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7 Health Benefits Of Rainbow Trout

Last updated Nov. 13, 2016

John Salzarulo

The American Heart Association recommends eating a 3-ounce serving of cooked fish at least twice a week.


The rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) is a type of trout, and a species of salmonid originated in the cold-water waters of the Pacific Ocean in Asia and North America. The freshwater varieties have been introduced in the Great Lakes of North America. The American Heart Association recommends eating a 3-ounce serving of cooked fish at least twice a week. Rainbow trout is one of the healthiest fish you can include in your diet. One can maximize the health benefits of eating rainbow trout by cooking it from a variety of methods like steaming, grilling, broiling, or baking.

Here are the seven health benefits of rainbow trout:

1.    The rainbow trout is an excellent alternative for protein.

Are you a pescatarian? If not, are you looking for a new food that would increase your protein diet besides chicken, beef, and pork? Rainbow trout can be your new source of protein. A three-ounce serving of cooked rainbow trout contains 19 grams of protein. The Institute of Medicine recommends that you get between 10 to 35 percent of your total calories from protein. That means if your goal is to consume 1,800 calories per day, 180 to 630 of those calories should be from protein. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, each gram of protein had four calories. Men should get about 56 grams of protein per day and women should consume about 46 grams of protein.

Protein intake is essential for your body’s normal function. They are vital building blocks for muscles, skin, hair, nails, skin, blood, and cartilage. Most of the enzymes in your body that help you function properly are made of protein. 

2.    The rainbow trout are high in omega-3 fatty acids.

Many “health gurus” tell people to stay away from fat. That could not be further from the truth. Regardless if you are trying to lose weight or gain weight, you need to consume fat. However, not all fats are created equal. You should stay away from some fats and gravitate to others. One of the fats your should gravitate to is the omega-3 fatty acids. The ratio between omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids is important for healthy aging. It cannot be made in the body. Therefore, you must eat foods like rainbow trout that contain the rich nutrient.

A cooked serving of farmed rainbow trout contains approximately 999 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, and docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA (found in fatty fish and algae). That far exceeds the 250-500 milligrams per day recommendation that the World Health Organization recommends. Also, that same serving contains only 245 milligrams of omega-6 fatty acids.

The typical Western diet contains around ten times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids. The abundant omega-6 fatty acids come from refined vegetable oils in processed foods. Many experts believe that the omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio should be more of a 2:1 ratio than a 10:1 ratio. Rainbow trout can help balance out that omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. A balanced ratio can contribute to reducing the risk of heart attacks, heart disease, depression, anxiety, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer.

3.    The rainbow trout is rich in potassium.

Potassium is one of the most underrated minerals. Many people believe that if you simply decrease your salt intake, then your risk of high blood pressure would decrease. That is not true. Your body balances its salt by looking at its potassium to sodium ratio.

On a typical day, adults over the age of 19, teens between 14 to 18, and pregnant women should consume 4,700 milligrams of potassium each day and should consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium each day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is a 2.04 to 1 ratio between potassium and sodium. Rainbow trout contains 381 milligrams of potassium and 47.6 milligrams of sodium. That is an 8 to 1 ratio between potassium and sodium!

A potassium-rich diet not only helps manage high blood pressure, but provides relief from stroke, kidney disorders, anxiety, and stress. Potassium has also enhanced muscle strength, metabolism, and nerve function.

4.    Rainbow trout is phosphorus-rich.

Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral in the body behind calcium. Phosphorus and calcium work together often to help maintain the integrity of bones and teeth, which is why 85 percent of the body’s phosphorus can be found in the bones and teeth. A phosphorus-rich diet plays other roles in facilitating an efficient digestive system by stimulating digestion with riboflavin and niacin and helping the proper release of waste while keeping the kidneys healthy. Also, phosphorus is the needed for the growth, maintenance, and repair of all tissues since they are needed for genetic building blocks, DNA and RNA.

Most people consume enough phosphorus in their diets. According to the Institute of Medicine, adults are recommended to consume 700 milligrams of phosphorus per day. Kids and teens between the age of nine and 18 are recommended to consume 1,250 milligrams of phosphorus per day. Rainbow yellow trout contains 226 milligrams of phosphorus each serving. 

5.    The rainbow trout is an excellent source of the B-vitamin complex.

Thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and pantothenic acid are categorized in the B-vitamin complex. The water-soluble vitamins play a major role in cell metabolism. Thiamin assists in the breakdown of sugars and amino acids to make them readily available for the body to use. Niacin helps the body break down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into energy. Niacin also plays a role in removing harmful chemicals from the liver and makes various sex and stress-related hormones in the adrenal glands.

Vitamin B6 helps the body make several chemicals that help one brain cell communicate with another brain cell called neurotransmitters. The neurotransmitters in production are serotonin and norepinephrine, which can also influence your mood and the body’s internal clock.

Vitamin B12 helps the body control the homocysteine levels in the blood. Too much of the amino acid homocysteine in the blood has been associated with heart disease. People who are pescetarians should eat rainbow trout because of the vitamin B12 content, which you cannot find in a plant-only diet.

Pantothenic acid plays a role in the breakdown of fats and carbohydrates for energy that is critical for the production of red blood cells and sex and stress-related hormones. Your body also needs pantothenic acid to make cholesterol in the body. 

6.    Rainbow trout is a good source of the forgotten selenium.

Not too many people have heard of selenium, but selenium is an important trace mineral for normal brain function, a healthy immune system, and fertility for both men and women. Combined with vitamin E, selenium can act as an antioxidant and may reduce the risk of cancer and prevent sunburn. The most common place people may get their selenium intake is in mushrooms since selenium is found in soil but rainbow trout is a good source of selenium as well.

Children above the age of 13 and adults should consume 55 micrograms of selenium per day. Rainbow trout contains 12.7 micrograms or 18 percent of the daily value of recommended selenium. 

7.    Rainbow trout is low in contaminants.

According to the Environmental Defense Fund, farmed rainbow trout is low in mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs. Fish that contain high levels of mercury or PCBs may cause side effects like kidney damage, mental disorders, brain damage, and fatigue, especially in children and fetuses. Seafood Watch recommends avoiding wild-caught rainbow trout because of the increased risk of pollutants.

Written by Stephen Umunna

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Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Nov. 13, 2016
Last updated: Nov. 13, 2016

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