Orange roughy is a fish with bright red scales that turn black to match the color of the cold waters of the Atlantic and Indo-Pacific oceans to hide from predators. The commercial exploitation of orange roughy for its culinary value in recent decades caused a reduction in its population. Despite environmental concerns, the fish continues to be a culinary favorite. The flavor of orange roughy is mild and the texture is delicate and flaky. The nutritional value of orange roughy benefits your health, but also has some detractors.
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One of the longest-living fish, the oldest recorded orange roughy lived for 149 years. The accumulation of toxins during the fish's lifetime results in higher than average mercury levels. In fact, the Environmental Defense Fund classifies orange roughy as "eco-worst" on their environmental toxin scale due to its high mercury content. They recommend eating orange roughy sparingly -- no more than one time per month for adults and a half serving per month for children younger than 6 years old.
The protein content a 3-oz. serving of orange roughy provides in your diet is 19 g, or 38 percent of the 50 g Food and Drug Administration suggested daily value. The protein contribution of orange roughy to the diet is slightly lower than chicken and beef that provide about 25 g per serving. Protein is important for building muscle, enzymes and cardiac tissue. Obtaining it from low-fat food sources is particularly important.
A 3-oz. serving of orange roughy provides .8 g of fat, or 1 percent of the 65 g daily value. A standard protein source, such as chicken or beef, provides at least 6 g of fat per serving. Low-fat protein sources are important for you health because high levels of fat cause cardiovascular disease, a common disorder in the United States exacerbated by dietary saturated fats that block blood flow through the circulatory system.
Selenium and Vitamin E
The antioxidant nutrients selenium and vitamin E are present in orange roughy's nutritional composition. A 3-oz. serving provides 2.4 international units (IU) of vitamin E, or 8 percent of the 30 IU daily value, and 75 mcg of selenium, or 7 percent of the daily value. Selenium and vitamin E work synergistically to protect your body's cells from damage caused by free radicals that harm cellular structure and contribute to cardiovascular disease and premature aging.