Since time immemorial, fish has been a very integral part of the world’s diet. Along with being tasty, it is considered to be a healthy source of attaining essential nutrients that the body requires. According to a research conducted it was observed that people, who have a seafood dominated diet, have a lower risk of having a heart attack during their lifetime.
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With one-third of the earth being submerged under water, fish has always been a great source of sustenance for both humans and animals. Despite its availability, it is important to identify and know the properties of the fish to know whether they are beneficial to the person or not.
Some fish are rather dangerous for a person because of high levels of metal mercury that they may carry due to the pollution inherent in the environment. However, there are various organizations which check the levels of pollution and ensure that the produce is fresh and safe for the people to eat.
India is a vast multicultural country with different regions having different fishes available and their own respective fish delicacies. Both fresh water and saline water fish are found in abundance here.
Among all the known fishes of the world, 41% of them are freshwater fishes and interestingly, most of these variants are available in India. Therefore, it is very important to know the basic properties of each fish without going in completely blind. Here is a list of the best fish that are found in India.
ROHU ( Labeo Rohita)
This fish is mostly available in parts of north and central India. Rohu is packed with Omega 3 fatty acids, provides a good amount of protein and also is a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin B and vitamin C. It is a freshwater fish and a member of the carp family.
This large silver coloured fish is mostly eaten for its meat. It is a very common fish of the subcontinent and also moderately priced. This versatile fished can be cooked as a curry or it can be fried to make fish cutlets or fries.
The benefits of eating rohu fish are innumerable. The protein available from eating this fish is one of the best kinds of protein out there. The amount of vitamin C which is present in this fish helps keep diseases like cold and cough away and even prevents other diseases that are similar to this.
People who indulge themselves in eating rohu fish are seen to have greater memorizing and analyzing abilities. Rohu fish is high in protein and low in fat, so it is also a good option for people who are looking to lose weight and people who maintain a strict diet. This is a very versatile fish something that everyone will enjoy eating.
This fish is very popular in the areas of Bengali, Odisha, Assam and Andhra Pradesh. Hilsa contains a high ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 which is 0.1. The fish meat is extremely tender and juicy and believed to be very good for the heart.
Studies have shown that hilsa can help lower levels of cholesterol and develop healthy brain functioning and a strong nervous system. A popular way of cooking this fish in Bengal is to make a curry with poppy seeds and mustard oil. In Andhra, Orissa and Assam Hilsa is also eaten by cooking the fish as a curry. Simply frying it also produces a very rich and flavourful meal.
This fish is related to the herring and is also the national fish of Bangladesh. To prove the immense popularity ad favour that this fish garners in the Indian subcontinent, there is a saying in Andhra Pradesh which goes like, “Pustelu ammi ayina Pulasa tinochhu”, which loosely translates to “It’s worth eating Pulasa/Hilsa even if you have to sell your mangal sutra.” The taste of this fish is unmatched and the only issue with this is that it has a lot of bones. In Bengali culture, this fish is also used as a part of wedding rituals.
RAWAS (Indian Salmon)
Rawas has a pink to orange meat with a mild flavour. This fish is popular in the Western Coast of India and is known as the Indian salmon in many places. Rawas is a very oily fish, consisting of oil almost all over its body.
A fillet of this fish is boneless and will have around 30% oil. This oil is very beneficial as it contains Omega 3, vitamin A and vitamin D. The meat is very tender and helps to build and maintain muscle mass. Rawas also helps to maintain a stable metabolism which leads to weight loss.
A very big benefit of this fish is the fact that it does not have too many bones. A fillet of rawas is absolutely boneless and people who are not regular fish eaters, or who cannot separate the bones easily will find this delightful to eat.
Along with all the benefits it provides the person, rawas can be eaten both as a curry and as a fried item. This boneless and tasty fish is something that people will find very difficult to resist.
KATLA (Bengal carp/ Indian carp)
This freshwater fish is found mainly in the lakes and rivers of Assam and North India. This is also a very oily fish and is a rich source of essential fatty acids and proteins. It is a rich source of sulfur and zinc, which help to maintain a person’s skin and to boost the immune system.
Despite being oily, katla fish is actually low in calories and a very wise option for weight loss and maintenance of weight. Intake of katla fish can also improve one’s circulation and reduce the risk of thrombosis. The best way to have katla fish is in a traditional curry form. Katla is a very good option for people who are very worried about their weight and are constantly worrying about their food intake.
