The 10 Best Fish for Men

It’s the omega-3 paradox: You know fish is healthy for you—except that many types have hazardous chemicals, and overfishing is threatening the environment.

The solution: The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s “Super Green” list of seafood—the fish that come from the least-pressured habitats, are free of industrial pollutants like mercury and dioxins, and also contain the highest levels of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Below are some of the selections from the list of best fish choices.

#1: Albacore Tuna (troll- or pole-caught, from the U.S. or British Columbia). Before you write off all tuna as toxic and laden with mercury, there is good news. Albacore tuna caught in western U.S. and Canadian waters have lower levels of mercury than tuna caught in other areas of the world. Why? These fish are generally younger, and therefore, have had less time to build up high levels of mercury.

This type of tuna won’t be easy to find in the average grocery store, but most brands sell it online. Try American Tuna brand (purchase it online from Heritage Foods USA), Pacific Fleet, MaryLu Seafoods, Wild Planet, and Wild Pacific Seafood.

#2: Salmon from Alaska (wild-caught). Farmed salmon isn’t as healthy because the farms produce lots of waste—including contaminants that get back into the fish. Finding wild salmon is getting easier. As of the last year, mass-retail chain Target eliminated farmed salmon, instead stocking only salmon and salmon products certified by the Marine Stewardship Council—one of the best verifications of seafood sustainability. (Need more help deciding what’s the best bet when it comes to nutrition?

#3: Oysters (farmed). These mollusks contain high levels of zinc, which can improve your sexual health. If you’re planning an oyster supper anytime soon, here are a few important points to remember. First, oysters are sold alive, so never put them in a plastic bag—that suffocates them. The best way to store them is in a burlap or paper bag, covered with a damp towel. Also, leave any mud or debris on them until you’re ready to eat or cook them; the dirt has a protective insulating effect.

#4: Pacific Sardines (wild-caught). You may consider sardines to be on a par with canned meat in terms of gastronomic cachet, but more chefs are experimenting with them thanks to rising interest in sustainable seafood at restaurants. Visit any gourmet or natural food grocery store, and you’ll find sardines in all manner of flavors, whether plain or marinated in garlic, tomatoes, and olive oil.

#5: Rainbow Trout (farmed). Long the trophy prize of recreational anglers, rainbow trout are one of the more affordable seafood options. Wild trout aren’t necessarily endangered, but some varieties—particularly those native to Lake Huron and Lake Michigan—are threatened by nonnative species and have high levels of contamination from chemicals like PCBs. When you’re cooking trout, leave the scales on; you’ll be able to bread or coat the fish without having to add any extra oils.

#6: Mussels (farmed). Easier to find than low-mercury tuna or responsibly-farmed salmon, mussels pack a powerful nutrient punch. Like oysters, mussels are also a good source of zinc. Plus, you can cook them in 3 minutes—they’re the healthiest fast food you can find.

#7: Arctic Char (farmed). Arctic char isn’t as widely known as its two relatives, trout and salmon, but it’s popular among restaurant chefs, particularly those who want to serve nothing but sustainable fish. Native to the Arctic waters around Canada, Iceland, and Norway, the fish’s wild stocks have been sorely depleted by overfishing. Most arctic char sold in the U.S. is farmed in clean, land-based tanks, as opposed to dirty, ocean-water pens. The flavor of arctic char is closer to that of trout, and, like trout, it’s versatile enough that you can cook it any way.

#8: Barramundi (U.S.-farmed). Barramundi is a mild, white-fleshed fish native to Australia, where aboriginal fishermen collect it by hand. Although it lives in freshwater rivers, barramundi are among the most sustainably farmed fish you can find—provided they’re from the U.S. Farms here utilize land-based tanks where the fish are fed a largely vegetarian diet; in other countries, the fish are grown in ocean-based nets that pollute surrounding waters and endanger other species. Just bake, grill, or fry up the fish with a little lemon juice for dressing.

#9: Dungeness Crab (wild-caught, from U.S. West Coast). Most crab species sold in grocery stores live in habitats threatened with pollution. Dungeness crabs, on the other hand, are caught from an Oregon fishery that has been certified as “well managed” by the Marine Stewardship Council. The fishery there allows only males to be caught and restricts fishing during mating and molting seasons. As an added bonus, Dungeness crabs are caught with traps, not nets, so any bycatch can be thrown back unharmed.

#10: Longfin Squid (wild-caught, from U.S. Atlantic). The Spaniards eat them in paella, and the Japanese eat them in sushi. Americans have learned to love them as calamari. If you can avoid frying your calamari, you have a healthy meal full of omega-3s and vitamin B12—a nutrient that helps ward off depression. The Monterey Bay Aquarium rates all types of squid as either “best choices” or “good alternatives,” but longfin squid have healthier, more viable populations than other varieties.

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