When given an option to choose between bacon and fish, a majority of the people who are health conscious will pick the latter since its health benefits are now well-known. However, there are a number of studies that present another view.
Typically, fish is one of the healthiest food options out there and you should definitely have it instead of the processed and red meats. It is a high-protein and low-fat food that can bring a number of benefits and improve your health generally.
However, the sources of fish today are what can cause any person to stop and wonder if the fish they eat is actually healthy. Where fish comes from and its quality are the two things you should keep in mind while buying fish.
Why is this so?
The source of the fish is what determines whether it will be healthy for you or not. The main thing that matters is whether the fish you are buying is farm-raised/farm-bred or wild-caught. There is a big difference between wild and farm fish.
RELATED: Is Farmed Fish Safe For Health?
While some of the fish are rarely farm-raised, the most consumed ones are now increasing bred on farms to meet the demand. Some of the common farm-raised fish are tilapia, salmon, sea bass, catfish, cod, and swai.
Out of all of these, the sales of tilapia have gone up recently and it has become common in aquaponics and aquaculture specifically in Central America, Asia, US, and Mexico. This is because tilapia adapts and grows considerably quicker than other types of fish.
Is consuming farmed fish bad for health?
Farmed fish can actually cause a lot of adverse effects on the health instead of bringing health benefits usually because of the way it is bred and raised in the fish farms. Recent studies on tilapia have shown it can be the reason behind permanent damage to your health.
Farm-raised tilapia is particularly consumed widely because not only it is easily available but also because it is comparatively less expensive than other fish such as salmon. Therefore, many people eat a lot of tilapia thinking it is healthy.
Recently studies on the consumption of tilapia have shown that the fish can cause and worsen inflammation, the root cause of almost all health conditions or diseases, in the body and increase your risk of asthma, heart issues, arthritis and many other problems.
Know more about fundamentals of inflammation here.
If you are planning to increase your intake of fish for more omega-3 fatty acids, it is better to not choose tilapia. A research conducted by Wake Forest University showed that the inflammation caused by tilapia is greater than the inflammation caused by pork bacon or a hamburger.
In addition, various studies on different types of farmed fish have shown that they do not have nutrients similar to the ones in wild fish. Not only are farmed fish low in nutrients and proteins but the omega-3 fatty acids in them are also less usable by the body.
The farm-raised fish can instead have a higher content of omega-6 fatty acids which can make it fattier as well as cause inflammation in the body.
In addition, the feeds used in tilapia farms and other fish farms contain questionable ingredients. It is believed that most of the fish feeds contain chickens and horse feces. Contents such as these cause tilapia to contain a ten times higher amount of carcinogenic pollutants.
Read more on the presence of heavy metals in tilapia here.
The Chinese tilapia is especially known to cause a higher risk of cancer due to the used feed which is said to contain the waste of ducks and pigs.
What is the recent concern about tilapia and fish in general?
The latest study published in the Environmental Pollution journal checked the Lake Apoyo and Lake Managua to see the present mercury levels in them. It was found that about one-fourth of the raised tilapia contained mercury levels much higher than the recommended safe amount.
This makes tilapia and other fish dangerous for health in general and especially for people with poor immunities and pregnant women.
All of these recent concerns about tilapia and other fish show that it is fairly important to know where the fish you are buying is coming from. Keep in mind even the fish raised in freshwater specifically for commercial purposes can be harmful.
It is better to buy organic and wild fish over any other ‘guaranteed’ freshwater fish as they can be as bad as farmed fish.