Health Benefits of Catfish

we can list a lot of health benefits for catfish. Catfish is low in caloryand high in healthy fats, anti-inflammatory omega-3s, and lean protein. Along with other health benefits, catfish helps our body work well because it is a great source of essential nutrients and especially vitamin B-12. The B-12 in catfish helps with normal red blood cell formation and mental health.3 oz of catfish provides just over 100% of the dietary reference intake(DRI) of B-12. Eating 3 oz of catfish helps the body produce more energy, grow skin and nerve cells, and support mental health by providing it with 16% DRI of thiamine and 13% niacin.The minerals in 3 oz of catfish also keeps the bones, muscles, heart, and the brain healthy by providing the body with 21% DRI of magnesium and 8% of potassium as well as small amounts of zinc and iron.

3 oz of catfish provides the body with the dietary reference intake(DRI) of:
Vitamin DRI % Mineral DRI %


Just over 100















Nutritional Values of Catfish



Scientific Name:



Depending on the species, it ranges from Silver, grey, white, tan, green or yellow

Sizes and Shapes:

About 1.2–1.6 m or 3.9–5.2 ft. long.catfish longer than 2 meters or 6.6 ft are rare. Most have a tube-shaped body with a flat abdomen


Sweet, mild


206 Kcal per cup

Major nutrients:

Vitamin B-12 (165.83%)

Lysine (71.71%)

Tryptophan (71.59%)

Isoleucine (70.16%)

Threonine (67.67%)

Health benefits:

-is heart-healthy

-cleanses the blood vessels

-keeps joints and eyes healthy

-protect lungs

-helps with weight loss and depression

-supports skin, brain and digestivehealth

-improves memory

-supports bone and teeth formation

Catfish are scientifically known as Siluriformes. They are a various group of fish that have fins supported by thin bony rays. More than 3000 species of catfish are scattered in all continents except for Antarctica. Catfish lives in freshwater ecosystems such as rivers and streams but some species of catfish can also live in saltwater and caves. Aquaculture farmers choose this type of fish to farm the most because people eat catfish as a specialty food around the world. Overfishing and water pollution are two of the reasons that some types of catfishsuch as Mekong catfish are highly in danger of extinction.

Catfish have specific features such as smooth, slightly flat, and long whiskers sticking out from around their mouth. Catfish have no scale; instead, their bodies are covered in a slippery mucus to protect them from bacteria when out of the water and to breathe through the skin In some species. In some species of the Siluriformes order, a tough layer of bony plates or scutes covers the body of catfish to protect them from predators. Catfish are mostly identified by their wide flat heads and long whiskerscalled barbels that hang out from their mouth.

Catfish mostly live in freshwater, but there are also saltwater catfish called hogfish.Catfish get their name from their barbels, which are feelers that look like whiskers and made of skin. These sensitive feelers or barbels help the catfish search and find food with their senses of touch and taste. Catfish are low in fat and have a mild and firm skin. Their skin must be peeled off before cooking because it is inedible. Various suitable ways to cook catfish include steaming, poaching, baking, and frying. You can make catfish stew or add it to other seafood stews for a much more delicious taste.

Appearance of Catfish

Unlike most fish, catfish have no scales. They usually have fins with fat tissues. Catfish have spine-like rays at the front of their back and chest fins. There are 2 spines on the back fins in most catfish species. The first spine is very short. As we said before, catfish have no scales and their bodies are covered in bony plates. Normally, catfish have up to 4 pairs of barbels on the head. 2 of these barbels are located on the chin, one on the nose and the other one on the upper jaw, but sometimes catfish may have no nose and chin barbels. Except for the  Diplomystidae species, there are no teeth on the upper jaw.

Nutritional value

Besides a sweet and mild taste, there are many nutrients, vitamins, minerals,and amino acids in 143 gram ofcatfish including:

  • Vitamin B-12: 3.98 µg
  • Protein: 26.37 g
  • Phosphorus: 353 mg
  • Total Fat: 10.28 g
  • Selenium: 14.2 µg
  • Vitamin B5: 16 mg
  • Vitamin B3: 3.644 mg
  • Choline: 112.5 mg
  • Vitamin B6: 0.253 mg
  • Sodium: 170 mg
  • Tryptophan: 0.315 g
  • Threonine: 1.191
  • Isoleucine: 1.173 g
  • Leucine: 1.996 g
  • Lysine: 2.398 g
  • Methionine: 0.771 g
  • Cystine: 0.28 g



  1. Catfish Is a Healthy and Powerful Food

Low calories and high levels of essential nutrients and vitamins make catfish a great and healthy food choice.


