9 Clean Fish to Eat: Selecting Healthy Options for Your Diet

Key clean fish for a healthy diet include salmon, tuna, sardines, herring, trout, barramundi, tilapia, Alaskan pollock, and cod. These fish are nutritious, sustainably sourced, and free from contaminants, making them ideal choices for a clean eating regimen.

list of clean fish

Clean eating means following a diet rich in whole, natural healthy food and avoiding refined, processed, and artificially modified foods. Fish can be an excellent source of nutrients for clean eaters, and dieticians recommend eating at least two servings per week. Let’s look at a list of clean fish that are perfect for a healthy diet.

Clean fish perfect for a healthy diet are salmon, tuna, sardines, herring, trout, barramundi, tilapia, Alaskan pollock, and cod. These fish are highly nutritious, sustainably sourced, and contaminant-free. Fish can be considered unclean due to factors like unsustainable fishing and farming practices.

Selecting fish for a clean diet means knowing which fish are healthiest, when to choose wild-caught or farmed fish, and how to avoid contaminated fish. 

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What Types Of Fish Are Clean?

The following nine fish are nutritious, sustainably sourced, mercury-free, and suitable for those following kosher eating practices. Medical experts suggest eating a combination of these fish to enjoy all their health benefits rather than sticking to only one kind of fish.


Dieticians regard salmon as the perfect fish for a healthy diet. Salmon is a popular, versatile, and healthy fish. It is high in protein, heart-healthy omega fats, calcium, and vitamin D. Choose wild-caught Alaskan salmon to avoid contaminated fish.

Few salmon farms have certified green and clean facilities and practices, most using processed fish food and crowded pens. Look out for freshwater coho and Alaskan chinook salmon, which are sustainably farmed.


Fresh or canned tuna is a convenient and tasty fish, rich in protein, omega oils, vitamins B and D, and the antioxidant selenium. Skipjack tuna is the cleanest in terms of fishing practices and contaminants and can be found in handy cans of chunky light tuna. 

Otherwise, choose sustainably fished albacore or white tuna, which must be troll or pole-caught. This fishing method typically catches medium-sized, younger fish with far less mercury exposure – large tuna fish are unfortunately high in this toxin. 


This tinned favorite is a superfood, as it is higher in calcium, omega-3 fats, and vitamin D than salmon and tuna. Budget-friendly, protein-rich sardines may have an intensely fishy taste that can be offputting.

Still, they are perfect for a clean, healthy diet. Wild-caught Pacific sardines are sustainably fished as the industry has recovered from overfishing in the 1940s.


More common in European cuisine than in the US, herring is a small, silvery fish perfect for a clean diet. This fish is high in omega 3, vitamin D, selenium, iron, and protein. Herring is also one of the most plentiful fishing resources, remaining a sustainable food, especially stocks from the North Sea. In the 1970s, herring was overfished, but careful management has reversed the trend.

Rainbow Trout

A relative of salmon, trout is rich in omega oils, protein, and vitamins. However, most lake trout in the US are contaminated by mercury and other toxins. Unlike other fish, farmed trout, especially rainbow trout, is your best for clean eating.


Barramundi, or Asian sea bass, is rich in nutritious oils and lean protein. This white-fleshed fish is regarded by many dieticians as the healthiest protein, having half the calories of salmon.

Like trout, farmed barramundi is more sustainable and less likely to contain mercury than wild-caught fish. This is because wild barramundi are predatory fish that consume other fish containing contaminants.


Particularly popular in the US, tilapia is a deliciously lean freshwater fish with mild, flaky white flesh and high levels of protein, vitamin B, potassium, and phosphorus. People tend to avoid tilapia because of the false myth that tilapia is an artificially created or genetically modified fish. 

Second, many regard tilapia as a dirty or unclean fish because it is a bottom feeder that eats feces. However, good-quality tilapia, farmed in the US, South America, and Indonesia, is healthy and environmentally friendly. Avoid tilapia from China as farming practices are unregulated.

Alaskan Pollock

The high levels of protein and omega-3 oils make Alaskan pollock a perfect choice for a healthy diet. Alaskan pollock is one of the most environmentally friendly fish as it is a plentiful resource, cleanly caught, and low in mercury contamination.

With its mild flavor and delicate texture, Alaskan pollock is typically used in fish sticks and other frozen fish products for children.


With its tender white flesh, cod is a delicious choice for clean eaters who prefer milder fish. Cod is also leaner than deep-sea oil-rich fish, packing a massive protein and iodine punch.

The most sustainable option is Alaskan cod, caught in the Pacific Ocean near Alaska, as fishing is regulated to avoid overfishing and destruction of habitat. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Trout A Clean Fish To Eat?

Trout is a clean fish in terms of dietary laws and health standards. Choose farmed American rainbow trout.

What Fish Is Unclean In The Bible?

In the Bible, the book of Leviticus lays out laws around food, including fish. Many Jewish people continue to observe these clean or kosher eating rules and avoid unclean food and practices.

The decrees in Leviticus 11:10 state that any aquatic or water-living creatures with no fins and scales are unclean. Only fish with fins and scales are clean and, therefore, suitable to eat. However, in the Talmud, the definition of scales is precise: the scales must be visible to the naked eye and easily removed using a scaling knife without tearing the skin.

This definition means sharks, sturgeon, pufferfish, catfish, and eels fall into the unclean category because of their modified or microscopic scales.

All crustaceans and mollusks are unclean, lacking both scales and fins: shrimps, lobster, scallops, crabs, octopus, squid, mussels, and oysters. Many Muslims also regard seafood as unclean.

Is Barramundi A Clean Fish?

Barramundi is a clean, healthy fish when farmed sustainably.

Is Tilapia A Clean Meat?

Tilapia is clean in terms of health, sustainability, and dietary guidelines. 

What Fish Has Scales?

Almost all fish have scales, so it is simpler to consider which fish don’t. Jewish dietary laws exclude fish without fins and scales, so the distinction is essential. Fish without scales include catfish, rays, sharks, skate, eels, hagfish, lampreys, and sturgeon.

Is Alaskan Pollock A Clean Fish?

Wild-caught Alaskan pollock is a sustainable and nutritious clean fish. 


Clean eating is part of a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. Fish is a wholesome choice of protein, especially if you eat salmon, tuna, sardines, cod, herring, trout, barramundi, tilapia, and Alaskan pollock. These fish are environmentally friendly and low in toxins and artificial hormones.

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