Why The FDA Calls Tilapia One Of The Best Fish To Eat

Selecting a fish to eat can be a bit overwhelming — from picking out a type (rainbow trout, salmon, tuna, orange roughy, snapper, cod, to name a few) to where it is from (farm raised versus wild-caught), there are tons of options. But something that most people can agree upon is that fish is a healthy protein. 

According to the FDA, consuming fish as part of your diet is encouraged because it contains healthy fat, key nutrients, and vitamins.

When people hear the words "fatty" and "fat," the word "healthy" doesn't usually come to mind. But in the case of fish, it should. The FDA says that most of the fat found in fish is polyunsaturated fat. Polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids can help with a variety of conditions. Healthline says omega-3 fatty acids are known to help fight depression and anxiety, as well as improve eye health. They are also beneficial for brain health during pregnancy and the early development of children.

Omega-6 fatty acids support brain function, growth, and development, according to Mount Sinai. Consumer Health Digest says they may help with eczema, joint damage, arthritis, and osteoporosis. Fish is also full of iron, iodine, choline, selenium, vitamin B12, vitamin A, and vitamin D.

With all of these health benefits, many people choose to incorporate fish into their diets. But what kind is best for you?

Tilapia is a great addition to your meal

With dozens of fish to choose from to put on your dinner plate, the FDA categorizes tilapia as one of the best. It's full of nutritional benefits. But the reason the FDA categorizes it as a "best choice" is that it's low in mercury. Low mercury options are especially important for pregnant women and young children.

This evaluation is good news for Americans as Healthline notes tilapia is one of the most popular kinds of seafood in the country.

As the expression goes, there can be too much of a good thing, so how much tilapia or other fish should you consume? The FDA advises that adults consume at least 8 ounces of seafood per week based on a 2,000-calorie diet. However, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should eat between 8 and 12 ounces of low-mercury fish per week.

For a child, the recommended amount of fish to eat each week is based on age. Children ages 1 to 3 can eat an ounce a week. That increases to 2 ounces for ages 4 to 7, 3 ounces for ages 8 to 10, and 4 ounces at age 11, according to the FDA.