In Nigeria, catfish is one of the most widely loved and enjoyed fish. It is consumed in various delicacies, especially at social gatherings.
The fact that it is affordable when compared to other varieties of fish in the market makes it more popular. However, research has shown that consumption of catfish is not so healthy. While medics assert that fish is a better and healthier option than meat, it seems quite a lot of people didn’t wait to hear the other part of the medical advice that not all types of fish are good for the heart.
According to expert advice, the omega 6 fatty acids in catfish can increase your risk of getting blood clots, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and some cancers? In fact, nutritionists say that catfish is loaded with bad fat and high cholesterol that encourage clotting of the blood, a condition whereby blood flow is impeded. This may lead to cardiac arrest, thrombosis and, in some cases, heart attacks.
A cardiologist, Dr. Jane Anisulowo, who talked to The Punch recently said that farmed or home-grown catfish is the worst example in this regard, as it contains more fatty hormones than the ones harvested from natural water. “Fish is better than meat, no doubt. It digests easily and it contains proteins. However, catfish is not really a good option, especially the ones they sell these days, which are cultivated with hormonal feeds that are filled with steroids and other fattening chemicals just to make them profitable. These chemicals are cancerous in nature.
“Also, they contain so much oil that you can almost taste it. Fish, generally, contains oil, but catfish has oil in its skin. That is what makes it so oily and unhealthy. It also contains a lot of poly unsaturated fat that does not only make you fat but also settles in the blood stream. That is very dangerous because when blood fails to get to an organ, it fails and suffers paralysis.”
A study which was conducted by the National Institute of Health in 2012, using over 1000 species of the fish in different water shows that catfish contains a high amount of unfavourable omega-6 fat that causes inflammation in the body. Three-ounce portion of catfish contains the same amount of bad fats found in red meat. This is not to say that one should give up eating the fish as catfish contains some nutrients such as Omega3 fatty acids that are good for the body.
Anisulowo, however, advised: “If you can get the one from the river, which is rare in most cities, then you may eat it twice a month. But if the only one you can get is the one that is being reared by farmers, you don’t have to eat at all, or just eat it when it is partially smoked. In that way, some of the fats would have been lost in the process. Better still, there are some other species of fish that are oily but they contain good fats and are more nutritious.”
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Instead of regular consumption of catfish, here are some other species that you can add to your diet:
It is popularly called Titus fish in Nigeria. The oily meat found on mackerel is its main health benefit. It lowers triglycerides. High levels of triglycerides in the body have been linked to heart disease and strokes. The most common causes of a high triglyceride level are obesity and poorly maintained diabetes, mainly stemming from an inactive lifestyle.
Tilapia is a high-quality fish. It has proteins and contains all the essential amino acids your body requires from food diet to help to build proteins. One portion of tilapia cooked using dry heat contains about 26 grammes of protein. It also helps in weight control.