Catfish: Health Benefits, Nutrients and More
Catfish are one the oldest and most widespread fish species.
In fact, catfish adapt so well to their environment that they thrive worldwide, with the exception of a few places with extreme temperatures.
You’ll regularly see this fish on restaurant menus and at grocery stores, so it’s natural to wonder whether it’s healthy.
Catfish is low in calories and packed with lean protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.
It’s particularly rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fats and vitamin B12.
It can be a healthy addition to any meal, though deep frying adds far more calories and fat than dry heat cooking methods like baking or broiling.
If you’re looking to eat more seafood, catfish is well worth incorporating into your routine.
Catfish may vary in nutrients based on whether it was farmed or caught in the wild.
Farm-raised catfish are often fed a high protein diet that includes grains like soy, corn, and wheat. Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fatty acids, and even probiotics are regularly added to their feed.
In contrast, catfish caught in the wild are bottom feeders, meaning that they eat foods like algae, aquatic plants, fish eggs, and sometimes other fish.
These dietary differences can significantly change their vitamin and mineral makeup.
One study compared the nutrient profiles of wild and farm-raised African catfish. While mature farm-raised fish had the highest levels of amino acids, fatty acids levels varied. For example, the wild catfish contained more linoleic acid but less eicosanoic acid than the farm-raised fish.
A second study of the same breed of African catfish found that the wild fish packed more protein, fat, fiber, and overall calories than farm-raised catfish.
Furthermore, a study in Indian butter catfish noted higher fat contents in the farm-raised fish but the wild fish had higher levels of most minerals except iron, which was significantly elevated in the farm-raised fish.