Tilapia is a white fish, easily available at an affordable cost. Depending on your taste buds, If you don’t like fishy seafood, Tilapia is very mild and usually assumes the flavor of the sauce you cook it in.
Tilapia is an excellent source of protein; in 100 gm, it has 26 gm of protein & only 128 calories. It has other nutrients like vitamins & minerals like B vitamins, phosphorus, potassium, and selenium.
According to the Economic Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (ERS/USDA), about 112 million Americans ate Tilapia in 2021. This represents a 2% increase from 2020. Tilapia is the fifth most popular fish in the United States, after salmon, tuna, shrimp, and cod.
Tilapia does not have omega-3 fatty acids compared to other fish like salmon. The comparison goes in such a way in 100gm of Tilapia, about 200 milligrams of omega 3 is present, as in salmon, it has 2000 milligrams.
Is Tilapia Good For You?
Tilapia is a popular freshwater fish that is widely consumed around the world. Regarding its nutritional profile, Tilapia offers several benefits, but there are also some considerations.
Nutritional Benefits of Tilapia:
Lean Protein: Tilapia is an excellent source of lean protein, making it a good option for individuals looking to increase their protein intake without consuming excessive amounts of fat. A 3.5-ounce serving of Tilapia provides about 26 grams of protein.
Rich in Nutrients: Tilapia provides essential nutrients like selenium, vitamin B12, phosphorus, and niacin, which are important for various bodily functions, including metabolism and cellular health.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: While not as high as in fatty fish like salmon, Tilapia contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health and may help reduce inflammation. A 3.5-ounce serving of Tilapia provides about 1.5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids.
Low in Calories: Tilapia is relatively low in calories compared to other protein sources, making it suitable for those watching their calorie intake.
Low mercury: Tilapia is low in mercury, a toxin that can harm human health.
Moreover, Tilapia is a relatively inexpensive fish, making it a budget-friendly option for many people.
Is Tilapia Bad For You?
Too much eating Tilapia could be bad for you. Here are some reasons why you should not consume Tilapia.
1. Tilapia is Farmed Raised
Most tilapia come from the farm. Tilapia is one of the hardest types of fish. They can eat almost anything. Farmers feed tilapia things like pig and chicken poop (1). The diet consists of corn & soy, which helps to lose weight easily.
Moreover, the farming practices of some tilapia producers might lead to higher levels of contaminants, such as antibiotics, pesticides, and heavy metals.
It is essential to choose Tilapia from reputable sources.
2. Omega-6 to Omega-3 Ratio
Like many farmed fish, Tilapia can have a higher ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids are highly controversial and can be harmful and increase inflammation if eaten excessively.
Health issues are dangerous for people with heart disease, arthritis, asthma, allergies, and immune disease (2).
However, this can vary depending on the Tilapia’s diet and farming conditions.
3. Tilapia can increase the risk of cancer
Tilapias are often farmed; they may have up to 10 times more carcinogens than other types of fish. This is directly linked to what the farmers feed Tilapia.
Dioxin is one of the dangerous compounds found in Tilapia. It takes the body several years to flush out this toxin. This means that dioxin takes a long time to damage your body (3).
4. Lack of DHA and EPA:
Tilapia contains omega-3 fatty acids in the form of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), which the body needs to convert into DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid).
This conversion process could be more efficient so that Tilapia may provide a different level of DHA and EPA than fish higher in these fatty acids.
How to Tell if Tilapia is Bad?
Here are some signs that how to know if tilapia is bad
- Sour or “fishy” smell: Fresh Tilapia should have a mild, slightly sweet smell if it has a strong, sour, or “fishy” odor.
- Opaque color: Fresh Tilapia should be a translucent pinkish-white color. If it’s opaque or gray, it’s not fresh.
- Sticky or slimy texture: Fresh Tilapia should have a firm but slightly springy texture. If it feels sticky or slimy, it’s not fresh.
- Freezing burn: If Tilapia has been frozen, it may develop freezer burn. This will appear as whitish or grayish-brown dry patches on the surface of the fish. Freezing burn doesn’t necessarily mean the fish is bad but it will affect the taste and texture.
If you see any of these signs, it’s best to discard the Tilapia. Eating spoiled Tilapia can cause food poisoning, leading to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and other unpleasant symptoms.
How Long is Tilapia Good in the Fridge
Tilapia will last 1-2 days in the refrigerator if stored below 4˚C/39˚F. Consuming the fish within this timeframe is essential to ensure its freshness and safety for consumption. After this period, the fish may have spoiled, even if there are no clear signs of spoilage yet.
For longer storage, freezing is the best option. In a freezer kept consistently at 0˚C/32˚F, Tilapia can be stored indefinitely. However, due to potential temperature fluctuations in most household freezers, it is recommended not to keep Tilapia frozen for more than 6-9 months, and ideally not beyond 12 months to maintain its quality.
Leaving fish, including Tilapia, on the countertop is not advisable as it can rapidly spoil when exposed to temperatures above 4˚C/39˚F. At room temperature (around 25˚C/77˚F), fish should not be left out for more than 70 minutes, with an absolute maximum of 90 minutes. It allows fish to sit at room temperature for longer, increasing the risk of rapid spoilage, which can lead to severe gastrointestinal illness or other health issues if consumed.
To ensure the safety and quality of Tilapia and other fish, it’s best to handle and store them properly, following recommended temperature guidelines, and consume them within the recommended timeframes.
How Long is Cooked Tilapia Good for in the Fridge
Cooked Tilapia is good in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. It is important to store cooked Tilapia properly in the fridge to prevent it from spoiling. Here are some tips for storing cooked Tilapia in the fridge:
- Wrap the cooked Tilapia tightly in plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container. This will help to prevent the Tilapia from drying out or absorbing other strong odors from the fridge.
- Store the cooked Tilapia in the coldest part of the fridge. The ideal temperature for storing cooked Tilapia is 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
- Store cooked Tilapia for 3 to 4 days at maximum. After 3 to 4 days, the cooked Tilapia may spoil and become unsafe to eat.
If you do not use the cooked Tilapia within 3 to 4 days, you can freeze it. Frozen cooked Tilapia can be stored for up to 3 months. When ready to use the frozen cooked Tilapia, thaw it in the fridge overnight. Do not thaw cooked Tilapia at room temperature, as this can increase the risk of bacterial growth.
Tilapia Internal Temp
Tilapia is considered done when it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C). This temperature is important because it ensures that harmful bacteria are killed, making the fish safe to eat.
Cooking Tilapia to this temperature ensures that any harmful bacteria in the fish are destroyed, making it safe for consumption. At 145°F (63°C), the Tilapia will be cooked with a tender and flaky texture.
Whether you’re grilling, baking, pan-frying, or broiling Tilapia, always monitor the internal temperature to achieve a safe and delicious result. Remember to cook the fish sparingly, as it may result in a dry and less flavorful dish.
Frozen Tilapia is available in U.S. supermarkets and is imported from Asia. It is the cheapest way to buy Tilapia.
Buying fresh Tilapia means you will get higher quality & less damage.
There is no completion to eat Tilapia; eating seafood like salmon is a much better option. It helps boost your brain and fight inflammation; you also get the required nutrients, protein, and omega-3 in your balanced diet.
If eating Tilapia for better health, choosing high-quality fish or a cod liver oil supplement is better.
Eating Tilapia won’t kill you, but it will not give you better health.
Raheela Hasan is a health and nutrition specialist with a rich experience of over six years in clinical nutrition and natural healing. Her venture ‘FITRITION’ is the culmination of all her experience, learning and is committed to optimum nutrition solutions.