Fresh Food For Health & Fitness: How To Determine If The Fish or Shell Fish You Bought Is Fresh?

Eating fish can help maintain a healthy and balanced diet while also providing many health benefits. Fish such as salmon, tuna, and trout are all high in protein, low in saturated fat, and full of omega-3 fatty acids that are necessary for a healthy body.

The fresher the better: fish and seafood are perishable and lose quality and nutritional value the longer they are between the catch and the plate.

With fish, you can tell how fresh the fish is by the condition of the eyes, the gills, and the smell.

condition of the eyes

  • fresh: protruding, shiny, clear, deep black
  • still edible: flat, cloudy
  • spoiled: sunken, opaque, gray

condition of the gills

  • fresh: bright red, glossy, round outline
  • still edible: yellowish, brownish
  • spoiled: green, yellow, or brown coloring, flaky mucus, gills dissolve on the outside

the smell of the gills

  • fresh: salt water, pond, algae
  • still edible: sour, fruity, like vegetables
  • spoiled: putrid odor, pungent, penetratingly fishy

Abdominal condition in un-eviscerated fish

  • fresh: smooth and shiny inside
  • still edible: spotted yellow in front, individual bone ends protrude
  • spoiled: distinct stains, flesh partially decomposed, bones protruding

Gutted fish changes little on the inside. If the insides are clearly yellow-brown, you should stop buying the fish. If the fish is not gutted, you should look at the abdomen after it has been gutted. If you have bought a fish that is classified as “still edible” according to the overview, you should fillet it.

Read also: 3 Foods to Boost Your Weight Loss Effort

Live mussels: safest to eat

Fresh mussels must still be alive to be safe to eat. That is why most of the shells should be closed when you buy them. In order for them to survive for a few more days in the refrigerator, a humid environment is necessary. Damaged shells and insufficient moisture make the animals easily dry out and die. You can check whether a mussel is still alive by trying to open the shell further: if you notice resistance, it is still alive. In the case of mussels, the beard should only be removed when cleaning, otherwise, they will die within a day.

Live crustaceans

Live crustaceans are often sold in fish markets and grocery stores. These animals can be difficult to care for, so it’s important to carefully read the instructions on the package. If you buy live crustaceans, make sure you handle them with care.

Lobster moves less the older it gets. If the animal is surprisingly light, you should not buy it. Healthy animals have an elastic tail that should lie flat against the body. Dead crustaceans must smell pleasantly of seawater and have shiny eyes.

Ensure seafood freshness when eating out

When you go to a restaurant, it can be difficult to know if the fish is fresh. However, there are a few ways that you can tell this. First, check the color of the fish. If it has a grayish tone and appears unappetizing then it is not fresh. Second, smell the seafood. It should smell like a mix of ocean and salt water which indicates that it is not fresh. Finally, the fish should be somewhere between moist and dry. If it is all moist then it is not very fresh and if it is dry then the fish could have been sitting out for too long.

Eat at restaurants with a good reputation for serving fresh foods. In Mexico, Maria Carmita ( is among the best restaurants known for their mixed seafood platter. While dining out, pay attention to the ingredients in your meal. If a dish contains corn, make sure to read the label of the ingredients and check whether it is organic or not. Avoid sodas and other sugary beverages. Instead, opt for water or unsweetened iced tea.