The Best Fish for Diabetics

Diabetes is a disease that affects your body's ability to properly use and store sugars from the foods you eat. Your body either does not make or does not respond to insulin, which is the chemical that causes glucose to be removed from your blood after a meal. While most diabetics can enjoy all foods in moderation, your diet should consist mainly of healthy foods full of vitamins and minerals. Fish is an excellent food for diabetics because it provides many of the nutrients found in meat without unnecessary saturated fat and calories. The American Heart Association indicates that you should have two 3.5-ounce servings of fish per week for the greatest health benefits 12.


Salmon is a fatty fish full of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, but low in saturated fat 1. According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetics are at increased risk for developing heart disease, and omega-3 fats are important for your cardiovascular health 12. The American Heart Association indicates that omega-3s decrease triglyceride levels, lower blood pressure, slow the rate of plaques forming in your arteries and decrease the risk of developing an abnormal heart rhythm 12. Salmon provides you with lean protein that will lead to weight loss, and protein has been shown to help regulate your blood sugar. Salmon is also low in mercury, and you can safely consume up to twelve ounces per week. It is available in wild and farmed varieties. Prepare your salmon meals by baking, grilling or broiling. Avoid frying salmon to keep from taking in unnecessary saturated fat.


Sardines are also a good source of omega-3 fats, and they are low in saturated fat. They contain as much calcium as a glass of milk, the B vitamin niacin, protein and iron. They are a convenient fish choice, since you can buy them fresh or canned and packed in oil. Sardines are also low in mercury. Grill fresh sardines, or add canned sardines to sandwiches or salads. Three whole fresh sardines have about 280 calories, while one 3.75 ounce can of sardines contains 191 calories.


Cod is a low-fat fish with no carbohydrates. A serving of one fillet has only 1.5 g of fat with 189 calories. Atlantic cod is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, but it also contains a small amount of omega-6 fats as well. A serving of cod will provide you with small amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and iron. Cod is also a good source of B vitamins, with 32 percent of your daily value of vitamin B12 and 25 percent of your vitamin B6. Cod contains low levels of mercury, and it is one of the most commonly eaten fish.


Pacific mackerel is a fatty fish that contains about 3.2 grams of omega-3 fatty acids per six-ounce serving 1. One cup of Pacific mackerel contains 296 calories, and it is also a good source of protein, iron, riboflavin, vitamin B12, selenium and niacin. This fish is occasionally available fresh, but it is most often canned and sold in grocery stores. Atlantic mackerel is available fresh, and it is low in mercury. However, avoid king mackerel since it is a high-mercury fish.