Is Fish Good for Diabetes? Which Fish is Good for Diabetes?

Reviewed By Dietitian Dt. SEEMA GOEL (Senior Dietitian) December 27, 2023

Last updated on September 9th, 2022

Diabetes is such a risky condition, after which a person needs to manage several other things like diet. A little carelessness may enhance blood sugar levels. Also, it may have an effect on other body parts like the heart, kidney, or eyes. In such circumstances, diabetics often get puzzled about, Is Fish Good for Diabetes or not?

It is observed that people cannot reverse their diabetes effects by having huge quantities of fish. Yet, fish comprises nutrients such as protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and Vitamin E. All such nutrients are found to control the sugar and insulin levels. Specifically, by having a high protein fish diet, people can avoid other issues resulting from diabetes.

Read this article to know about the nutritional information, benefits, and how fish is beneficial for diabetes.

Facts About Fish

Fish is a significant source of vitamin D, vitamin E, protein, and omega-3 fats. It is thought to be useful for a person’s skin, bones, nerves, and eyes. Similar to a majority of food groups, there are a few health alarms for fish like anxieties over mercury levels. Yet, dieticians indicate that the risks relating to fish are slight in comparison to the fish benefits.

Nutritional Facts of Fish

Fish is a powerhouse of several nutrients. There is a rich amount of fats and high protein in fish. And, this implies glycemic index of fish is low. As a result, the possibility of blood glucose spikes is less when a person takes a fish diet.

Fish consists of high content of protein, and omega-3 fats such as EPA and DHA. Fish is observed to contain high vitamins D and B12, proteins, etc. Also, it contains minerals such as iodine, phosphorus, and iron. It is better to have a minimum of 280 grams of cooked fish each week. Consumption of fish diet improves the health of the brain, heart, and thyroid gland. It is thought to control the levels of blood pressure and blood glucose, so we can say that fish is good for diabetes.

According to NIH (National Institute of Health), consuming ample fatty fish, as opposed to lean fish, markedly enhanced glucose regulation 120 minutes after a meal, showcasing distinct benefits for postprandial blood sugar control.

Read More: Benefits of taking Omega-3 in your diet

Nutrients in Fish per Serving 

Nutrients in Fish per Serving

Based on the species, fish might contain different amounts of nutrients. The fat content of fish is the most considerable difference. That is, the species of fish such as tuna and salmon are fatty in nature, whereas catfish or cod are lean. This gives rise to differences in the calories a person may expect. According to the findings of FoodData Central, U.S. Department of Agriculture, a three-ounce serving of cooked herring comprises nutrients like:

Nutrients  Its amount
Protein 20 g
Fat 10 g
Sugar Below 1 g
Fiber Below 1 g
Carbs Below 1 g
Calories 173

Read More: Nutrients in an Egg per Serving

Health Benefits of Having a Fish Diet

Health Benefits of Having a Fish Diet

The nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fats present in a fish diet offer good health benefits. Vitamin B12 present in fish is important for:

  • Development of healthy RBCs
  • Nervous functioning
  • DNA reproduction

As per a study published by Harvard, intake of a sufficient amount of vitamin B12 is associated with a reduced risk of cardiac problems and dementia. The deficiency of vitamin B12 is also associated with health conditions such as anaemia or chronic fatigue.

Other advantages of eating a fish diet can be:

Better Brain Health

Fish contains a high amount of fat called omega fatty acids. These fats play a key role in maintaining brain health. A low amount of omega-3 fats is associated with fast brain aging. Signs include cognitive damage and memory loss. Actually, these low omega fats relate to brain decline during aging.

Fish Benefits in Reducing the Risk of Heart Problems

Omega fats are associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular problems. Omega fats seem to be associated with the reduction and prevention of coronary heart disease when eaten frequently. These fats:

  • Reduce the levels of triglycerides
  • Reduce coronary plaque
  • Lower blood pressure.


Consumption of a minimum of one serving of fish diet each week is associated with a lower risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Comprises Nutrients Critical for Growth and Development

Omega 3 fats are necessary for growth and development. This comprises mainly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which is vital for eye and brain development. Due to this, it’s often advisable that pregnant and lactating females consume a good amount of omega-3 fats. Yet, some fish contain rich amounts of mercury. This relates to brain developmental issues.

