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Safety Concerns About Fish Skin And Its Nutritional Benefits

Fish skin is typically preferred to meat when it comes to healthy eating. Despite such popularity, there are still concerns about eating fish skin which prompts many people to remove it before cooking or eating any fish. However, experts say fish skin is completely safe to eat, but that eating fish in general should be done conservatively as some of them contain high levels of toxins.

By Cookist

Fishes are a potent source of protein, they are nutrient-dense, delicious, and a healthy addition to any meal. They can provide you with essential nutrients like iron and omega-3 fatty acids, which explains the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommendation of eating a 4-ounce (113-gram) serving of fish 2–3 times per week.

Do these qualities also apply to fish skin? YES!

As long as you have cleaned your fish properly and gotten rid of scales where applicable, its skin is absolutely safe for consumption. However, eating fishes generally is what you may have to monitor closely as experts continuously draw attention to the presence of mercury and other toxins, which may also be present in its skin.

Therefore, the public is advised to consume low-mercury fish more often than high-mercury fish. Below are a few fishes and the typical level of their mercury content:

Low Mercury Content


These fishes are highly recommended since they have the lowest levels of toxicity owing to being from freshwater. They are

  • Catfish
  • Cod
  • Flounder
  • Pollock
  • Salmon
  • Tilapia
  • Most canned tunas

Medium Mercury Content 


These can be enjoyed occasionally:

  • Carp
  • Grouper
  • Halibut
  • Mahi-mahi
  • Snapper

High Mercury Content 


These fishes should only be eaten on rare occasions. Otherwise, you should totally avoid eating them because they averagely contain toxic levels of mercury. They are:

  • King mackerel
  • Marlin
  • Shark
  • Swordfish
  • Tile fish


Fish skin provides you with numerous benefits like eating fish itself. In other words, it is a potent source of nutrients that support optimal human health, such as protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin E. Consuming fish skin also contributes to muscle growth, improved heart health, and healthy skin.

However, make sure to always check the mercury levels of any fish before buying or eating as this may increase your risks of developing debilitating diseases.

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