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What Are the Health Benefits of Swordfish?

author image Sylvie Tremblay, MSc
Sylvie Tremblay holds a Master of Science in molecular and cellular biology and has years of experience as a cancer researcher and neuroscientist. Based in Ontario, Canada, Tremblay is an experienced journalist and blogger specializing in nutrition, fitness, lifestyle, health and biotechnology, as well as real estate, agriculture and clean tech.
What Are the Health Benefits of Swordfish?
Swordfish supports bone health thanks to its vitamin D content. Photo Credit Francesco Dibartolo/iStock/Getty Images

With a dense, meaty texture and mildly sweet flavor, swordfish makes for a hearty meal. It offers an impressive nutritional profile that includes protein, minerals and vitamins. While its nutrient content provides a variety of health benefits, however, you should avoid consuming swordfish as a regular part of your diet because it's high in mercury.


Swordfish serves as an excellent source of protein. Each 6-ounce portion provides you with 33.4 grams of protein. This provides 64 percent of the daily protein requirements for an average 130-pound individual, or 46 percent for an average 180-pound individual, according to guidelines reported by the Iowa State University Extension. Your body uses protein to produce enzymes, transport oxygen and to maintain healthy tissues, including your muscles, hair and skin.

Potassium and Selenium

Swordfish also provides you with potassium and selenium, two essential minerals. Potassium acts as an electrolyte and helps conduct electricity -- an essential process for the function of your nerves and muscles. Selenium provides protection against cancer-causing free radicals, and it also helps your thyroid gland function properly. A serving of swordfish contains 98 micrograms of selenium -- almost double your daily recommended intake, according to guidelines released by the Institute of Medicine. Swordfish also provides 711 milligrams of potassium per serving, or 15 percent of the recommended daily intake.

Vitamins D and E

Swordfish provides generous amounts of the fat-soluble vitamins D and E. Vitamin D plays an important role in immune system function, and it also helps regulate your body's calcium levels to promote healthy bones. Vitamin E helps your cells utilize vitamin K properly, and it also provides protection against free radicals. A 6-ounce portion of swordfish contains 949 international units of vitamin D and 3.4 milligrams of vitamin E. This provides more than your entire daily recommended vitamin D intake, and 23 percent of the vitamin E you need daily, according to the Institute of Medicine.

Considerations and Serving Tips

Swordfish is high in mercury, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. As a result, the FDA recommends small children and pregnant women -- as well as women who might become pregnant -- avoid it. Everyone else should limit their swordfish intake to two servings per month, recommends the Maine Sea Grant.

Cook swordfish healthfully by grilling it or poaching it in lemon water. Skip the tartar sauce -- it can come loaded with calories and fat -- and instead top your swordfish with homemade salsa.

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