After years of having high blood cholesterol, I became more aware of my diet and of the types of foods I was putting into my body. I learned that animal products—especially red meats, eggs, and certain types of seafood—contained a significant amount of dietary cholesterol. As a combination of both mental and physiological responses, my body stopped craving meat. I began to adopt a vegetarian diet—focused on nourishing my body with an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, and plant-based protein.

However, I found it difficult to obtain the right amount of protein that was considered healthy for my body. While eating meat often left me feeling heavy on the inside, eating fish was instead easier to digest and physically made my body feel better both inside and out. 

Though specific diets may not work for everyone and whether you are vegan or not, I want to highlight the benefits of fish and why you should be incorporating it into your diet.

1. Your Body Needs Omega-3 Fatty Acids

sushi, salmon, seafood, fish, sashimi, rice, tuna, wasabi, shrimp, meat, goody
Jocelyn Hsu

Fish and other types of seafood are major sources of our healthy and essential omega-3 fatty acids—the healthy fats in our diet can decrease the risks of inflammation, high blood pressure, and obesity. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the omega-3 fats in fish can protect the heart against the development of erratic and potentially deadly cardiac rhythm disturbances. 

2. Fish Is a Great Source of Lean Protein

salmon, seafood, fish, salmon fillet, Protein
Jocelyn Hsu

When choosing high protein food sources, meat and fish are great options. However, red meats have a significant amount of saturated fats, as compared to fish. Saturated fats and trans fats can raise your blood cholesterol and increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Fish, on the other hand, is known to be both high in protein and packed with healthy unsaturated fats—beneficial fats that ease inflammation, stabilize heart rhythms and improve blood cholesterol levels. 

3. Fish Provides Essential Nutrients for Non-Meat Eaters

Taylor Park

The benefits of fish also include that it is an important source of vitamin D, iodine, selenium, and vitamin B-12—an essential vitamin that most vegans and vegetarians lack. Vitamin B-12 is a water-soluble vitamin that plays an essential role in blood cell formation, cell metabolism, and the production of DNA. This vitamin is absorbed in the body from eating meat, fish, and dairy products. Since plants do not make Vitamin B-12, vegetarians and vegans are more prone to Vitamin B-12 deficiency. Hence, supplementing your body with fish is an excellent source of this vitamin and omega-3 fats.  

The Verdict

Taylor Park

While fish may not be a fan favorite among all taste buds, I encourage you to explore different types of fish and try out new recipes to reap the benefits of fish. Some of my personal favorites include a baked salmon with a dash of lime and black pepper or the tropical mahi mahi with a Hawaiian twist. 

According to Harvard School of Public Health professors Dariush Mozaffarian and Eric Rimm, eating about 1 to 2 servings of omega-3 rich fatty fish per week can reduce the chances of dying from heart disease by more than a third. So, next time you get tired of that boring chicken dinner, I encourage you to try and incorporate a fish dish at least once during the week—your heart and brain will thank you later for these benefits of fish.