Many bodybuilders have fish as part of their daily diet, mainly because of the high amount of protein and low amounts of carbs in the fish. What some don’t know, however, is that not all fish is good for their bodies. There are some fish types that are highly recommended for bodybuilders. While there are some fish that they should avoid. It is not difficult to know to which fish to eat and which to avoid as a bodybuilder, as long as you do your research well. So which is best fish for bodybuilding, and which fish should be avoided?
Which nutrients are present in fish, and how important are they to the body?
Fish is one of the healthiest foods around, with lots of nutrients that are important to the body. Including proteins, omega-3, and other minerals and vitamins.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for a healthy heart and brain. Our body, however, does not produce omega-3 acids, however, and we have to get it from the food we eat. The two omega-3 acids that are found in fish are DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). They are found in every type of fish. But especially in fatty fish such as canned mackerel, sardines, and trout.
Omega-3 fatty acids lower blood pressure, thereby maintaining a healthy heart and reducing the risk of a heart attack, sudden death, and abnormal heart rhythms.
Most fish are high in protein, which is essential for bodybuilding. Proteins are comprised of amino acids, which are vital for the development and repair of muscles. Protein is also a rich energy source, as it has more calories/gram as compared to carbohydrates, with fewer fats. Fish is among the healthiest sources of proteins for bodybuilders, as it is high in protein and low in fat.
Fish is a good source of iodine and selenium, minerals that support the body’s metabolic rate. Iodine keeps the thyroid gland working, which has an impact on the burning of calories and metabolism in the body. A strong and healthy thyroid contributes to a stronger immune system, which is important especially during dieting and hard training. Selenium helps maintain a strong immune system, which makes it easier to recover from training.
Which types of fish should you avoid as a bodybuilder?
As a bodybuilder, you shouldn’t eat just any fish you come across; you should eat fish that has lots of proteins and a really low amount of fats and mercury. These are some of the fish that you should avoid:
Swordfish and tilefish should be avoided by any bodybuilder (and other people in general) as it contains high levels of mercury. In as much as swordfish is very popular. It has some of the highest mercury levels among all large sized edible fish.
Mercury from the air falls into water bodies such as lakes and oceans and is turned into methylmercury, which is then absorbed by fish. Carnivorous fish have much higher mercury levels since they consume fish that has already been contaminated by mercury, thereby increasing their mercury contamination.
Salmon, while a healthy fish in general, is high in fat quantity. You shouldn’t completely avoid it though; you can enjoy salmon once in a while, as long as it is not too many times. If you do eat salmon, opt for wild salmon as it is healthier than farmed salmon, and has less mercury content.
Pike is a healthy fish with high protein and low-fat content but has high mercury levels which are dangerous to the body.
4. Big-eye tuna
While Big-eye Tuna has a high protein content, it also has high mercury levels which are harmful to the body. The same applies to Bluefin Tuna, which has very high mercury and PCB levels.
Cobia, a great tasting saltwater fish, may be healthy in terms of its fat content (it has a low fat content), but has high mercury levels, about 3.24 ppm. It is therefore best avoided, as the high mercury levels are harmful to the body.
Best fish for bodybuilding needs attention?
As stated above, a bodybuilder should eat fish that is rich in proteins and low in fats and mercury. Such fish include:
1. Rainbow Trout
Rainbow trout is a good substitute for farmed salmon and has delicate flesh that is slightly sweet tasting. It has high amounts of protein, which is made up of the essential amino acids which are essential for lean body mass repair and muscle growth. It is high in omega-3 fats and niacin, a vitamin B that is essential in the conversion of food to energy. Rainbow trout is many essential minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, and copper.
A 3oz serving of baked Rainbow Trout serves 128 calories, 5g total fat, 59mg cholesterol, 19g proteins, 48mg sodium, and 0 carbs.
Sablefish, also called Black Cod, has a pearly white buttery flesh and is high in omega-3 fats. It is the best option for those who are new to seafood, as it doesn’t have a strong fish flavor. Sablefish is also rich in selenium, which is a potent antioxidant that helps reduce any oxidative muscular damage due to hardcore training.
It is bland on its own and should be paired with strong flavors such as olives and limes or lemon and parsley. A 3oz serving of smoked Black Cod serves 218 calories, 17g total fat, 54mg cholesterol, 15g proteins, 740mg sodium, and 0 carbs.
Sardines, while small in size, are packed with high quantities of protein, omega-3 acids, and vitamin D. the wild type of salmons are less likely to have any mercury contamination, though what is found in the market, canned sardines, is still healthy. It make leucine, an amino acid, to be more effective in the body in its role as a catalyst for protein synthesis. While sardines come canned just like tuna, they contain 27 times less mercury than what is found in tuna, making them even more desirable.
A 3.5 ounce serving of sardines serves 112 calories, 14g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 22g proteins, 0mg sodium, and 0 carbs.
Mackerel is one of the most underrated and underappreciated seafood, as it is rarely found in menus. Despite this, it is a powerhouse when it comes to bodybuilding foods. It comes from the same family as tuna, though it has a higher omega-3 content. This helps reduce any chronic inflation that is caused by intense hypertrophy-based training. It also contains other essential nutrients such as zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B12.
4oz raw mackerel serves 254 calories, 1g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 18g proteins, 107mg sodium, 422mg potassium, and 45g carbs.
This common freshwater fish is a low-fat and high-protein menu option for any bodybuilder. It is not an oily fish, as it has less than 5% of body fat, making it a lean fish. It has a great taste when cooked, and is very low in mercury, making it healthy and safe for consumption.
Two fillets of pan-seared Perch serve 157 calories, 4g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 24g proteins, 240mg sodium, and 5g total carbs.
Mussels have a low-fat content and are high in protein, making them an essential part of a bodybuilder’s diet. It’s also rich in minerals such as iron, zinc, and selenium. Iron is essential for the delivery of oxygen to the muscles while zinc and selenium help boost the body’s immune system. Mussels are also rich in the muscle-friendly omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12 which is used to make DNA, the genetic material in body cells.
Mussels can be cooked in several ways such as steaming, baking, roasting, and frying. A 1 pound serving of steamed Mussels serves 193 calories, 5g total fat, 63mg cholesterol, 27g protein, 641mg sodium, and 8g total carbs.
Fish is generally a good diet item for any bodybuilder due to the myriad benefits. But you should choose carefully which fish you consume when bodybuilding. In addition to the high protein content and low carbs. Fish have a high concentration of Omega-3 fats, which are essential to the body. Fish, however, also have some toxins which could be harmful to the body, such as mercury.
As a rule, you should go for fish that is high in protein content, Omega-3 fats, sodium, and magnesium, and low in carbs and mercury content, for the best bodybuilding diet.