Footumaha or Tilapia, the second-most popular farmed fish on the planet, is the most abundant species of fish in the two fresh water lakes of Fuvahmulah. People in our island don’t eat this fish. But i have heard that few people have tasted and enjoyed this fish. I remember my father catching tilapia from the lake of our district way back in the 80s. My mom fried the fish and we ate. Tilapia might be the fish that we love to hate. But there can be a lot to love. Here are some amazing facts about this famous fish of the world.
Hold on! To conclude from the information that i read about this fish, i have to say that we lack the “senses” to work for the sake of the people and the nation. Those who possess various types of degrees, or “big” certificates are elevated for the documents that they have- nothing shines out of them. Politicians and governments with these mountains of qualifications try to run or govern the nation. Roar of promises from governments and MPs flutter the earth. But misery looms.
Where is inventiveness and skillfulness? Where are all these qualifications? Where are the promises made by politicians? These elevated people take selfies, tweet, and go fishing. MPs spend weekdays in Colombo, Bangkok and Singapore. They attire expensive clothes and wrist watches. Their pockets and hands are filled with two or three smart phones. That’s it.
May be they are too ignorant or incapable or self-absorbed. In every aspect- whether fisheries, tourism, economic, technological or social perspective- we have failed. We all sit like dead ducks and nothing new, nothing productive, nothing creative or sustainable is happening in this country.
Look at the vast ocean surrounding us- only the Felivaru factory to symbolize productivity or creativity. Why can’t we carry out fish farming? There are dramatic things that can be established simply from the sheer natural resources that we have. It is not just tourists and pole and line fishing. Anyway, leave it and please enjoy these amazing facts and think of yourself. I am not campaigning to farm tilapia as a substitute for rice and flour. Please note that this great fish can live in fresh or salt water. It is the second-most popular farmed fish on the planet, says KevinFitzsimmons, PhD, tilapia researcher and professor in the department of soil, water and environmental science at the University of Arizona. “It can be used in virtually any fish recipe,” he says.
Tilapia has been farm-raised as far back as ancient Egypt, and now such farming occurs in more than 85 countries.
Tilapia is rapidly becoming one of the most popular seafood in the United States, with the National Marine Fisheries Service ranking it the fifth most consumed seafood. In fact, American’s annual consumption of tilapia has quadrupled over the last 4 years, from a quarter pound per person in 2003 to more than a pound in 2007. Researchers predict tilapia is destined to be one of the most important farmed seafood products of the century.
Some Facts About Tilapia Aquaculture
- Tilapia is the common name for nearly a hundred species. Tilapia comes in several colors, but red and black tilapia are the most well-known species. Skinless and boneless Tilapia of any variety cooks completely white, making it an excellent substitute for nearly any white fish, including: sole, flounder, cod, haddock, pompano and grouper. Both types of tilapia can thrive in either fresh or brackish water (mix of fresh and seawater).
- Tilapia ranks as the second most cultivated fish in the world, after carp. Tilapia is one of the most popular farmed fish in the world and its production is increasing.
- Most of the Fresh Tilapia Fillets consumed in the US are produced in Honduras, Ecuador, Colombia, Costa Rica and Brazil and imported fresh daily.
- The US is the largest importer of Fresh Farm Raised Tilapia Tilapia Fillets.
Tilapia is fifth most popular seafood in US with a per capita consumption in 2007 of 1.14 lbs. Consumers widely agree that Fresh Tilapia Fillets are an excellent addition to a healthy diet. Fresh Tilapia fillets low in fat, low calorie, low carbohydrate and are high in protein. Fresh Tilapia fillets are also an excellent source of Phosphorus, Niacin, Selenium, Vitamin B12 and Potassium.
Tilapia is a delicious, lean white fish that has a wide variety of associated health benefits, including its ability to help reduce weight, boost overall metabolism, speed up repair and growth throughout the body, build strong bones, reduce the risk of various chronic diseases, lower triglyceride levels, prevent arthritis, protect against cognitive decline, prevent various types of cancer, reduce signs of aging, boost the health of your hair, and strengthen your immune system.
Knowledge of tilapia’s attractive taste and health benefits stretch all the way back to the ancient Egyptians, who actually had a hieroglyph representing this important fish. They are native to the Nile and North Africa, but they have been extensively farmed throughout Asia as well, and are now a “global” species. Some countries consider them to be invasive species, as they are very adaptive and can unbalance fragile ecosystems if they are accidentally introduced. There were more than 1.5 million tons of tilapia farmed and harvested in the US alone in 2005, and that number is expected to at least double by 2015.
As food, they are highly prized, but somewhat controversial, due to the fact that they are natural scavengers ofdetritus and toxic materials in the water they live in. Environmentally, this is beneficial, as they purify water and reduce oxygen waste, but as a culinary attribute, this is not always a good thing. You should only buy tilapia from established and reputable sources who farm these fish in clean, healthy environments. They can be eaten in a variety of dishes and soups, and since they are well-known throughout the world, they have become an essential culinary aspect of many cultural cuisines. Let’s look a bit closer at some of the nutritional components of tilapia that make it such an important element in our diet.
Nutritional Value of Tilapia
Tilapia is highly valued as a seafood source due to its many beneficial qualities, which are attributed to its wealth of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, including significant amounts of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, phosphorous, potassium, vitamin B12, niacin, vitamin B6, and pantothenic acid. Below you will find a more details explanation of the health benefits of tilapia.
