You’ve heard it over and over again: seafood is oh-so-good for you. If seafood holds a regular spot on your weekly menu, or you’re trying to incorporate more seafood into your diet, you might be wondering if one type is better than another.
To answer this very popular question, here’s the rundown on seven of the most common types of seafood.
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Per 100g: 431kJ (103cal), 19.8g protein, 2.6g fat, 0.7g sat fat, 0g carbs, 0g sugar, 0g fibre, 93mg sodium
Served with a simple side salad and roasted vegies, or made into something a little more elaborate like stew or fish cakes, white fish is delicious and nutritious.
It’s a good source of protein, is low in calories and provides about one fifth of your daily needs of iodine, which is essential for your metabolism.
Per 100g: 965kJ (231cal), 20.5g protein, 16.7g fat, 3.8g sat fat, 0g carbs, 0g sugar, 0g fibre, 32mg sodium
Oily fish like salmon packs far more calories than most other types of seafood thanks to the heart-healthy fats it contains. It offers a special type of fat called omega-3s, which are anti-inflammatory and very good for brain health.
Per 100g (about 7 mussels): 445kJ (106cal), 15.3g protein, 2.6g fat, 0.5g sat fat, 5.3g carbs, 1g sugar, 5.3g carbs, 1g sugar, 0g fibre, 572mg sodium
If you’re not into red meat, mussels are a great way to boost your intake of iron, which plays a key role in transporting oxygen around your body. For 100 grams of mussels, you’re getting 4.3 milligrams of iron.
To put that into perspective, women require 18 milligrams of iron each day up to the age of 50, and eight milligrams thereafter.
Per 100g: 292kJ (70cal), 14.9g protein, 1g fat, 0.2g sat fat, 0g carbs, 0g sugar, 0g fibre, 230mg sodium
Another fabulous source of iron, octopus offers 5.3 milligrams of iron per 100 grams. Add it to your next BBQ or salad, or try slow-cooking it for something a little different in a soup or stew.
Per 100g: 371kJ (89cal), 20.5g protein, 0.6g fat, 0.1g sat fat, 0g carbs, 0g sugar, 0g fibre, 349mg sodium
Also low in calories, prawns are a staple for a weekend BBQ and can add a delicious twist to salads and pastas. Prawns provide a surprising amount of calcium – just 100 grams of fresh prawn meat offers 126 milligrams of calcium.
That’s over ten per cent of your daily needs if you’re under the age of 50.
Per 100g: 328kJ (78cal), 16.7g protein, 1.2g fat, 0.3g sat fat, 0g carbs, 0g sugar, 0g fibre, 284mg sodium
When it’s not coated in batter and deep fried, squid is very low in calories and offers a range of energising b-group vitamins. Try air-frying it in wholemeal breadcrumbs for a healthier take on an old favourite, or stir-fry it for a light evening meal.
Per 100g (about 7 oysters): 268kJ (64cal), 10.1g protein, 2.3g fat, 0.5g sat fat, 0.6g carbs, 0g sugar, 0g fibre, 535mg sodium
Love em’ or hate em’, oysters pack a punch in terms of nutrition. While they offer relatively less protein than other types of seafood, they’re jam-packed with zinc, which is essential for immunity and wound healing.
Just half a dozen oysters provides over 100 per cent of a male’s daily zinc needs, and almost 200 per cent that of a female.
So, which seafood is the healthiest to include in your diet?
Hopefully you can see all types of seafood are nutritious – each variety stands out from the rest of the pack for a different reason. So, I wouldn’t put all of my eggs (or seafood, in this instance) in one basket.
Instead, I’d encourage you to eat a variety of seafood on a regular basis so you can reap the unique health benefits each type provides.
Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based accredited practising dietitian. You can connect with her on Instagram @honest_nutrition.