Catfish Is Bad For Your Heart, Try Tilapia

By on August 26, 2014

Catfish is one of the most popular and readily available fish, especially in this part of the world. In fact, a local delicacy, known as ‘fresh fish pepper soup’ or ‘point and kill’, prepared with catfish is the favourite among diners at social gatherings and eateries in Nigeria.catfish

It is quite tasty and affordable when compared to other varieties of fresh fish in the market. But did you know that the Omega-6 fatty acids in catfish can increase your risk of getting blood clots, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and some cancers?

Although doctors have maintained that fish is a better and healthier alternative to beef, they note that not all types of fish are good for the body, especially the heart.

According to them, the cat fish is loaded with bad fats that may trigger blood clotting, a condition that disrupts the flow of blood in the human body, thereby leading to cardiac arrest, thrombosis and in some cases, heart attack.

A cardiologist, Dr. Jane Anisulowo, says that farm-raised or home-grown catfish contain more fatty hormones than the variety harvested at sea.

Anisulowo says,“ Fish is better than meat, no doubt, It digests easily and it is loaded with proteins. However, catfish is not really a good option, especially the ones they sell these days, which are cultivated with hormonal feeds that are highly concentrated and filled with steroids and other fattening chemicals just to make them profitable. These chemicals are cancerous in nature.

“Fish itself contains oil, but catfish has oil in its skin. That is what makes it so oily and unhealthy. It also contains a lot of unsaturated fats that do not only make you fat but settles in the blood stream. This is very dangerous because when blood fails to get to an organ, it fails and suffers paralysis.”

A study conducted by the National Institute of Health, USA, in 2012, using over 1,000 species of the fish in many waters of the world, shows that catfish contains a high amount of unfavourable omega-6 fat that causes inflammation in the body.

According to scientists, a 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 catfish all together as it contains some nutrients, such as Omega3 fatty acids that are good for the body. Anisulowo notes that eating it on few occasions may save one from the dangers it poses to one’s health.

She says, “If you can get the one from the river, which is rare in most cities, then you may eat it two times in a month. If the only one you can get is the type that is reared by farmers, it is either you don’t eat it at all or you eat it when it is partially smoked. That way, some of the fats would have been lost in the process. Still, there are other species of fish that are oily, but they contain good fats and are more nutritious.”

Here are other species of fish that you can add to your diet and their health benefits:


This variety of fish is popularly known as Titus. The oily meat of the mackerel contains its main health benefits. This fish oil, which is also known as omega-3 fatty acid, is so beneficial to human health that it has been processed into a supplement.

It lowers triglycerides and high levels of triglycerides, which have been linked to heart disease and stroke, in the body. The most common causes of high triglyceride level are obesity and poorly maintained diabetes, arising from inactive lifestyle and a poor diet that includes a high intake of sugary foods, carbohydrates and alcohol. Fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids, like mackerel, have proved to be very effective in lowering triglyceride levels.

Mackerel has also proved to be effective in reducing the risk of heart disease or death from heart attack due to its omega-3 fatty acids. Some researchers have found that omega-3 fatty acid is even more effective at reducing heart attacks than some commonly prescribed drugs used for lowering cholesterol.

Mackerel is good for the blood. It improves blood circulation in the body and lowesr blood pressure by allowing blood vessels to expand and be more elastic. It can also help one to fight and prevent cancer by reducing the amount of agents that cause cancer in the body cells, primarily in the breast, colon and prostate areas.


Tilapia is a high-quality fish. It contains complete protein and all the essential amino acids that your body needs. One portion of tilapia, cooked by using dry heat, contains about 26 grammes of protein. The Institute of Medicine, USA recommends that men consume at least 56 grammes of protein, women consume at least 46 grammes, while pregnant women and nursing mothers consume about 71 grammes of protein each day. Eating tilapia can help you achieve that.

It may help in weight control. Tilapia is naturally low in fat and only contains about 128 calories in each portion. According to a study published in a 2006 edition of ‘The Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation’, subjects who consumed eight grammes of tilapia each week showed improved body weight.