Health Benefits of Tilapia
Growth and Development: One of the most important aspects of tilapia is its impressive protein content, making up more than 15% of our daily requirement in a single serving. Protein is an essential part of our diet, particularly animal proteins, because they can be enzymatically broken down into composite amino acids and reassembled into usable proteins in the human body. Protein is directly linked to proper growth and development of organs, membranes, cells, and muscles. It is particularly important that children consume adequate amounts of protein to ensure that they develop properly. They also are necessary for muscle growth, cellular repair, and proper metabolic activity of numerous organ systems.
Weight Loss: Unlike many other animal products, fish like tilapia are high in protein but low in calories and fats. This can be a good way to reduce your caloric intake, while still giving your body all of the necessary nutrients it needs to function properly. Fish is often turned to as a dietary option for people trying to lose weight, without starving themselves with crash diets.
Prevents Prostate Cancer: Like many types of fish, tilapia has a very high content of selenium. The health benefits of selenium are impressive, and areantioxidant in nature. Studies have directly linked selenium intake to a reduction in the risk of prostate cancer, as well as various heart conditions. Additional research is being done on the impact of tilapia’s selenium on other types of cancer. Antioxidants like selenium are famed for their ability to reduce free radical activity in the body, thereby lowering the chances of oxidative stress on all the organ systems, and the mutation of healthy cells into cancerous ones.
Heart Health: Tilapia is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been directly linked to lowering cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels in the human cardiovascular system. Omega-3 fatty acids neutralize the impact of omega-6 fatty acids. There is some controversy about fish in general having high levels of dangerous LDL cholesterol, but studies have shown that the beneficial effects of the omega-3 fatty acids outweigh the risks of omega-6 fatty acids also found in tilapia. Omega-3 fatty acids help to prevent atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. The potassium found in tilapia is also a vasodilator, and reduces blood pressure, which is an additional boost to heart health.
Brain Health: Both the potassium and omega-3 fatty acids found in tilapia have been connected to boosting brain power and increasing neurological function. Potassium increases oxygenation to the brain and is essential for proper fluid balance throughout the body, which facilitates nervous response and nutrient deposition in appropriate parts of the body, including the brain.
Premature Aging: Selenium is known as an antioxidant, and it can actually rejuvenate or stimulate vitamin E and C, both of which improve the quality and health of your skin. Therefore, the more than 20% of daily selenium that tilapia provides makes it a very good food source for improving the health and appearance of your skin by stopping the free radical damage. This means a reduction in wrinkles, sagging, age spots, and other signs of aging.
Immune System and Thyroid Function: A final beneficial application of selenium is for the immune system. It can help boost the activity of white blood cells, which defend the body against toxins and foreign bodies. Furthermore, selenium plays a vital role in the regulation of the thyroid gland, which controls many of our hormonal functions. Proper functioning the thyroid gland guarantees a well-balance metabolism and proper organ function and chemical reactions throughout the body.
A Few Words of Caution: As mentioned earlier, since tilapia have a natural penchant for clearing up toxins in their habitats, some of those toxins can be absorbed into their bodies. Therefore, it is important to purchase tilapia farmed from US fisheries or from areas of the world where strict regulation of fishery quality is followed. Also, since there are a significant amount of omega-6 fatty acids, people with preexisting heart conditions should be careful about eating too much tilapia. Other than that, enjoy this delicious little whitefish!
Catfish and tilapia: Healthy or harmful?
Recipes for Healthy Living
There’s an interesting discussion in this month’s “Journal of the American Dietetic Association.” What it boils down to is this: Is the fatty acid mix in catfish and tilapia healthy or harmful? The debate has even reached the popular press. Why all the fuss?
First off, since 2000, catfish and tilapia rank as two of the most popular fish consumed in the United States thanks mainly to their taste and relatively low expense. And both contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Consumption of these types of fatty acids is thought to be associated with reduction in blood pressure and reduced risk for certain cancers, inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, and even mental decline.
You may not have heard so much about a second ingredient they contain, omega-6 fatty acids. Like omega-3s, these are polyunsaturated and help lower blood cholesterol levels, however they are thought to play a role in clotting function, are inflammatory and susceptible to oxidation — thereby possibly increasing risk for blood clots, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and cancers.
The National Institutes of Health funded study by Weaver and colleagues looked at the favorable omega-3 fatty acid content and unfavorable omega-6 contents of commonly eaten fish and found that while catfish and tilapia contain both, they contain a high amount of unfavorable omega-6 fat.
They report that a 3-ounce portion of catfish or tilapia contains 67 and 134 milligrams respectively of the bad fat (the same amount of 80 percent lean hamburger contains 34 milligrams, and bacon 191 milligrams).
Does this mean you should give them up? No! The rebuttal by Harris is in the same journal. He says the logic of judging fatty fish by the amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fat contents is flawed. Governmental and professional organizations haven’t used such a ratio for years.
He also says that to think that eating catfish or tilapia — because of its high omega-6 content — is more risky in terms of heart disease than eating bacon or hamburger is “flawed.”
My take? I’m going to continue to eat fish — at least twice weekly. I’m going to choose a variety of fatty fish — including tilapia and catfish along with others especially high in the good fats such as salmon, tuna and mackerel.