  1. Catfish Contains Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Catfish has a white and almost fat-free meat. It is relatively lean, and has only small amounts of fat. Because catfish is low in fat, it is usually not considered a source of omega-3s or oily fish. Although other oily fish have more omega-3, there is 600 mg of omega-3 fatty acids in one cooked fillet of catfish and because of this catfish is considered a valuable source of healthy omega-3s. Because omega-3 is an essential fatty acid or EFA, we need to eat foods high in this healthy fat. The omega-3 in catfish is the most bioavailable form too: EPA and DHA. Besides, omega-3s are especially important for mental and cardiovascular health.


  1. Catfish Has a Low Amount of Mercury

In recent years, there have been a lot of concerns over human poisoning with heavy metals in fish and other seafood with mercury as the leading cause of worry. The main reason for methyl mercury exposure is contaminated fish. Some fish like shark, swordfish, and some types of tuna have the most amount of mercury. On the other hand, catfish has the least amount of mercury.

According to a research run by the FDA from 1990 until 2012, catfish has only average mercury levels of 0.024 PPM. This makes catfish the specie with the lowest amount of mercury among other commercially popular fish. People often say other fish like herring and mackerel are healthier options because they have low mercury, but the truth is that catfish have much lower levels of mercury than both of these fish which makes catfish a safer and healthier source of seafood. Mercury can gradually increase in the body and according to researches, it may in turn increase the risk of neurotoxicity, and create problems in babies' development.


  1. Catfish is a Rich Source of Protein

The key to building and keeping lean muscle mass is protein. It is also responsible for producing enzymes and hormones that have an impact on how the body works. We can get some protein from almost any food, but not every food is a powerful source of protein. Compare this: To get 25 grams of protein from the delicious bacon, we need to eat about 30 gr of fat and 380 calories. To get the same 25 gr of protein from another protein-rich food like lentils, we need to eat 56 gr of carbohydrate and 330 calories. And none of these 2 foods are high in protein and low in calory. On the other hand, catfish is a low calory and high protein seafood with 26.41 gr of protein, and only 150 calories. There is 18.5 gr of protein and only 105 calories in 100 gr of catfish. If we look at these numbers again, we can see that with low levels of fat and high amounts of protein, catfish is recognized as an almost pure source of protein.


  1. Catfish Is Extremely High in Vitamin D

Because we mainly get Vitamin D from sunlight, this vitamin is known as the” sunshine vitamin”. There aren’t a lot of foods that provide our bodies with vitamin D, but we can get this essential vitamin by eating meats of some animals. Wild fish is one of these great sources of vitamin D. A 143 gr serving of wild fish fillet provides 180% of the daily need for vitamin D.  Vitamin D is very important for a healthy body. It boosts the immunity system. Studies show that having balanced levels of vitamin D may lower the risk of multiple chronic illnesses. A great way to boost vitamin D levels is to eat fish such as catfish.Providing the body with natural food sources of vitamin D is especially important for people who live in places where they don’t have enough sunny days.


  1. Catfish Is Rich in B12 and Other B Vitamins

We can add another health benefit to catfish.Catfish is famous as a rich source of B vitamins, especially vitamin B-12. One of the most important vitamins our diets lack these days is vitamin B12. Some groups of people, such as children, pregnant women, old people, and people on a vegetarian diet are especially at more risk of developing B12 deficiency. It is estimated that up to 25% of old people have a vitamin B-12 deficiency. As we saw in the nutritional value table, just one fillet of catfish provides the body with 69% of the daily recommended B12 intake. Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin, and it is a very important nutrient for red blood cell formation, mental health, and DNA synthesis.

There are 2 types of catfish available:

  • Wild-caught catfish
  • Farm-raised catfish

Farm-raised fish, in general, have low levels of vitamin D. Both of these types of catfish have nutritional and health benefits, but wild-caught catfish are richer in some vitamins such as vitamin D. Although catfish provides the body with only 3.6% of the daily recommended vitamin D intake according to the NCC Food and Nutrient Database, butresearches show that wild-caught fish still has higher levels of vitamin D compared to farm-raised fish. Besides, according to the USDA Food and Nutrient Database, farmed catfish has other nutritional values such as:

  • 25% more calories than wild-caught catfish
  • Lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids
  • Higher levels of omega-6


Final Thoughts

Overall, catfish is a powerhouse for several essential nutrients such as B12 for a healthy brain and teeth-and-bone-loving vitamin D. not to mention a good source of omega-3 fatty acids even though it is low in fat. Besides, catfish are available around the world and have a low price. You can certainly enjoy a delicious and healthy meal by making a catfish stew or adding them to another seafood stew.