Such fish has become very popular in our country due to its cheapness, taste, ease of preparation. This is tilapia, or tilapia (the telapia variant is wrong). But lately, many have become concerned about the issue of benefits and harms received from eating it as food. Buy this fish or better to bypass it?
Tilapia - junk fish or delicacy?
Before you start talking about the beneficial properties, you need to understand what kind of fish it is. Tilapia is a genus of fish of the cichlid family, living mainly in the warm fresh subtropical waters of Asia Minor. Its flat shape, it resembles a flounder.
This fish attracts with its low price, affordability and, of course, its culinary specialties. Possessing a delicate taste, at the same time, it does not have a pronounced fishy smell, which not everyone likes. In addition, tilapia is very easy to prepare:
- it is not necessary to carve it (it does not have rigid scales, it contains few bones, it is most often sold in stores as a beautiful fillet);
- she quickly roasted without falling apart;
- From this tasty and delicate fish you can cook a wide variety of dishes (more on this later).
However, tilapia is now becoming harder to find on the shelves. This happens because of her dubious reputation. Fish is supplied to us mainly from the countries of Asia and Latin America, where they are engaged in its cultivation. Since tilapia is completely unpretentious (both to the habitat and to food), it is often grown in poor conditions (perhaps even in sewage) and fed with antibiotics and various growth hormones. Although this is a controversial opinion, the fact that tilapia can live in a harmful environment and eat garbage remains a fact. And no one can guarantee that in her meat there will be no substances dangerous for the organism.
Nutritional value, properties
Of course, like other types of fish, tilapia has beneficial properties. First of all, these are valuable dietary qualities: high content of natural protein (with all amino acids) with a relatively small amount of fat and cholesterol. In a hundred grams of this fish about:
- 26 grams of protein
- 3 g fat
- 50 mg of cholesterol,
- 0 carbohydrates.
The caloric content of tilapia is much lower than red meat - 129 kcal / 100 g (of course, you need to understand that, in the fried form, it will already have a higher energy value - approximately 187 kcal). In addition, tilapia is rich in vitamins and minerals, especially phosphorus, rare selenium, iron, magnesium, vitamins B3 and B12. Therefore, we can not say that the meat of this fish does not bring any benefit.
Is tilapia harmful?
But there is no consensus about the absolute safety of tilapia. The fact is that it contains polyunsaturated fatty acids. In a complex combination, they are necessary for our health, as they improve the work of the cardiovascular, digestive systems, supply the body with energy, support metabolism and promote the elimination of toxins. But in order for all these beneficial properties to begin to "act", it is important to keep the correct ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 acids in your diet.
The optimal proportion of their use is from 1: 2 to 1: 4, depending on age. In tilapia meat, the amount of omega-6 is many times higher than the amount of omega-3. This can be considered as a dangerous factor that can harm people with heart disease. After all, excessive consumption of omega-6 causes an increase in blood clotting and, as a result, the risk of blood clots, development of heart attacks and strokes, as well as cancer. This opinion is disputed by the fact that the amount of fat content in tilapia is still quite low and with moderate consumption it cannot cause significant harm.
Opponents of this fish talk about potentially dangerous substances that may be present in its meat. It does not matter whether it was grown artificially or caught in nature. It can contain various toxins, even mercury, because, as mentioned above, the fish is omnivorous and can absorb everything that comes its way.
Therefore, in order to protect oneself against possible risks, it is worthwhile to limit the consumption of tilapia, although it does not make sense to completely abandon it: unless other types of fish grown on farms (such as salmon) are guaranteed not to contain antibiotics? Especially in other countries, for example, in Vietnam, tilapia is still one of the most popular and favorite species of fish.
As a rule, tilapia is sold in the form of a seedless fillet, for which it is loved by the majority of housewives: it is very quick and easy to cook. There are a lot of recipes from this fish, because it lends itself well to any kind of heat treatment and goes well with any side dishes.
For example, you can bake tilapia in the oven with cheese, potatoes and tomato slices, or pre-pickled in olive oil or lemon juice and in a mixture of herbs and garlic.
A quicker version of how to cook tilapia fillets is simply to fry it in a pan (with or without breading) and serve, for example, with basmati rice in sesame sauce.
If you want to cook a dietary dish without extra oil, boil the fish or cook for a couple, adding vegetable garnish and low-fat sour cream.
In addition, tilapia makes excellent fish soups, salads, snacks in the form of rolls.
The main thing when cooking this fish is to remember that due to its low fat content, it can turn out to be dry. Therefore, for its juiciness, it is better to supplement it with various sauces, all the more so due to the neutral taste and smell, tilapia goes well with any of them.
The benefits and possible harm of such fish as tilapia (or, as it is also called, "telapia"), are today a pressing issue of concern to many lovers of its meat. But no matter what they say about this inhabitant of the reservoirs, she will still remain one of the most popular, since her taste is almost irreplaceable.