Animal-based protein is termed ‘complete’ protein. It contains all nine essential amino acids – histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. As the body cannot produce them, they are to be sourced through foods and fish protein is considered the best source. But which fish has highest protein? Read through to know.
Importance of Protein and How Much We Should Consume
Proteins, in addition to carbohydrates and fats, make up the body’s calorie intake. They provide the energy to carry out a day’s work. Almost 10-35% of the daily dietary intake should comprise proteins. Proteins are further made up of amino acids that act as the body’s building blocks. They are widely present across cells, tissues, organs, blood and muscles. Proteins are the second most abundant compound found in the body after water.
According to the daily dietary recommendations, one must consume at least 0.8 gm of protein per kg of body weight per day. It is important to note that the daily requirement of proteins is directly linked to the activity levels. Based on activity levels, one can calculate the daily protein intake as follows:
- 1 gm per kg of body weight per day for people with minimal activity
- 1.3 gm per kg of body weight per day for people with moderate levels of exercise
- 1.6 gm per kg of body weight per day for people with intense exercise
While this might sound like a lot of protein, by including the highest protein fish in your daily diet, this can easily be attained.
Which Fish Has Highest Protein?
Each type of fish has a unique nutritional value but some contain the highest protein. These include:
Every 100 gm serving of tuna fish contains 33 grams of protein and 225 calories, the highest fish protein found in any form of seafood. Tuna fish are also loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D and other essential nutrients like Vitamin B6, potassium, selenium, iron, and iodine. But because it is high in mercury levels, the consumption of this high-protein fish must be limited to a maximum of three 100 gm servings every week.
Anchovy, a small fish, found in marine water, is usually classified as an oily fish. The bluish-green fish with silver longitudinal lines are long and slender. Every 100 gm serving of Anchovy (canned in oil) contains 210 calories with 29 g of proteins. It contains 9.7 g of total fat with high amounts of Sodium, Potassium, Selenium, Calcium, Iron, and Vitamin A. Anchovy have low mercury levels and therefore, can be safely enjoyed as a high protein source. The fish has high omega-3 fatty acids, especially Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA). Its high Selenium content helps protect against thyroid.
The small-sized Shrimp, typically ranging from 1 inch to 3 inches in length, is mighty rich in proteins. Every 100 g serving of Shrimp confers 24 g of proteins with about 100 calories. Shrimp are mostly made up of proteins and water and are rich in other vitamins and minerals like Phosphorus, Copper, Zinc, Magnesium, Calcium, Potassium, Iron, and Manganese. Each serving contains only 0.3 g of fats and 0.2 g of carbohydrates, making it an ideal inclusion in weight loss diets. The antioxidants present in Shrimp mainly protect cells from damage. The average mercury concentration in Shrimp is relatively low, making it a safe fish protein source.
Lobsters are a rich source of protein. Per 100 g of serving contains 22.1 g of proteins, 98 calories and less than 1 g of fat. Thus, it is a lean, low-calorie source of protein. Lobsters are also rich in Zinc, Phosphorus, Vitamin B12, Vitamin E, Magnesium, and Omega 3 Fatty acids. Lobsters are typically high in HDL, the good cholesterol. With low mercury content, they are a safe option for all, including pregnant women.
Halibut contains various heart-healthy nutrients – omega-3 fatty acids, niacin, selenium, and magnesium. Fish is a good source of high-quality protein. Every 100 g serving of Halibut contains 22.5 g of proteins with 111 calories and 1.6 g of fat. Interestingly, a 160 g serving of halibut meets 100% of the daily dietary needs of selenium, a powerful antioxidant that helps to cure damaged cells. It is a complete protein source, providing all nine essential amino acids. Halibut fish contains low to moderate mercury levels, making it safe to eat in moderate amounts.
A widely popular fish in India, Salmon is a low-calorie, high-omega-3 fish with most protein. Every 100 g of raw salmon contains 20.5 g of high-quality protein. It confers 127 calories with 4.4 g of fats. The fish has 0 carbohydrates with high amounts of Vitamin A, B complex vitamins, and Vitamin D. It is also packed with minerals like Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, and Selenium. The salmon fish can be categorised into six species, ranging from wild fish to farmed species. Almost every variety of Salmon has low levels of mercury, making it a safe and tasty delight.
Tilapia is a freshwater fish which contains high amounts of proteins and nutrients. It is an excellent source of protein, with every 100 gm serving of tilapia conferring 26 gm of high-quality protein. The fish is sans any carbohydrates and contains only 3 gm of fats. The fish is typically rich in minerals and vitamins, namely niacin, Vitamin B12, Phosphorus, and Selenium. Because Tilapia is primarily farm-raised, it has low mercury content as compared to other fish. They are considered safe for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.
A Pollock fish is delicious and nutritionally rich. The fish finds its place in the list of ‘Top 20 Most Nutritious Foods in the World’ because of its unique nutritional composition. It is packed with 20 g of high-quality protein in every 100 g of fish. It has only 90 calories with less than 1 g of fat. It contains high amounts of Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, and Potassium. The fish is also rich in Sodium, Selenium, and Iron. It has low levels of mercury, making it safe for everyday consumption.
Like Pollock, Cod is a fish with white, lean, and tender meat. It is an excellent source of animal protein containing all nine essential amino acids. Every 100 g serving of Cod fish delivers 23 g of high-quality protein and 105 calories. Only 0.9 g of fat makes it a healthy lean protein. The fish is primarily rich in Vitamin A, B, C, Iron, and Calcium. It is also a rich source of sodium and potassium. Its phosphorus and selenium content is especially important for the body. The cod liver oil extracted from the fish is an excellent source of Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. The fish is low in mercury, making it a better choice for consumption.
Mackerel is an oily fish with a firm texture. In addition to its mild taste, it boasts of high amounts of proteins and omega-3 fatty acids. Each 100 gm serving of Mackerel delivers 19 gm of proteins with 189 calories. As Mackerel is an oily fish, it contains 12 gm of fats (3 gm of saturated fat, 4.5 gm of monounsaturated fat, and 2.9 gm of polyunsaturated fat). It is a complete protein with all nine essential amino acids. Mackerel is also an excellent source of Vitamin B3, iron, vitamin B6, riboflavin, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, and selenium. Mackerel contains high amounts of mercury. Its consumption must thus be restricted to no more than twice a week.
Sardine, a small, silvery oily fish, is a popular protein source. Every 100 g of Sardine serving is packed with 12 g of proteins, 100 calories, and 5 g of fats. Sardines also contain reasonable amounts of Vitamin B12, Selenium, Phosphorus, Vitamin D, Calcium, Vitamin B3, and Iodine. The omega-3 fatty acids found in the fish help protect heart health. Sardines have a really low mercury content so they can form a part of your everyday diet.
Which fish has highest protein? Fish are invariably pure proteins and all fish varieties are high-protein sources. Being an animal-based protein, it is thus a complete protein, conferring all nine essential amino acids to the body. Fish protein also bestows numerous health benefits as it is packed with healthy omega 3 fatty acids, various minerals and vitamins. But individuals should be wary that high mercury levels in some fish can be detrimental to human health. So, choosing the right fish and adjusting the consumption accordingly is essential.