noted that, along with fish protein, a significant amount of very high quality unsaturated fatty acids are ingested. We should highlight all those of the omega 3 series. These have been shown to help to control internal inflammation. This helps to prevent various pathologies, such as muscle mass catabolism in hypocaloric conditions.

What are the best fish to include in the diet?

To make the most of fish protein, these foods should be included frequently in the diet. However, certain considerations should be taken into account.

First of all, small fish should be prioritized. These have much lower concentrations of heavy metals in them. These elements could cause problems related to the central nervous system, according to a study published in the journal Chemosphere.

Similarly, it’s important to ensure the intake of oily fish. For many years, they were demonized because of a higher content in fats. Nowadays, it’s known that these nutrients are very beneficial and necessary in order to prevent pathologies related to the heart. In fact, in some cases, it may even be advisable to supplement them to avoid health alterations.

A fish dish.
Pay attention to the cooking of fish to avoid increasing the caloric value.

Another thing to keep in mind is that farmed fish may have a different lipid profile compared to wild species. Whenever possible, it’s advisable to prioritize the consumption of fish that have been reared in the wild, although this may be more expensive. In this case, it’s worth it. Not only will you achieve a higher nutritional contribution, but the taste will be second to none.

Finally, it should be noted that the cooking methods used are important. As a general rule, it’s advisable to cook grilled, steamed, with water or in the oven. The fewer fatty elements applied, the better. This prevents higher caloric content, which can cause an internal imbalance in your body.

You may also be interested in: 6 Types of Risky Fish that You Should Never Eat

How many times should you eat fish protein per week?

The minimum recommendation in terms of fish consumption to improve health is a couple of servings per week, which would be equivalent to about 300 to 400 grams (10 to 14 oz) of fish. However, to maximize the benefits, these foods should appear more regularly in the diet. At least 3 or 4 times are sufficient to balance the lipid profile and to provide high-quality protein in optimal amounts.

However, it should be noted that canned fish can also be included. These have a very good nutritional value. It’s true that certain metals can be released from the packaging, the accumulation of which is harmful, but, in controlled amounts, this wouldn’t cause too many problems. When in doubt, there’s always the option of acquiring canned food in glass, as this is a much cleaner material.

Bear in mind, also, that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to replace some of the meat you normally consume with fish. In this way, the total caloric value can be efficiently controlled and benefits will be achieved at the lipid profile level. The latter is especially true when the meat consumed doesn’t come from free-range animals.

Hasty, feed-based fattening processes limit the nutritional value of the subsequent products. In certain cases, the antibiotics used could even still be present inside the animal, especially when the relevant tests haven’t been carried out. This is something you should avoid, and you should always buy in trusted places, also favoring local trade.

Fish protein is very good for health

As you have seen, the inclusion of fish protein on a regular basis in the diet is very positive for overall health. This nutrient ensures the good functioning and recovery of muscle mass, thus making it adapt to exercise and avoiding situations of catabolism. Over the years, this will result in a lower incidence of many chronic and complex pathologies, such as sarcopenia.

Finally, keep in mind that it’s vital to obtain your daily protein requirements, something that isn’t always achieved. In this sense, it’s better to overdo it than to underdo it. Gone are the myths related to the problems derived from a high protein intake. In healthy people, this won’t compromise the function of the kidneys or liver at all. It will even be good for the bones, reducing the risk of fracture.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Jäger, R., Kerksick, C. M., Campbell, B. I., Cribb, P. J., Wells, S. D., Skwiat, T. M., Purpura, M., Ziegenfuss, T. N., Ferrando, A. A., Arent, S. M., Smith-Ryan, A. E., Stout, J. R., Arciero, P. J., Ormsbee, M. J., Taylor, L. W., Wilborn, C. D., Kalman, D. S., Kreider, R. B., Willoughby, D. S., Hoffman, J. R., … Antonio, J. (2017). International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: protein and exercise. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition14, 20.
  • Calder P. C. (2017). Omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory processes: from molecules to man. Biochemical Society transactions45(5), 1105–1115.
  • Yang, L., Zhang, Y., Wang, F., Luo, Z., Guo, S., & Strähle, U. (2020). Toxicity of mercury: Molecular evidence. Chemosphere245, 125586.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.