What Makes Tilapia Nutritious?

We’re here to set the record straight. Not crooked, not slightly askew, straight. While the internet has been so focused on how “tilapia is worse than bacon,” people have overlooked the health benefits that this versatile, white fish can bring to the table, literally.

1. Omega-3 Essential Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids

Okay, so it doesn’t have as much as oily fish like salmon. But if you want to up your omega-3 intake without all that fishy flavor or taking a fish oil pill, tilapia is the way to go. With an average of about 37 mg in a 4-oz serving, this fish can still provide essential macronutrients needed for healthy brain development, especially in young children.

2. Omega-6 Essential Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids

Again, while omega-6 has been listed as an “undesirable” fatty acid that encourages inflammation, the benefits haven’t been emphasized as much as they should have. Like Omega-3, Omega-6 is a macronutrient that the human body needs but cannot create on its own. Therefore, it needs to be consumed in order to experience the benefits. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center,[1] omega-6 fatty acids play a vital role in brain function and normal growth and development. It also stimulates skin and hair growth, maintains bone health, regulates metabolism, and maintains the reproductive system. Unfortunately, the American diet can sometimes revolve around the over-consumption of omega-6-rich foods like vegetable oil, and that leads to an excessive amount of this fatty acid. Remember folks, moderation is key, and with only an average of 244 mg in a 4-oz serving of tilapia, it should not automatically be shunned away as a fish option.

3. Rich Fountain of Protein

With an average of 21 grams of protein in a 4-oz tilapia fillet, what’s not to love? That’s almost half of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDA)[2] for protein. If you need to build muscle without consuming more fat, tilapia is a great option to help you do so.

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4. Low in Fat

Tilapia has an average of only about 1.5 grams of fat per every 4-oz serving. From that amount, more than half of that fat is made up of unsaturated fatty acids, such as the essential omega-3’s and omega-6’s mentioned above. Therefore, tilapia has very minimal if not zero amounts of saturated fats.

5. Little to No Mercury

Wild-caught fish run the risk of carrying contaminants that cannot be supervised like a closed environment can. Additionally, tilapia are very low on the food chain, so they eat vegetable-based feeds and algae. The higher up you go on the food chain, the higher the chances you have of consuming mercury.

6. Fewer calories

The average 4-oz fillet of tilapia has approximately 100 calories. That’s it. If you are planning on burning more calories than you consume, tilapia is an excellent choice to help you do so.

7. Calcium

If building strong bones is a goal in your radar, approximately 8.3 mg of calcium in this fish can certainly help you get there.

 

Sources

  1. University of Maryland Medical Center
  2. Recommended Daily Intake (RDI)