Eating specific types of wild-caught fish can be remarkably beneficial to your health. Some seafood picks serve as muscle-building protein meals, and some likewise give ample doses of healthy fats like omega-3s. But fish often come with a massive price tag, so consumers manage to go for more affordable choices like swai fish instead.
Many are flocking to swai fish due to its cheaper cost, although there are significant difficulties with swai fish that you necessitate to know. Swai fish costs only around $2 per pound, but it’s much more expensive when you think about what it could be made to your health.
Plus, would you believe that when you spend top dollar for catfish, grouper, flounder, and sole, you are consuming factory-farmed swai?
After you knew about the many farming and health concerns surrounding swai, you may be more thoughtful about what types of fish you choose to eat in the future.
What Is Swai and Where Does It begin?
A relative of the catfish, the swai fish, has grown one of the most popular whitefish in the United States. Even if you have never heard of swai fish, you have eaten it. At about two dollars per pound, this fish is one of the most affordable edible fish (compared with $10-20 per pound for many other popular edible fish kinds).
Swai fish is original to the Mekong River in Southeast Asia. However, most swai fish reach Vietnam, where they are produced in the Mekong Delta. These fish farms are poorly managed, leading to multiple issues. The mass production of these fish not only has environmental values but may be harmful to your health.
This fish goes by several names. It was initially sold as “Asian catfish.” The swai fish (Pangasius hypophthalmus) is closely related to the American catfish (in the family Ictaluridae). However, it is in a different species than American catfish. In 2003, the US FDA stated a law that “catfish” only refers to members of the class Ictaluridae. This has led to a wide variety of swai names and some trouble regarding what exactly swai is.
According to the USDA, one 4-ounce fillet of swai gives nearly:
- 70 calories
- 15 grams protein
- 1.5 grams fat
- 350 milligrams sodium (differs)
- 45 milligrams cholesterol
According to a study conducted at Purdue University, swai (or pangasius) holds 17 milligrams of EPA plus DHA for all 100 grams of fish.
Of course, the components you utilize to prepare and coat swai fillets will break the nutrition content, typically combining more fats, carbs, and sodium.
health benefits of swai fish:
The American Heart Association and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2015-2020) both support eating fish or shellfish at least doubly a week. And while fatty fish, with its more critical omega-3 content, may offer the most energetic shield for the cardiovascular system and the brain, any type of seafood meets under this “seafood twice a week” sunshade. But, other fish can be eaten in place of swai, and they could contribute even more health benefits (as other fish are more leading in nutrients than swai fish).
Various studies have verified that consuming more fish helps defeat the risk of heart disease and contributes to healthier brain health.
Swai could also make a wise choice for people deciding to cut back on calories. Its equivalent protein content can help your body develop muscle, produce essential hormones and enzymes, and raise your energy levels for a much fewer calories than flesh like beef or pork.
Should you eat swai fish or not?
Let us have a look at some of the judgments that will help you judge whether you should eat swai fish or not.
Thinking about huge mercury content:
Various news from several reputed organizations of the world has pointed out the low quality of the water in which swai fish are bred. Research has found significant metals, such as mercury, in swai fish volumes above tolerable consumption levels.
Unsafe fish farming methods in Vietnam:
Swai fish is not picky about what they eat. As a result, they have been given extra foods from restaurants or low-quality fish food in Vietnam. This can make the swai fish poisonous and of low quality.
Extended administration of antibiotic:
Another interest is more than the necessary use of antibiotics in swai fish. As per the news, many swai fishes have grown resistant to a few of the antibiotics used for healing infections in humans. Hence, there is an increased risk of developing antibiotic protection in humans as well if they eat such swai fish.
There are harsh rules and regulations on antibiotic use in marine life in the United States; several antibiotics have been outlawed in fish farming. Unluckily, such a restriction is absent in Vietnam.
High sodium content:
A high sodium content (222-594 mg/100 g) was discovered in swai fishes received from Vietnam, apparently and partially due to the sodium tripolyphosphate (used to maintain moisture). The high sodium content can cause difficulties like high blood pressure.
storage and safety of the food:
SeafoodWatch.org locates swai on its “avoid” list due to its often unpleasant farming methods. Data on chemical and antibiotic use in Vietnamese swai fish is not available but is considered very high.
Vietnamese loads of swai are often discarded in European countries for high levels of antibiotic excess. If you’re buying swai from a well-known source in the United States, the FDA does maintain error on the safety of seafood sold within the country.
Swai is below in mercury than some other fish and seafood. A 2018 study discovered that even when people ate 350 grams of swai per week (more than three meals), it gave only around 30% of their “average weekly intake” of mercury.
Secure handling and storage are essential for any fish. The Food and Drug Administration recommends stocking fish in the refrigerator for no more than two days before eating. Cook fish to an interior temperature of 145 degrees F.
How to cook swai fish?
The tenderness of swai lets it easily take on whatever flavor you may add to it by seasonings, flavorings, or other ingredients. As a firm white fish, it can be cooked similarly to tilapia, catfish, or cod.
Like many varieties of fish, swai bakes well for small amounts of time at medium-to-high temperatures. For a daytime, healthful preparation, try seasoning swai with herbs and spices, such as paprika, parsley, pepper, and garlic, with a drizzle of olive oil. Cook at 375 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes, or until fish peels easily with a fork.
Healthier Fish Alternatives:
Swai isn’t the only likely unhealthy and poisonous fish. So, what options does that leave pescatarian lovers with?
Here’s a division of some healthy fish options:
- Salmon: Wild-caught Alaskan salmon is packed with vitamins B12 and D, which many Americans are defective. Salmon is also sharp brain food. With numerous omega-3 fatty acids, it’ll keep away brain haze and enhance memory. To attach salmon to your diet, try this Blackened Salmon Recipe that’s made with anti-inflammatory flavorings and massaged kale. This Teriyaki Baked Salmon Recipe is also simple to prepare and tasty.
- Sardines: Sardines found in the Pacific are another healthy option that’s easy to discover and add to dishes — and they’re cheap, too. Because they’re comparatively low in the fish food string, sardines don’t suffer from sustainability problems the way other fish do. They reduce swelling and protect bone health.
- Atlantic Mackerel: The nutritional benefit of mackerel fish is right up there with wild-caught salmon. It’s very incredible in protein, omega-3s, and micronutrients. It’s also known to maintain lower blood pressure and strengthen bones.
- Albacore Tuna: Fresh, wild-caught albacore tuna fish is loaded in antioxidants, bound with protein, and may even promote brain function. To avoid larger values of sodium, go for tuna steak instead of canned tuna. Try Tuna Pasta Salad that is made with kalamata olives and cherry tomatoes.
Though studies on swai fish are inadequate, especially compared to more common fish like tilapia and salmon, the knowledge we know is enough to raise some significant concerns.
The possibility of swai fish failing with antibiotic residues and lower standards is only part of the problem. There’s also the point that swai marketed in the U.S. is almost solely from factory farms.
Instead of opting for cheap swai, cling to fish low in contaminants and high in omega-3 fatty acids, like wild-caught goldfish and Pacific sardines.