Also, as suggested by Better Health, pregnant females must consume only low-mercury fish. These include trout, salmon, and sardines. Moreover, the quantity must be beneath 12 ounces (roughly 340 grams) each week. People must also avoid raw and uncooked forms of fish. As it might comprise a microbiome that might impair the fetus.


Fish contains high amounts of omega-3 fats. These are vital for eye and brain development. Hence, it is advisable for females and breastfeeding females to take sufficient of omega-3s. Furthermore, they are recommended to avoid high-mercury fish.

Benefits of taking Fish Diet in Depression

Mental health may also take advantage of omega-3 fatty acids. As per the findings of National Institute of Health, fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids are firmly associated with a decrease in depressive signs. Omega fats relate to the higher efficacy of a few anti-depressant drugs. Likely, this is due to fats useful in the brain working in a more effective manner.


Omega-3s are helpful in fighting depression both on their own and when combined with antidepressants.

Fish Benefits in Improving Sleep Quality

Sleep problems are very common these days. High exposure to blue light might play a crucial role. However, researchers think that a lack of vitamins can also play a role. In a study, a diet of salmon thrice a week led to improved sleep and daily work. Also, the researchers established that this was a result of vitamin D.


Preliminary studies show that the consumption of fatty fish such as salmon is found to improve sleep.

A Powerhouse of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is an important nutrient. It works like a steroid hormone in a person’s body. In addition, as per a study published in Spandidos Publications, it is found that around 41.6% of the population lacks this vitamin. Fish is a rich source of this vitamin i.e., Vit. D. Fatty fish are herring or salmon. Fatty fish is a good source of Vitamin D. According to FoodData Central, one single 4-ounce (around 113 g) serving of cooked salmon contains roughly 100% of the RDI of vitamin D.

There are a few fish oils including cod liver oil. These are also rich in vitamin D content. They offer more than 200% of the RDI in one tablespoon (about 15 ml). If a person fails to obtain much sun exposure and does not consume fatty fish often, he or she must include a vitamin D supplement.


Fatty fish is an outstanding source of vitamin D. It is a vital nutrient and more than 40% of individuals might lack it.

Lowers the Risk of Autoimmune Conditions

Autoimmune conditions such as type 1 diabetes take place when a person’s immune system erroneously attacks and damages healthy body tissues. According to studiesfindings of NIH, omega-3 or fish oil consumption with a decreased risk of type 1 diabetes in kids, and a type of autoimmune diabetes in adults.

The vitamin D and omega-3s in fish and fish oils might be accountable for this. Researchers think that the consumption of fish might decrease the risk of multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. However, the latest data is weak at best.


Consumption of fish is associated with a decreased risk of type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune problems.

Protects Vision In Elderly

Age-associated macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the prevalent problems. It is marked by blindness and vision impairment. And, this condition majorly has an impact on older adults. Some data proposes that omega fats and fish are useful in fighting this problem.

In a study, it was found that regular fish consumption is associated with a 42% reduced risk of AMD in females. Another study observed that consuming fatty fish one time every week was associated with a 53% lower risk of wet AMD.


Individuals who consume more fish are at a much lower risk of AMD. AMD is one of the leading reasons for vision damage and blindness.

How is Fish Beneficial for Diabetics?

Fish is an outstanding food product for diabetics. The low carb content of fish maintains normal blood sugar levels. The omega-3s are important in elevating a good cholesterol profile. Additionally, they aid in lessen inflammation.

Also, fish delivers essential levels of Vitamin D to maintain bone health. Vitamin B12 in fish helps in keeping the nerve cells and RBCs healthy. Few studies have found a reduced risk of diabetes in individuals who consume fish. Therefore, fish is a superb inclusion to the diet, particularly for diabetic people.

Also Read: Reverse Diabetes Within 30 days?

Advisable Intake of Fish

The NHS recommends people to consume a minimum of 2 portions of fish each week with a minimum of one of such portions being oily fish. This portion equals 140 grams of cooked fish.

