Smoked catfish is a delicacy most popularly enjoyed in parts of Africa, Asia and North America. Not only does it taste good, but also has tremendous health benefits that anyone barely talks about.
So what are the health benefits of smoked catfish?
– Catfish is a rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids, which we all know is great for brain function.
– One serving of catfish has over 60% of the daily required source of Vitamin B12, which is excellent for the nervous system.
– Catfish is rich in Vitamin D, which is a must for healthy bones.
Health benefits of smoked catfish don’t end here. To find out more, keep reading!
The fact that More than 7 million people, every year fish for catfish, tells how in demand this species of fish is. Which naturally makes us question the benefits and side effects of catfish.
But before we move to the catfish benefits and side effects, let’s get to learn what a catfish really is.
What Is A Catfish?
A catfish is a type of fresh-water fish, with spine-like long whiskers around its mouth. The widest variety of the catfish are commonly found in the North American, Euro-Asian and African region. This species of fish is marketed and farmed the most, due to its high demand.
Some common characteristics of catfish are that they are scaleless. They are, in most cases, cylindrical and have a bony, flat head.
Catfish can be found in a variety of weights and sizes, from literally 1 cm to upto 3 m.
And can weigh as large as 200kgs, per piece, which is enough to serve more than 900 people at one time.
Health Benefits of Smoked Catfish And Nutritional Value:
Catfish is a nutrient-dense food, with very few calories per serving, making it a perfect choice for weight watchers and fish lovers, alike.
A 100 gram serving of catfish only takes up 105 calories, with little fat and no carbohydrates, high protein with more than 20 essential minerals and vitamins to its name.
The nutritional values stated below are resourced from FoodData Central.
Serving size – 1 fillet (100g)
|Macronutrients Profile||Essential Mineral Profile||Vitamin Profile|
|Calories - 105 kCal||Calcium (Ca) - 11 mg||Vitamin A - 15|
|Protein - 18.47 grams||Iron (Fe) - 0.35 mg||Vitamin B1 - 0.227 mg|
|Carbohydrates - 0 grams||Magnesium (Mg) - 28 mg||Vitamin B2 - 0.067 mg|
|Fats - 2.85 grams||Potassium (K) - 419 mg||Vitamin B3 - 2.385 mg|
|Fibre - 0 grams||Sodium (Na) - 50 mg||Vitamin B5 - 0.91|
|Copper (Cu) - 0.039 mg||Vitamin B6 - 0.106 mg|
|Zinc (Zn) - 0.61 mg||Vitamin B 12 - 2.9|
|Selenium (Se) - 14.3 mg||Vitamin C - 0.8 mg|
|Phosphorus (P) - 304 mg||Vitamin D - 530 IU|
|Vitamin E - 0.39 mg|
|Vitamin K - 105 mcg|
|Choline - 72.7 mg|
High in Lean Protein:
A 100gms of catfish provides 18.5 grams of lean protein, with less than 3 grams of fat and a total of 105 calories, which makes it beneficial for both losing weight and building lean muscle.
Protein is the most important element of the human body, with which our body creates new cells, heal damaged organs, generate hormones and enzymes that result in proper bodily functions.
Protein helps in the building up of damaged cartilages, muscle and even blood. Without protein, our bodies will have no way to build new cells or regenerate those that are dying.
Given that catfish contains high protein, zero carb and low fat, catfish is deemed a protein-dense food.
Good source of Omega 3 fatty acids:
Although low in fat, catfish has a considerable amount of omega 3 fatty acids present, which is necessary for useful brain function.
While the amount of omega 3 resourced from catfish may not be as high as other fishes, like Salmon, Mackerel and herring, it provides enough to decrease a whopping 7% chance of death due to common ailments.
A 100gm fillet of catfish provides around 660mg of omega 3 fats which is enough to benefit cardiovascular and other brain-related functions.
Omega 3 is also popularly known for fighting depression and anxiety. It helps improve one’s quality of sleep as well as bone and joint health.
It also decreases inflammation, which is one of the building blocks of any new or chronic disease.
Rich in vitamin D:
Health benefits for catfish also include the high levels of vitamin D present in it. Most wild fish, including catfish, include 50% more vitamin D than what is required daily by our body. Which means, eating catfish thrice a week can suffice for your daily vitamin D intake.
Vitamin D, as we all know, is essential for healthy bones and since there are not many dietary sources of it, including catfish in your diet is a must. Especially for those who have very limited interaction with the sun, and sun being the only other source of vitamin D.
For example, those who live in countries where the sun only comes out for a few hours in the day. Or someone who works a night shift, and sleeps the day.
That being said, vitamin D deficiencies are at an all-new low today, affecting everyone, including newborns. Elderly, childbearing mothers and nursing mothers are all at most risk of vitamin D deficiency.
Excellent source of Vitamin B12:
In the world today, more than 20% of the population is suffering from vitamin B-12 deficiency, which includes everyone from children, elderly to childbearing mothers.
Did you know Vitamin B12 is as essential as Vitamin D?
It helps in significant functions, like the building of red blood cells. People with low vitamin B12 are at risk of anaemia.
Vitamin B12 helps with fighting the chances of cardiovascular diseases, dementia and pumps the body with energy.
A 10 gram serving of catfish provides 2.9 mcg of vitamin B12, which is almost 30% of the daily amount required by our body.
Low levels of Mercury:
Fish often contain high levels of mercury, which has been a cause of concern for many years. Mercury levels in a fish, can not only cause neurotoxicity in our body but also hinder the growth of a fetus.
But as research suggests, catfish is one of those fishes that has the lowest amount of mercury present in them. After anchovies and sardines, catfish has the lowest amount of 0.024 levels of mercury present in them.
Other popular varieties of fish like mackerel have double the amount of mercury compared to catfish, while herring has 75% more mercury content present in it.
Shark, eels and swordfish have a whopping 0.999 levels of mercury present in them. So it’s safe to say that catfish are a low mercury option when having fish.
Catfish benefits for skin:
Catfish contains protein and omega 3 fats, both of which are essential for healthy-looking skin.
Protein which is the building block of the human body provides a kind of protein, called collagen, that makes the skin feel tight and not wrinkled, and soft to touch.
While the omega fatty acids provide moisture to the skin, making it look plump and smooth.
Is catfish high in cholesterol?
Fish are high in fat. However, most fish contain omega 3 fats, which help stabilise cholesterol levels. They lower the bad cholesterol called LDL and increase the level of good cholesterol called HDL.
Although there are other varieties of fish that have more Omega 3 fats, catfish has a reasonable amount of omega 3 fats which can help lower cholesterol levels.
So when you hear someone say that catfish can cause an increase in your cholesterol, make sure to correct them!
To learn more on some myths about catfish and how to debunk them, click here!
Side effects of catfish:
Catfish have always come under the light as an unhealthy choice of fish. But the truth is catfish nutritional benefits are far more than what we hear.
But with the increase in demand, catfish are predominantly being farmed and reproduced commercially.
The commercial reproducing practices have made catfish a not so healthy option.
Commercially farmed catfish contains high amounts of omega 6 fatty acids, which is a form of fat that does more bad than good in the body.
However, there is still a way you can enjoy this fatty yet a nutritional variety of fish, and that is by choosing to consume the smoked catfish variety. A lot of the fat is lost during dry and smoking, which makes the otherwise oily option a sane choice.
Were you aware of these health benefits of smoked catfish prior to now? Let us hear from you using the comments box below.