You may have heard that eating fish twice a week is heart-healthy, as well as a potential treatment for problems ranging from arthritis to learning disabilities. That’s because some fish are high in the anti-inflammatory agents known as omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are linked to lowering cholesterol and blood pressure and boosting immunity. But, not all fish contain high amounts of the fatty acids. Lean fish varieties such as whiting may provide several nutritional benefits, but a high amount of omega-3s is not one of them.
Not to be confused with whitefish, which is rich in omega-3s, whiting is an economical fish of the Pacific. Some people know whiting as Pacific hake. The non-oily white fish work well in deep-fried dishes, and as baked or pan-fried entrees. According to the California Seafood Council, fish processors use minced whitefish to make “imitation” crab, shrimp and scallop foods.
Omega-3s and Whiting
In general, fatty fish make better sources for beneficial compounds such as omega-3 fatty acids than lean fish do. A serving of whiting contains only 1.69 g fat, compared to the 13 to 18 g fat found in salmon and mackerel. (See References 3) Other non-oily fish low in omega-3s include pike, flounder, haddock, snapper, sole, cod, halibut and grouper.
Better Omega-3 Choices
According to the University of Minnesota’s Sea Grant program, the best fish for omega-3 fatty acids are those with a high concentration of oils. Mackerel, salmon, tuna, whitefish, bluefish, carp, lake trout and lake herring are among the fish highest in omega-3 fatty acids. An analysis conducted by Purdue University found that dogfish, two kinds of lake trout and several mackerel and salmon varieties all contributed at least 2 g of the nutrient per serving. Of the plant-based foods, walnuts and soybeans were the highest in omega-3 fatty acids.
While whiting aren’t a good choice for the two servings of omega-3s suggested by doctors, it does provide other benefits. Whiting’s low overall fat content means that the fish isn’t high in unhealthy saturated fat. If you are watching your calories, whiting may make a more desirable choice than oily fish. Providing 24 g protein, whiting has 116 calories, compared to salmon and mackerel, which have about the same amount of protein but are at least 100 calories higher. Whiting also provides about half of your daily value, or DV, for selenium and vitamin B-12, and at least 10 percent of the DV for phosphorus, potassium and B-6. With 6 percent of your DV for calcium, whiting is also higher in the crucial mineral than salmon or mackerel.