Disadvantages of Eating Fish

Disadvantages of Eating Fish

Greater mercury levels are present in various fish like tuna, shark, marlin, or swordfish. The levels of mercury found in many fishes are not unsafe. However, the NHS proposes pregnant or lactating females not consume:

  • Swordfish
  • Marlin
  • Shark
  • Fresh tuna (canned tuna can be taken but in moderation).

Fish and seafood allergies hypersensitivities are moderately common, after the egg and peanut hypersensitivities. Signs of hypersensitivity can be nausea, illness, loose stools, or stomach cramps.

Hygiene, Storage, and Handling

Consumption of raw or uncooked forms of fish may cause food poisoning. People often eat oysters in their raw form. Hence, presents a greater risk of food poisoning in comparison to cooked fish. People must keep raw fish out of direct contact with other products. It is better to wash hands and any utensils in contact with it after handling raw meat.

Read More: Best Vitamins for Diabetes

Which Fish Is Good For Diabetes and How to Eat Them?

Which Fish Is Good For Diabetes and How to Eat Them?

The ADA suggests diabetics consume fish at least two times every week. Roasted, baked, or grilled fish dishes are chosen over fried forms. Below are a few fish varieties useful for diabetic patients:

Salmon (Rawas)

Salmon contains a rich amount of omega-3 fats. It maintains a person’s heart health and regulates his or her cholesterol levels. Salmon becomes delicious by including basil, olive oil, and lemon juice. One serving of rice and broccoli in conjunction constitutes a whole healthy meal.


Cod contains fewer calories, higher protein, and is delicious in taste. People frequently combine cod with spices, vegetables, and herbs to prepare a delicious supper.


Both fresh and canned forms of tuna are appropriate for people with diabetes. The combination of tuna with cheese or mayo sandwiches enhances the taste proportion.

Sardines and Herring

Both fishes are the richest sources of calcium, vitamin D, and fatty acids. Grilled sardines in stews form a tasty meal.


Tilapia refers to a variety of freshwater fish commonly cultivated for its mild taste and versatility in cooking. Tilapia is a diabetes-friendly choice that offers lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Its low-fat content aids blood sugar control, promoting a healthier option for diabetic individuals.


Trout, a flavorful fish, boasts low mercury levels and high protein. Rich in vitamin D, it supports bone health, making it a diabetes-friendly choice with unique nutritional benefits.

Read More: Control your Blood Sugar Level with Diabetes Food Pyramid

When To Eat Fish?

It is advisable for diabetics to eat fish at least two times a week. This equals two to three ounces of cooked fish in just 1 serving. The weekly plan should contain a minimum of one serving of fatty fish. The person may time his or her meals as per one’s diet chart.

Risks Over-Intake of Fish

Raw or uncooked forms of fish can be a source of pollutants and chemicals from the water. Few forms of fish also come with a considerable risk of mercury intoxication. Such fishes are swordfish or marlins. Fish intake may result in hypersensitivities in a few individuals.

Diabetes diet: Fish works as a superfood for glycemia people, consume and notice its uncountable benefits!!


Fish is a rich source of superior protein. In addition, the fatty species contain heart-healthy omega-3 fats. Besides, it packs several benefits, such as better mental health and vision protection in old age. Also, fish is easily prepared, hence people may include it in their diet today.


Can Diabetics Consume Fried Fish?

Fish is an outstanding addition for people with diabetes. The low carb content maintains a person’s blood sugar levels. The omega fats present in fish are important for elevating a good cholesterol profile. Also, they aid in lowering inflammation.

Which Indian Fish is Appropriate for Diabetics?

Salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines are some forms of fatty fish containing omega 3s. Omega-3 fatty acids are ultimate nutrients useful for preventing diabetes complications. These complications can be neuropathy, nephropathy, retinopathy, cardiomyopathy, etc.

Does fish reduce the levels of glucose?

Seafood, such as fish and shellfish, delivers a rich amount of protein, healthful fats, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. These nutrients might aid in proper blood sugar management. Protein is vital for controlling the levels of blood sugar.

Does fish spike the levels of insulin?

High consumption of fatty seafood enhances circulating insulin levels, a hormone named adiponectin.

Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 


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