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Nutrition & Amino Acids in Alaskan Pollock

By Sylvie Tremblay

With its flaky texture and subtle flavor, Alaskan pollock makes an attractive addition to your diet. It's low in mercury, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, so it provides a safer alternative to some other types of fish, including swordfish and king mackerel. Alaskan pollock also provides you with amino acids -- the small chemicals that serve as building blocks for protein -- as well as several other essential nutrients that contribute to its beneficial effect on your health.

Amino Acids and Protein

Alaskan pollock serves as an excellent source of protein, so it provides you with ample amounts of amino acids. Your body can use amino acids to maintain your cells and tissues, support your immune system, and even uses some amino acids to support healthy brain function. Alaskan pollock provides you with "complete" protein -- protein that contains each of the amino acids you need to obtain from your diet. Each 6-ounce portion of fish contains 21 grams of protein. This provides approximately 40 percent of the daily recommended protein intake for the average 135-pound individual, and slightly less than one-third of the daily recommended intake for a 180-pound individual, according to guidelines published by Iowa State University.

Choline and Vitamin B-12

Adding Alaskan pollock to your diet also helps you consume more choline and vitamin B-12. You need both nutrients for a healthy nervous system -- choline supports brain cell communication, while vitamin B-12 helps make a protective substance, called myelin, that coats your nerve cells. Choline promotes healthy cell communication and contributes to your cell membranes, while B-12 helps you make new red blood cells. Each serving of Alaskan pollock contains 111 milligrams of choline -- 26 percent of the recommended daily intake for women and 20 percent for men -- as well as 2.8 micrograms of vitamin B-12, or your entire recommended daily intake.

Phosphorus and Selenium

Add Alaskan pollock to your diet and you'll also up your intake of phosphorus and selenium. An essential component of your bone tissue, phosphorus also makes up part of your cell membranes and DNA. Selenium supports healthy blood vessel function and controls the activity of your thyroid gland. Each portion of Alaskan pollock contains 483 milligrams of phosphorus and 27 micrograms of selenium. This makes up 69 percent of your daily recommended phosphorus, as well as half of your recommended daily intake of selenium.

Cooking and Serving Tips

Alaskan pollock's mild taste means that it pairs well with a variety of flavors. Try grilling it on the barbecue, and top your fish with fresh fruit salsas -- mixtures of chopped pitted cherries and mint, or mango, papaya and cilantro work especially well. Alternatively, try cutting Alaskan pollock into pieces for homemade baked fish sticks. Whole-grain bread crumbs and dried dill work well with the fish's flavor, while a mixture of whole-grain bread crumbs, whole-grain corn meal and chili pepper flakes makes for crispier and spicier fish sticks.

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