Fish High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Eat more Salmon, Sardines, Smelt, Shad or Anchovies for better health

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fatty fish that swim in cold water. It's also known as good fat. They are a powerful anti-inflammatory that helps the body heal all sorts of problems, from poor eyesight to Alzheimer's disease. Fish are the primary source of omega-3 fatty acids, but not all fish are created equal. Here are five fish with extremely high levels of omega-3s. Buy the best fish you can from a good grocery store or fishmonger. Don't discount frozen fish. It can be flash frozen straight on the fishing boat, so some frozen fish may look and taste better than fresh fish.

  • 01 of 05


    Salmon steak
    Dave King Dorling Kindersley / Getty Images

    Salmon is easily the most accessible and familiar of the five top fish for omega-3s. Nearly every supermarket carries salmon and nearly every seafood cook has at least one favorite salmon recipe to go to. Salmon is so versatile it can be eaten raw, barbequed, baked, poached, or any way you prefer.

    The best salmon for the most omega-3s is king salmon (also called chinook salmon). These which are wild-caught from California to Alaska and often sold flash frozen at the grocery store. Interestingly, canned salmon also is high in this good fat. The leaner sockeyes and silver salmon are still high in omega-3s, just not so much as Chinooks.

    Farmed salmon, which is the most common form in supermarkets, is iffy. You are what you eat, and many farmed salmon are fed land-based feed. This lowers their omega-3 levels. Wild is best, but farmed is still an alright option.

  • 02 of 05


    Brian Macdonald / Getty Images

    Sardines, especially fresh ones, are delicious, plentiful, and inexpensive. Serve them grilled or baked with a tomato sauce. If you cannot find fresh ones, canned sardines are just as good if you're looking to maximize your omega-3 intake. Serve canned sardines broiled on toast for a classic appetizer.

  • 03 of 05


    DigiPub / Getty Images

    Smelt are widely available in the freezer section of your supermarket. The frozen ones are most often already cleaned, which makes cooking and eating them even easier.

    These little fish are made for the fryer. Batter them up with a light Japanese tempura batter, fry them, and eat the fish like French fries.

  • 04 of 05


    Alose a l'Oseille, grilled shad served with creamy sorrel sauce, a typical dish from the Loire Valley, France, view from above
    Clive Streeter / Getty Images

    American shad may be tough to find unless you live on the coast. Strictly a springtime delicacy, shad is milder than sardines or herring, but they have many bones you must work around. If you find shad at your market on the east coast, you may find boneless fillets. On the west coast, it's more likely you will have to deal with the bones yourself.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05


    Anchovies in oil, Santoña, Cantabria, Spain.
    Jesus Sierra / Getty Images

    Almost all the anchovies you will find are preserved because they go bad very quickly. If you find fresh anchovies, grill or broil them and serve them simply. Preserved anchovies can be added to tomato sauces or, sparingly, to pizza, salads, or other Mediterranean dishes.

    Boquerones or Spanish white anchovies are cured in salt and vinegar. They are much fresher and tastier than the brick-colored anchovies you'll find in jars. White anchovies can be found in fine markets. Eat them plain, on toasts, or in salads.