Foods (and Nutrients) You Should Be Eating with a Fish Allergy

Family sunbathing at the beach
Sunshine can help you get enough vitamin D when you have a fish allergy. Westend61/Getty Images

Fish allergy is one of the most common food allergies and is considered one of the eight allergens that make up 90% of all food allergies. Day in and day out individuals must avoid fish, not just the obvious sources of fish, like cod or salmon, but also those foods that may contain fish ingredients, such as bouillabaisse, Chinese food, or chowder.

Anytime a food or food group is eliminated from the diet, a potential nutrient deficiency may occur.

In the case of fish allergy, the nutrients that may be at risk are the omega-3 fats, protein, and vitamin D. Here's why you should be paying extra attention to them, and how you can be sure to get plenty in the foods you eat.

Omega-3 Fats

Omega-3 fats including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and alpha-linolenic (ALA) are found in foods and are essential to humans because we cannot make them within the body. These, among other plant fats like omega-6 fatty acids, are considered healthy fats because they help protect the heart from long-term disease and keep the immune system robust. They also help the brain develop in young children and keep it healthy in older age. If you are living with a fish allergy, you will source healthy fats from other foods, such as plant oils, avocado, and nuts.

Can you take a fish oil supplement if you have a fish allergy? Good question!

Take care to investigate your fish oil supplement and check with your healthcare provider regarding its usage. While testing for safety of fish oil supplements for fish allergic people has been done, these studies have been limited in their scope.

Add these omega-3 foods to your diet as often as possible:

  • Nuts, especially walnuts
  • Seeds, especially flaxseed and chia
  • Olive oil
  • Vegetable oils like canola, soy and flaxseed oil
  • Nut butters
  • Spinach


Protein is the building block of all tissue, and is essential for growth and development in children. In adults, protein helps keep muscles strong, while preventing excessive muscle loss when adequate amounts are consumed. It helps in the repair of muscle after strenuous exercise. Protein plays many different roles in an individual’s overall health, from keeping the immune system healthy to helping blood stay rich with iron, and its inclusion in the daily diet is essential. If you are allergic to fish, you’ll want to make sure to include other sources of protein in your diet, such as lean meats and poultry, beans, and eggs.

Add these protein-rich foods to your diet when you can:

  • Lean beef
  • Poultry such as chicken and turkey
  • Beans and lentils
  • Eggs
  • Nut butter
  • Nuts

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is called the sunshine vitamin. It is important in a variety of ways to your health, from helping bones develop and stay strong to preventing chronic disease.

Humans partly source vitamin D from the sun through activation of vitamin D stores in the skin. Experts recommend some unprotected time (no sunscreen) in the sun based on your skin's likelihood to burn in order to get the most vitamin D in the safest manner.

Vitamin D is also naturally found in fatty fish, such as salmon and in fortified foods like eggs. Because the requirements for vitamin D are 600 IU per day for individuals over age one, it is important to identify and regularly consume foods containing vitamin D. If you have a fish allergy, you will rely on fortified food sources of vitamin D, sunshine, and possibly a vitamin D supplement to meet your daily needs.

Add these vitamin D foods to your diet daily:

  • Vitamin D-fortified eggs, especially those with DHA or omega-3 fatty acids
  • Milk
  • Dairy products fortified with vitamin D (read the nutrition facts panel, as not all dairy products have been fortified with vitamin D)
  • Mushrooms


The Vitamin D Council

Food Allergy Research and Education website

Office of Dietary Supplements

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