The Healthiest Seafood Options and Those to Avoid

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When it comes to seafood, the vast majority of the population seem to have a love hate relationship with it. Some absolutely love it as their favorite food, some can’t stand it. Some people enjoy one type of seafood, and dry heave when merely contemplating another. But aside from our taste preferences, it is generally known that seafood is a healthy food to eat. Fish and many forms of seafood is regarded as some of the most nutrient dense foods available. But is there such a big difference between the healthiest seafood and unhealthy options?

Unfortunately, things have changed with the level of toxicity and pollution saturating this world. Contrary to popular belief, not all forms of seafood are healthy for the human body. Some marine life act as filters for oceanic debris, while others laden with toxins and heavy metals. With so many choices available, it’s tough to really know which will be safer for you and your family’s long-term health.

A growing number of people around the world are becoming more cognizant of their health and daily choices. Many of the main culprits of ill health are somewhat insidious and not so obvious. Even certain vegetables that are thought to be healthy are sometimes packed with harmful heavy metals and anti-nutrients. It’s important to be as informed as possible for you and your family. Here is a short list of some of the healthier options to consume on a regular basis.


Salmon is known as one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. It contains a good portion of omega-3 fats, B-vitamins, potassium, selenium, astaxanthin, vitamins E, D, A, and K! This makes it nearly an ideal food for heart health. The studies on salmon haven’t disappointed either. Research has shown benefits for the brain, heart, inflammation, blood pressure, skin, joints, and much more! It may even benefit people that are struggling with diabetes and obesity.

Salmon is one of the healthiest seafood options that should be a staple in everyone’s diet. Furthermore, it is usually tested as having low levels of mercury. Avoid farm-raised, Atlantic salmon, it has shown much higher levels of over a dozen toxins compared to Pacific salmon. Wild caught salmon is usually more nutrient dense and lower in certain toxins versus farm-raised.


Mackerel is another powerhouse of nutrition just like salmon. The nutrient content qualifies it to rank among the healthiest seafood options in the world. Mackerel contains a considerate dose of omega-3’s, selenium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, vitamin D, and four different B vitamins. The B-12 content of mackerel is very good at almost 300% of the daily value per portion. Since many people are lacking B-12, eating mackerel on a regular basis is ideal. Aim for fresh Atlantic mackerel rather than king, Spanish, or canned mackerel.


Clams rank as one of the world’s most B-12 dense foods on the planet. A small portion of 50 grams supplies 6-8 times the recommended requirements for B-12! Having clams several days a week may be one of the best ways to keep this critical vitamin circulating through your blood. In addition, clams contain several other b-vitamins, vitamin C, D, potassium, selenium, copper, and iron.


Oysters are loaded with zinc, another critical nutrient that’s needed for so many tasks in the body. Zinc is a fairly common deficiency that often goes unnoticed for years and contributes to health problems. A mere 50 gram portion contains about 300% of the daily value for zinc. It is extremely important to cook clams or oysters well and to obviously avoid any shellfish if you have an allergy. Adding thyme, oregano, garlic, cinnamon, and rosemary when shellfish is great for destroying stubborn pathogens that heat may not kill.

Other healthy options include lobster, sardines, cod, herring, shrimp (steer clear of imported or farm raised), and many different types of fish. These are packed with nutrients, but it’s become increasingly important to know the source of where food is coming from. Depending on the waters and other factors, foods can vary quite dramatically in their level of purity.

The Most Toxic Forms of Seafood

Most of the foods on this list aren’t innately unhealthy. Many of them have good nutrition, but also are high in certain harmful toxins. The trade off is not worth it, since these same nutrients can be derived from more pure sources. The human body becomes saturated with toxins that cause ill health and are stubborn to detoxify. It’s best to minimize the exposure as much as possible.

Many products on this list will be a bit of a shock to some. Some of them are beloved and very popular, but this list is strictly about health. Many on this list are loaded with methylmercury, cadmium, lead, arsenic, nickel, PCB’s, PBDEs, dioxins, DDT, antibiotics, pesticides, certain pathogens, and more. Yet somehow, they are still sold to the public without any warning or transparency on the potential harms. These toxins can cause all type of diseases as they build up in the brain, heart, kidneys, and other organs and tissues of the body.

Some of the worst offenders include shark meat, swordfish, imported catfish, imported shrimp, bluefin tuna, tilapia, Chilean sea bass, yellow eel, orange roughy, Atlantic halibut, flounder, grouper, and sole. This eliminates many options, but there are still so many delicious options that are healthy. While there may not be a “healthiest” seafood, there are certainly many toxic ones. Making wise choices can pay dividends in the long-run.