This very tasty protein is a welcome change for non-vegetarians who do not get to eat other forms of proteins because of their fatty nature.
Pomfret is an exotic fish which is widely enjoyed all around India. It is categorized as a butterfish and is widely found in South Asia and in the Indian Ocean. Pomfret is not an oily fish and has white meat which has an incredible taste.
The most popular variants of this fish are white, black and silver. This fish in rich in protein and has a good amount of Omega 3 fatty acids, including vitamin A, vitamin B12, and vitamin D. As it is rich in vitamin B12, pomfret is very good for the nervous system. However, pomfret fishes are high in fat content, but it serves a source of calcium.
It also has a good amount of iodine which is critical for the thyroid gland. Therefore, even though pomfret might have a high fat content, it has other useful nutrients along with a delicious taste which makes this fish one of the best that is available in India.
BANGDA (Indian Mackerel)
This fish which is also called Indian mackerel, is very popular in South and Central India. Bangda is beneficial as it is rich in omega 3 and selenium which is grateful for one’s cardiovascular health.
Consuming this also reduces blood pressure and helps to keep it in check, including improving conditions of hypertension. Eyesight is also enhanced and cholesterol is also reduced if one consumes this fish. Bangda is also a good choice of protein for people who are planning on losing weight and gain muscle mass.
It also helps to lower oxidative stress in the body, along with reducing inflammation and enhancing immunity. Bangda is a fish which can be enjoyed by anyone as it has so many benefits and is a very tasty fish option.
Surmai (King Mackerel)
This is very popular in South and Central India. It is categorized as a mackerel and is rich in protein, omega 3 and other vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12. Being a source of so many varied nutrients, this fish also has a long list of benefits.
This fish is good for people who have elevated blood pressure levels, by keeping it under check and reducing it if high. Improving one’s eyesight is also another benefit of consuming this fish.
It is also beneficial for making bones strong and it reduces the risk of pernicious anaemia. This fish is however, high in mercury levels and so it is a good option to consume this only once a week and procure it only from trusted sources.
Surmai or King Mackerel is indeed the king of the Indian Ocean and a delicious fish to have in a curry, or in fried form.
PEDVEY (Indian Oil Sardine)
These fish are a rich source of protein, vitamins and minerals. They are primarily found in places like Karnataka, Goa, Kerala and southern Maharashtra. Pedvey is rich in DHA, Docosahexaenoic acid, which boosts memory in healthy adults and helps in brain development for children. It is also a good source of proteins, vitamins and minerals which help to makes the bones strong, and boost the immune system.
Pedvey is also beneficial for relieving stress and preventing inflammations in the body, which are required for preventing dangerous heart rhythm abnormalities and reducing triglyceride levels. Pedvey also reduces cholesterol levels which can lead to heart attacks if not kept under check. Therefore, this fish is a very beneficial fish which is also very popular in India and among one of the best options for fish found there too.
These are some of the best fish which I feel are good to eat in India.
Vijay Katariya is a certified fitness expert and nutrition specialist with over 15 years of experience in the health and wellness industry in India. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from Delhi University and is a certified personal trainer through the Indian Academy of Fitness Training (IAFT) and the Sports Authority of India (SAI). Vijay is also an active member of the Indian Association of Fitness Professionals (IAFP).
Vijay’s passion for fitness began during his college days when he realized the transformative power of exercise on his physical and mental well-being. Since then, he has dedicated his career to helping others in India achieve their health and fitness goals through personalized training programs and evidence-based nutrition advice.
Vijay has authored numerous articles on fitness, weight loss, and sports performance for various reputable Indian online publications. His expertise has been acknowledged through guest appearances on fitness podcasts, as well as speaking engagements at health and wellness conferences across the country. In addition, Vijay maintains a popular blog and YouTube channel, “MaxAppeal,” where he shares workout tips, healthy Indian recipes, and motivation for his growing community of fitness enthusiasts.
When not training clients or writing about fitness, Vijay enjoys participating in marathons, practicing yoga, and spending time with his family. He firmly believes that adopting a healthy lifestyle is the key to happiness and success, and is committed to sharing his knowledge with fellow Indians to help them reach their full potential.
With Vijay’s extensive background and passion for fitness, you can trust that the content he creates for MaxAppeal is not only informative but also tailored to the unique needs of the Indian audience. His mission is to empower individuals to take control of their health and achieve their personal fitness goals through culturally relevant and scientifically backed advice.