LifestyleWe often choose it, and it's one of the worst fish. It contains a lot of heavy metals

We often choose it, and it's one of the worst fish. It contains a lot of heavy metals

Tilapia, along with panga, is among the fish with high contamination of heavy metals.
Tilapia, along with panga, is among the fish with high contamination of heavy metals.
Images source: © Adobe Stock

9:04 PM EDT, October 20, 2023

It is one of the most frequently eaten fish in Poland. Its broad availability and low cost make it an attractive choice for the shopping cart, but what's invisible to the naked eye is even more important. It appears that the well-known tilapia can equal the notorious panga in terms of toxic substance content.

The pangasius is at the top of the infamous list of fish with the highest content of toxins. However, it's being quickly overtaken by the well-known, likable, and affordable tilapia. Even though the meat of this fish is lean and firm, it affects the body worse than bacon or a hamburger. Why?

Is it worth eating tilapia?

The Sea Fisheries Institute - National Research Institute conducted research on the presence of undesirable substances in marine and farmed fish. Scientists found that in species imported from Vietnam and China, including tilapia meat, a higher concentration of lead was detected compared to other fish.

But that's not all. The tilapia also contained mercury and cadmium, experts say, albeit in low quantities. To add insult to injury, scientists from Wake Forest University have shown that the ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in tilapia meat is very unfavorable (too little of the former, too much of the latter). What can be concluded from this?

"Such a combination can potentially be a dangerous source of diseases for patients with heart disease, it can also foster joint inflammation, be a factor causing asthma and other allergic and immunological diseases"- comment on the results of the research scientists for sciencedaily.com.

Therefore, it's worth remembering to never buy frozen tilapia imported from Vietnam, China, Indonesia, or Honduras. So, should we eliminate this species from our menu once and for all?

Why is it not worth eating tilapia?
Why is it not worth eating tilapia?© Pixabay

Where to buy tilapia?

Tilapia is naturally found in Africa, but the ones that end up in Polish stores often come from farms in polluted waters of Asia. However, it's worth mentioning that tilapia farms also exist in Europe, and the fish from these European farms have been found to have low levels of mercury contamination.

If we are interested in buying tilapia, we should choose fish from certified farms (preferably Polish) or European organic, sustainable farms with a closed cycle of filtered water, where the fish are not fed artificial feed. It is best to buy fresh tilapia whole or in fillet form. However, it is worth noting that such fish will be more expensive than those widely available.

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