Whether it’s a red tilapia fish or otherwise, there is a constant battle between fish enthusiasts about these two edibles. Let’s settle the score between salmon and tilapia in today’s essential blog.
Making an Informed Choice: Understanding the Real Cost and Flavor of Tilapia and Salmon
Is tilapia healthy? As a source of lean protein, tilapia is a good choice. It’s fish, and therefore, it also carries all the benefits of all edible fish. However, there are some troubling statistics about tilapia that may be a cause of concern.
For one, tilapia tends to have ten times more toxins than wild-caught fish. If you choose not to eat tilapia, it may be a good idea to steer clear unless you can ascertain that the tilapia you are buying has been caught in the wild and not raised in a fish pen.
As for the essential benefits of eating tilapia versus salmon, here’s what we can say: if you are after more than clean protein, we recommend selecting salmon over tilapia. The main reason why many people eat salmon in the first place is because of its monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Additionally, salmon has great omega-3 fatty acids that are anti-inflammatory and are good for the heart. Winding back to tilapia, tilapia also has omega-3 fatty acids but at much lower levels. Additionally, tilapia has high levels of omega-6 fatty acids.
To the initiated, this might not sound like a bad deal. However, having too many omega-6 fatty acids in your diet can lead to bouts of tissue inflammation and even heart disease. The body has a very delicate balance, and foods like tilapia can cause imbalances. The choice is clear between fish with lots of omega-3 and a fish with more than what you need in terms of omega-6.
Salmon vs. tilapia price:
Salmon is certainly pricier than tilapia. Salmon is more complicated to catch and takes longer to mature, too. Tilapia is a very simple fish that thrives even in brackish water, so the upkeep and maintenance of farm-raised tilapia versus the costs of obtaining salmon from the ocean are different. We suggest looking at the bigger picture instead, so you know what you are actually paying for and why the prices vary so much.
Salmon vs. tilapia taste:
High-quality tilapia will have a very neutral taste that goes well with different recipes. If you are looking for a flavor-forward fish, tilapia is not it. However, variants like king salmon may provide you with richer flavor because of their higher fat content.
Farmed Tilapia: The Contaminant-Ridden Fish in Your Market
Tilapia is the dirtiest fish compared to salmon because of farmed fish’s negative conditions in Asia, where the bulk of exported tilapia come from. There is never enough wild-caught tilapia, so the fillets you see in supermarkets are likely from cramped fish pens.
The Environmental Impact of Tilapia Farming: Why Wild-Caught is the Way to Go
Why should you never eat tilapia? There are several reasons why tilapia is not the healthiest fish to eat, and if you want to be safe about your diet, here are somethings you have to know:
- Tilapia is farmed fish – Generally speaking, farmed fish isn’t that healthy to consume. Farmed fish barely move, they’re stuck in cramped pens, and where there is an overabundance of fish in one location, there is also polluted water and potential for fish disease. Farm-raised tilapia can have ten times as many toxins as tilapia that is caught in the wild.
This warning applies to all kinds of farmed fish, not just tilapia. If you want to focus on getting healthier this year by eating more fish, then the answer is eating more wild-caught fish and staying away from farmed fish.
Unfortunately, even salmon is farmed nowadays, so it may not be easy to obtain the kind of fish you need for a healthier diet. Commercial fish that are sold in supermarkets, always check the package and see if “wild-caught” is indicated. If not, you are holding a sample of penned or farm-raised fish.
- Tilapia harms the environment – Wild tilapia is fine, but raising tilapia in farms can cause the death of entire lakes and other precious bodies of water. Today’s world has made it unethical to consume farm-raised tilapia because of the environmental impact created by unethical fish-farming standards, especially in the poorer countries. What’s more is the more unethical the farming standards, the more toxic or dirtier the fish become, because fish farms are only after one thing, which is to increase production in the shortest possible time, without any care if the population of the fish in the pens are sustainable or not.
- Tilapias have undergone sex-change – You read that right. For decades, tilapias undergo artificial sex-change procedures after they are fed methyltestosterone during their early phases. This is done to make tilapias bigger, heavier, and faster in their development. The use of hormones is common in fisheries and fish markets because the tilapias become bigger and faster and don’t have to work so much to develop sex organs. While fish experts say that the hormones used for tilapia sex-change are mostly harmless, there is mounting evidence that it can cause toxicity in the human liver.
- Tilapia are fed animal feces – In Asia, where most tilapia are farm-raised and then exported to other countries, it is common to feed the fish’s literal animal poop pigs and fowl like chicken. This applies to smaller backyard operations and medium-sized fish farms. In the effort to cut down on resources needed to raise tilapia to full size, managers of fish farms resort to feeding the fish animal feces or detrital protein. While the fish are capable of detoxifying the feces, there are other potentially problematic consequences involved. For example, fish can harbor bacteria and parasites from its diet, and if you eat fish and there are parasites in its flesh, zoonotic transmission becomes possible. That’s why tilapia is not recommended for people with compromised or weakened immune systems in the first place.