When it comes to protein-packed dinners, your mind probably goes straight to juicy steaks and lean chicken. But there’s a whole sea of nutrient-dense dinner options—literally. “Many people often overlook the health benefits of fish,” says registered dietitian Manuel Villacorta, R.D., founder and author of Whole Body Reboot. And, in fact, certain swimmers offer as much protein, ounce-for-ounce, as both chicken and beef.
OK, we know you’re not a total aquatic novice—you’ve probably grilled a slab of salmon before. But there are so many different species of fish, each with a different flavor and level of nutrients, Villacorta offers. “I often tell my clients that simply adding two servings of fish within a week can give you a burst of nutrients that you might otherwise not get,” he adds.
The healthiest aquatic options are fatty fish—species high in omega-3 fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamin D. “These fatty acids are crucial for your body and brain to function optimally, and are strongly linked to reduced risk of many diseases, including heart attack, stroke, and heart disease,” he adds.
Aside from nutrition, you should also consider buying wild-caught fish—a factor that influences not just the species’ sustainability but also its nutritional value. All Villacorta’s suggestions are not only the heaviest hitters in protein and beneficial nutrients, but are also approved for consumption by the Marine Stewardship Council, a non-profit organization that focuses on creating a more sustainable seafood market.
Here are the top 10 fish you should be eating for optimal nutrients.