There was a time about 50 years ago where almost nobody was eating tilapia on a regular basis. Due to the ability to farm tilapia and an increase in catching wild ones, tilapia has exploded in popularity. For nearly two decades now, tilapia has been in the top five of most consumed fish in the United States. Not only does tilapia taste good, but it’s also very easy to prepare and the price makes it an appealing choice at the supermarket.
There has been some debate as to how much nutritional impact tilapia has, but the contents have proven to get better over the years thanks to increased technology in farming. There’s also a low level of mercury compared to other seafood, which is a big positive for people that are actively watching those numbers. How does that translate into your health overall? Let’s take a look at the nutritional value of tilapia, and the proven health benefits it can bring.
Nutrition of Tilapia
Tilapia is one of those foods that’s an absolute powerhouse when it comes to nutrition. You’re getting just over 100 calories for each three ounce serving in tilapia, and almost none of that comes from fat. There also aren’t any carbohydrates in tilapia, and nearly one half of your daily recommendation for protein. Tilapia isn’t very high in cholesterol when eaten in moderation, though there are 48 milligrams in each three ounce serving.
Out of the vitamins and minerals, you’re getting more than 20 percent of your recommendation for vitamin B12, and two thirds of your selenium daily value. Phosphorus and niacin are also around 20 percent, while others around the 10 percent mark include thiamin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, magnesium and potassium. Tilapia is certainly one of those seafoods that fall into the lean meat category, and even adds some of those essential omega-3 fatty acids that your body needs.
One of the more successful diets out there, according to researchers, is the Mediterranean Diet. This diet incorporates a lot of seafood as the staple meat that you should be eating more often. Tilapia is involved with this diet because of the nutritional value. While there aren’t too many vitamins compared to some seafood, tilapia is incredibly low in calories and doesn’t have much in the carbs or fats department.
Those that are craving meat will find a huge benefit in tilapia since it should satisfy that hunger. Not only that, but tilapia is quite high in protein, with about 50 percent of your daily recommendation. That protein content is going to help you build muscle quickly, whether you are lifting at the gym or not. More muscle on your body allows for more calories to be burned while resting and the ability to burn more fat.
Seafood is not only often associated with losing fat, but it’s also good for treating your brain. Tilapia is included on the list of seafoods that are good for your brain, because it does contain fatty acids that you need. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help prevent age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s that are all too common in the elderly. It can even help you in your day-to-day brain function by improving memory and response time.
Potassium is another mineral that plays a huge part in your brain’s health, as it increases the amount of oxygen in the blood that travels up to the brain. Overall, this helps your central nervous system to function more efficiently, which is something that you’ll really need as you get older. Too many people don’t think about their brain health until it’s too late, so start eating more foods with omega-3 fatty acids as soon as you can!
You need to take care of your bones as early as you can, so that you don’t have more problems later in life. One of the unfortunate parts of aging is that your bones start to lose strength and density, which can lead to problems such as arthritis and osteoporosis. You should be eating more foods such as tilapia to alleviate these problems, as they contain a significant source of minerals like phosphorus.
While tilapia doesn’t have much calcium, taking supplements (or drinking more milk) along with eating tilapia will strengthen your bones. Research has said that, when combined, the two minerals reduce your chances of osteoporosis tremendously, even if you’re past the age of 60 years old. It’s recommended that you’re getting around 700 milligrams of phosphorus each day.
Heart to Heart
Omega-3 fatty acids are going to be great for your heart, as they have been shown to reduce your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. While it doesn’t have too much effect on HDL (good) cholesterol levels, it’s good to achieve a balance. Tilapia can also help you to reduce your blood pressure because of the omega-3, reducing your chances of heart disease and struck.
Eating a diet that’s filled with seafood will also help you feeling and looking good on the outside. Tilapia has some strong antioxidants that will allow your body to fight off free radicals, which can attack your skin and cause signs of aging such as wrinkles. Though not too high in vitamins, there is at least a decent source of skin-friendly vitamins such as vitamins C and E that help to promote elasticity and a glowing complexion.
Selenium is the mineral that you’ll find quite a bit of in each serving of tilapia. This mineral also helps reduce signs of aging by acting as an antioxidant. Selenium assists with thyroid function, too, so you’ll be slimmer and glowing when eating more tilapia in your diet. It’s quite impressive what selenium can do, yet it’s not talked about too often.
Summing it Up
There are some people out there that say that tilapia is one of the worst seafoods out there, but that’s not quite true. Though it doesn’t have the same nutritional value as some other seafoods, it does have its benefits. In terms of lean meats, you’ll want to mix it up, and tilapia is certainly fine to include every now and then. Tilapia doesn’t have an ideal omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids ratio. Too many omega-6 fatty acids can lead to heart problems, but eating a healthy amount can actually help you control cholesterol.
The vitamins found in tilapia aren’t quite high, which is pretty common among most types of meat. Tilapia is fine when you include a few ounces every week, and eat an overall healthy diet filled with fruits and vegetables that give you the necessary vitamins. If you’re looking for something that’s low in calories, carbs and fat while being high in protein, tilapia is a fine way to go. Not only is it easy to find, but tastes pretty good, so enjoy tilapia each week!