healthy fish - 2 pieces of raw salmon on a tray

Fish has so many great nutritional benefits going for it. It’s a fantastic source of protein, typically low in fat, and by consuming a variety of the different types, it will provide many different vitamins and minerals, each offering wide ranging benefits to the body. It’s also quick to cook, so can be the basis of a great midweek meal.

Protein-rich foods such as fish are important to help our muscles grow and repair. Eating the right amount of protein is really important as it provides you with essential amino acids: think of these as the building blocks of the body. Your body is continually building and renewing cells, and you need amino acids to do this. We are unable to produce amino acids in the body ourselves, so it’s essential we get enough from the protein in our diets.

healthy fish

We should ideally be aiming for two portions of fish each week, with at least one portion being oily fish (think mackerel, salmon, pilchards and trout). Oily fish is also a good source of omega three and fatty acids, which help keep our heart healthy. Salmon is super high in vitamin D, which we need to absorb calcium to keep our bones strong and healthy, and vitamin B12, which our metabolic and nervous systems need to function properly. We also use vitamin B12 to make red blood cells. Fresh tuna is an oily fish, but canned tuna isn’t as during the canning process, the levels of omega 3 fatty acids are reduced.

Most white fish, such as haddock, sea bass, coley and pollack are high in the minerals selenium and iodine, which our thyroid glands (the glands which make the hormones that control our metabolism) need in order to function properly. Haddock is a source of several different vitamins and minerals, including phosphorus, which is one of the minerals that makes up our bones and teeth, keeping them strong and healthy.

healthy fish

Shellfish such as mussels, squid and prawns shouldn’t be forgotten, either. Prawns are amazingly high in vitamin B12 (B-vitamins are what keeps metabolic functions in the body going, so the cells in our bodies can use the energy from our food). Mussels are super-high in selenium, which we need to keep our hair and nails strong and healthy, and it also protects our cells from the damage that can potentially lead to cancer and certain cardiovascular diseases. They’re also loaded with iodine, without which the thyroid gland – which is responsible for controlling our metabolism – cannot function. Squid and mussels are both high in copper, which our bodies use for many things, including keeping all the tissue that protects and connects all the different parts of our body strong and healthy.

Great flavour without the expensive price tag. Knocking out a perfumed and delicious fish curry with fluffy rice and loads of veggies is a regular thing in the Oliver household


Clams cooked in white wine with a kickin’ arrabbiata twist, this is Jamie’s take on an Italian classic


This mackerel is mighty because it’s really nutritious, tasty and ready in just 15 minutes.


A lovely, fuss-free fish pie the whole family can enjoy, this is the dish the Oliver family always ask for.


A great way to get kids to eat more fish, with a couple of super-simply tweaks, the whole family can enjoy this delicious recipe!


With lemon, fennel, olives and white wine sauce. One of Jamie’s favourite ways to cook fish – the foil bag keeps the flavours beautifully intense.


Fresh, zingy and exciting this is simplicity at its best – beautiful fish cooked quickly and teamed with gorgeous Asian flavours.

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About the author

Laura Matthews

Laura is head of nutrition at Jamie Oliver. Her passion for food comes from having cooking lessons at a local college from the age of 10, and the nutrition side from a fascination for how the right foods can fuel the body.

Laura Matthews