Catfish are freshwater fish easily identified by their characteristic long barbels, commonly called feelers or whiskers, around the mouth that help them to locate food. They are rich in high quality protein – about 15.6 g of protein per serving – that help the body build lean muscle mass and also improve immune function, in addition to providing energy. This protein also boosts the body’s intake of vitamins, healthy fats and fatty acids.
Catfish is also low in calories and fats, in addition to being rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. One serving provides 220 mg of omega-3 fatty acids and 875 mg of omega-6, both of which play an important role in both heart and cognitive health. Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid that has been found to reduce the incidence of heart disease, as well as a number of other illnesses and conditions, while omega-6 helps reduce symptoms of diabetic neuropathy, rheumatoid arthritis, allergies and high blood pressure, and also eases the symptoms of menopause, in particular breast pain or tenderness, among other health benefits.
Catfish is also a great source of vitamin B-12, providing 40 percent of the daily recommended intake of this vitamin. Vitamin B-12, one of the eight B vitamins, has a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, formation of blood and also helps the body to break down foods into usable energy. It also helps prevent a type of anaemia called megaloblastic anaemia that makes people tired and weak. Catfish may be prepared and served like any other fish and accompanies with ugali, mukimo, rice or mashed potatoes, among other foods, and a side dish of cooked or raw green vegetables.