Catfish, scientifically known as Siluriformes, are a diverse group of ray-finned fish, which be found on all continents, except Antarctica. There are over 3000 species of catfish found in freshwater settings like rivers and streams. However, some species have evolved to live in saltwater and caverns. Catfish has been used to prepare delicacies such as catfish pepper soup, smoked catfish, and nsala soup.
Catfish are considered nutrient-dense since it is high in many nutrients. The nutritional value of catfish is impressive, as it is low in calories, protein, selenium, sodium, and vitamin B12. It is also high in potassium, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids.
Consuming catfish comes with several health benefits that you can easily take advantage of. However, care should be taken when eating these mudcats as there are also side effects to look out for.
Nonetheless, here are some of the health benefits of catfish.
Health Benefits Of Cat Fish
Catfish is used to prepare various delicious meals, which can be quite tasty. Below are some of the health benefits of eating catfish:
1. Rich In Protein
Protein is one of the most important energy sources in your diet. It’s also a component of various hormones, enzymes, and other substances. Eating foods that are rich in protein, like catfish can help with weight loss by boosting feelings of fullness. They are also great food for growing children. Additionally, the protein in catfish also builds and repairs tissue and muscle.
2. High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 is essential for an embryo’s brain development. It’s also necessary for the development of the nervous system and eyesight. Eating foods rich in omega-3s are associated with improved skeletal muscle strength, heart health, and digestive system.
3. Good Source Of Vitamin B12
One of the essential health benefits of catfish is its abundance of vitamin B12. This vitamin has been linked to several potential health benefits. Some of the health benefits of eating catfish include improving mental health, promoting cardiovascular activities, and preventing anemia.
4. Loaded With Vitamin D
Since we receive vitamin D mostly from the direct sun, it is nicknamed “sunshine vitamin.” There aren’t many meals that contain this vital vitamin, but specific animal foods can be an excellent source.
Vitamin D serves various functions in the body, including boosting our immune system. According to research, maintaining optimal vitamin D levels in the blood has also been linked to a lower risk of a variety of chronic diseases.
Vitamin D levels can be increased by eating fish like catfish. 143 grams of catfish contains 181% of the daily value (DV) of vitamin D. Thus, catfish is a great way to take in more vitamin D.
5. Boosts The Immune System
Catfish is loaded with a considerable amount of selenium. Selenium is a vital nutrient that plays an important role in the health of your immune system. It also acts as an antioxidant that helps lower oxidative stress in your body, which reduces inflammation, and strengthens immunity. Medical studies have shown that increased blood levels of selenium are linked to enhanced immune response.
Side Effects of Catfish
Although catfish’s health benefits are plenty, eating it has a few drawbacks to consider, including the following.
Mercury poisoning: This is a common side effect of catfish that many people are unaware of. However, it is primarily caused by catfish caught in contaminated water.
Catfish and other shellfish may contain methylmercury, which has been the cause of methylmercury exposure in people. This poison is highly poisonous and can cause injury to both the central and peripheral nervous systems.
Catfish is an excellent option if you’re looking to maximize your seafood consumption. Nonetheless, instead of deep-frying which adds significantly more calories and fat, you should use dry heat cooking methods. Dry heating cooking methods include baking and broiling.
Overall, catfish is a healthy fish with several advantages. Despite its low-fat content, it is a good source of omega-3 and contains significant levels of vitamin D, selenium, and B12.