Is Tilapia a Healthy Food Choice?


Tilapia are robust, fast growing, warm-water fish that happen to be a favorite option for aquaculture. Tilapia are members of the Cichlid family which are indigenous to freshwater in Africa and the Middle East. Tilapia production is thriving world-wide, having increased from 1.6 metric tons in 1999 to 3.5 metric tons in 2008. China, Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand are now the top five worldwide growers of tilapia.

A decade ago, tilapia were practically unknown in the United States, but they’re becoming more popular. Traditionally marketed to Asian and African ethnic populations, tilapia are now getting widely accessible to the general population in seafood markets and supermarkets.

Tilapia is sold live, fresh, and frozen and in different product forms (whole, gutted, and fillets). Most tilapia eaten in the U.S. is frozen product that is from China and Taiwan. Central and South America are the leading source of imported fresh tilapia. Tilapia farming in the United States furnishes less than 10% of tilapia consumed domestically. In 2010 Americans ate 475 million pounds of tilapia, which positions it as the leading consumed farmed seafood in the U.S.

Because of their mild flavored, white-fleshed fillets, tilapia makes a perfect component for many dishes. Tilapia are a good way to obtain protein and a 3.5 oz. serving contains 28 grams of proteins. Tilapia is low in saturated fat, calories, carbohydrates and sodium. Tilapia also has beneficial quantities of other essential nutrients, including selenium, vitamin B12, niacin, phosphorous, and potassium.

Mercury is a hazardous substance which may normally be concentrated in fish predators near the top of the food chain. Tilapia are omnivorous and can eat a large number of foods, including plants, animals, and algae. Thanks to their eating traits, quick rate of growth, and short life expectancy, tilapia incorporate little or no mercury.

There is some concern about the cholesterol levels in tilapia. A 3.5 oz. serving of tilapia contains 57 mg of cholesterol, which is 19% of the daily recommended amount. Cholesterol is a natural steroid that’s very important to retaining body health and wellbeing. Even so, excessive levels of cholesterol, particularly “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, or LDL), can bring about heart disease.

Many cold-water fish, such as salmon, trout, herring, and mackerel, contain significant levels of omega-3 fatty acids. High levels of omega-3s contribute to beneficial heart up keep and can reduce cholesterol and blood pressure.

A study made available by the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in 2008, discovered that farm-raised tilapia have low levels of valuable omega-3s (less than half a gram per 3.5 oz. of fish, similar to flounder and swordfish), but remarkably high levels of omega-6s. The experts revealed that this blend of fatty acids could cause a harmful inflammation response in people with coronary disease, arthritis, asthma and various allergic and auto-immune conditions.

In reply to this review, an open correspondence from 16 science and health specialists from all over the world verified that tilapia can indeed be regarded as part of a proper diet. They emphasized that tilapia are comparatively low in total and saturated fats and high in protein and vital trace nutrients. Tilapia provide significantly more omega-3s compared to other meat choices like hamburger, steak, chicken, pork or turkey.

The American Heart Association suggests having fish (especially fatty fish) at least two times (two servings) a week. It is easy to meet this need either by consuming tilapia more often or in conjunction with other sorts of fatty fish, for example salmon and tuna. Given its nutritional advantages, tilapia is a superb meal option for those focused on healthful eating.

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