is basa fish healthy
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Is Basa Fish Healthy? 10 Amazing Health Benefits

Fish is necessary for a healthy, well-balanced diet. They provide protein, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids that lower one’s risk for heart disease. One of the most in-demand fish in Asia is basa fish, a type of fish that is becoming more popular in the US.

But what is basa fish and is basa fish healthy? We’ll answer these questions and more in this article.

What Is Basa Fish?

Basa Fish

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Basa fish (Pangasius bocourti) is a kind of catfish usually found in Southeast Asian countries, particularly in Vietnam. It is also known as the river cobbler fish, Vietnamese cobbler, Pacific dory, bocourti, China sole, white roughy, royal basa, and pangas.

Since it’s part of the catfish family, the basa fish has a flattened and broader head with barbels that look like cat whiskers. This type of fish can also be recognized by its deeply forked tail and heavy, stocky, and stout body. One feature of the basa fish is a white band on its blunt snout.

Adult basa fishes can grow up to 3.9 feet and are a staple in Southeast Asian nations because of their wide availability and lower cost.

Basa fish, usually cooked by baking, broiling, deep-frying, and sautéing, has a milder flavor and a firmer texture compared to the usual channel catfish of the US. It is a more accessible and feasible choice for people who don’t like catfish and that strong fishy smell but like eating it occasionally.

Moist, sweet, and flaky, the tender white flesh of the basa fish is a delicious treat, especially with the right flavor and preparation. Its taste is comparable to that of cod and haddock.

Is Basa Fish Healthy? Why?


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Basa fish is healthy thanks to its impressive nutritional value. It is regarded as a less oily and less fatty fish compared to other single-boned fish. Hence, it’s highly recommended for people who want to eat healthier and those who want to lose weight.

The nutritional value of a 126-gram basa fish is 158 calories, 7 grams of fat, 22.5 grams of protein, and 2 grams of saturated fat. Here are a few more reasons why you might want to add this fish to your diet.

#1. Basa fish is good for your heart.

The fat found in basa fish is mainly made of omega-3 fatty acids. These acids are known for promoting heart and brain health, reducing body inflammation, and can help alleviate the symptoms of some chronic and autoimmune conditions like arthritis, lupus, and Crohn’s disease.

Regular omega-3 fatty acids can reduce your blood pressure and help maintain good cholesterol levels — all crucial for reducing the risk of heart disease.

#2. Basa fish shields your brain health.

Other nutritional substances that basa fish can readily provide are vitamins B2, B12, and D. B2 or riboflavin can help decrease oxidative stress and possible inflammation in your nerves, two conditions that can lead to migraines.

Vitamin B12 plays a vital role in your nervous system. It helps in the steady production of dopamine and serotonin, mood-enhancing neurotransmitters that help you better manage anxiety and depression. At the same time, B12 can also boost memory and focus.

Finally, the vitamin D in basa fish can significantly maintain your cognitive function. This calcium-regulating hormone can decelerate age-relative decline in your rational thinking.

Food for thought: Did you know that fish is a natural mood booster? It can help you manage your depression and even your mood swings better, so getting your regular dose from different kinds of fish is a huge thumbs-up.

#3. Basa fish can support bone health.

Basa fish, like all other white fish, contains potassium and calcium. These two components, alongside Vitamin D, can make your bones healthier and minimize the likelihood of developing osteoporosis.

#4. Basa fish can aid weight loss.

Since basa fish is low-calorie and has generous amounts of protein, it’s a perfect choice if you’re trying to lose weight or need help maintaining your ideal weight. Protein makes you feel full faster and longer while aiding muscle development.

With regular consumption, basa fish can speed up your metabolism and help you lose unwanted fat.

#5. Basa fish can supply essential nutrients to your body.

Potassium and zinc are two nutritional benefits of basa fish. They play a role in healing injured tissues, boosting your immune system, and regulating your body’s electrolyte balance.

Potassium can also boost the functioning of your heart, muscles, and nerves while speeding along the delivery of nutrients to your body’s cells and moving out waste. Zinc, on the other hand, can strengthen your body so it can fight off infections that cause sickness.

#6. Basa fish can promote better eyesight.

Vitamin A is another nutrient found in basa fish. This vitamin can help you maintain optimum vision while ensuring that all the parts of your eyes, like your cornea, are nourished.

You need regular doses of vitamin A for your eyes to remain healthy. A lack of it can lead to blindness. In addition, this vitamin helps keep your eyes properly lubricated.

#7. Basa fish can help you manage depression.

While basa fish won’t prevent depression altogether, you will be in a better position to manage its symptoms because of it. The fish contains as much as five grams of polyunsaturated fat, including omega-3 fatty acids, which help brain health.

A handful of studies have shown that people who didn’t suffer from depression had more omega-3s compared to patients with mood disorders.

#8. Basa fish contains DHA.

Basa fish has DHA or docosahexaenoic acid, another type of omega-3 that can aid in improving attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. It can also decrease the chances of early preterm births among pregnant women.

At the same time, the DHA in basa fish can help minimize the possibility of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

#9. Basa fish is good for building muscle.

If you want to build muscle, you need quality protein in your diet. Basa fish offers this in abundance. Every 4.5 ounces of basa fish has an impressive 22.5 grams of protein so you get all the necessary amino acids in one go.

Because of this, the fish is an excellent choice for aiding muscle growth and repair when combined with a good exercise regimen. While your body will repair your tissues on its own, a healthy lifestyle and diet can do wonders in enhancing how it functions.

#10. Basa fish can improve sleep quality.

Another advantage of having healthy a amount of omega-3 is it helps you sleep better. It supports serotonin production which affects how well and how long you rest. Serotonin is also essential for melatonin, the hormone that is responsible for our sleep-wake cycle.

Additionally, serotonin has been associated with our mood, cognitive abilities, memory, and learning.

Risks of Eating Basa Fish


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Certain risks come with eating too much basa fish. These are mainly due to industrial contaminants that the fish may carry.

These contaminants vary from mercury to polychlorinated biphenyls. When consumed in large quantities, they can cause an accumulation of toxins in your body. The risk of this happening becomes higher when farm-raised basa is consumed. This is because the water is often treated and exposed to drugs and chemicals in the hopes of controlling harmful microbes.

The living conditions of fish that are cultivated and bred are prone to different kinds of infections. So, basa fish can carry germs. Additionally, basa imported from Vietnam can also be contaminated with the Vibrio bacteria, a leading cause of food poisoning.

Similar to other fish and meat, ensuring that the fish is properly cleaned and cooked can mitigate and remove the risks of consuming basa fish.

Controversies Surrounding Basa Fish


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Despite basa’s health benefits, it has become a controversial fish. It was banned in the United States in 2007 due to its alleged health risks.

Several other food safety compliance organizations, like the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and the United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA), have issued warnings about the high levels of mercury that basa fish may contain alongside other drugs. Mercury, for example, is known to cause liver damage.

These concerns can be traced back to how basa fishes are bred. Due to the high demand, the fish are cultivated in contained areas and controlled ponds. To minimize water contamination, the breeders resort to using drugs to manage parasites and germs that can infect fish.

As basa grows and matures, they absorb and become host to these toxins. For health and safety, the importation and consumption of this fish are discouraged in the country.

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