Nigerian catfish pepper soup may harbour cancer, killer fats – experts - Uju Ayalogu's Blog for News, Reviews, Articles and More

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Friday 4 December 2015

Nigerian catfish pepper soup may harbour cancer, killer fats – experts

Nigerian catfish pepper soup may harbour cancer, killer fats – experts

Catfish is one of the most popular and readily available fish in Nigeria. In fact, its delicacy – irresistible to many people – is very common at social gatherings.

It tastes great and is affordable when compared to other varieties of fresh fish in the market.

But do you know that the omega 6 fatty acids in catfish can increase your risk of getting blood clots, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and some cancers?

Though doctors say fish is a better and healthier option than meat, they quickly add that not all types of fish are good for the heart.

Nutritionists say that catfish is loaded with bad fat and high cholesterol that encourage clotting of the blood, a condition whereby blood flow is impeded. This may lead to cardiac arrest, thrombosis and, in some cases, heart attacks.

A cardiologist, Dr. Jane Anisulowo, says that farm or home-grown catfish is the worst example in this regard, as it contains more fatty hormones than the ones harvested from natural water.

Anisulowo says, “Fish is better than meat, no doubt. It digests easily and it contains proteins. However, catfish is not really a good option, especially the ones they sell these days, which are cultivated with hormonal feeds that are filled with steroids and other fattening chemicals just to make them profitable. These chemicals are cancerous in nature.

“Also, they contain so much oil that you can almost taste it. Fish, generally, contains oil, but catfish has oil in its skin. That is what makes it so oily and unhealthy.

“It also contains a lot of poly unsaturated fat that does not only make you fat but also settles in the blood stream. That is very dangerous because when blood fails to get to an organ, it fails and suffers paralysis.”

A study conducted by the National Institute of Health in 2012, using over 1000 species of the fish in different water shows that catfish contains a high amount of unfavourable omega-6 fat that causes inflammation in the body.

According to the researchers, three-ounce portion of catfish contains the same amount of bad fats found in red meat.

This is not to say that one should give up eating the fish as catfish contains some nutrients such as Omega3 fatty acids that are good for the body.

Anisulowo says, “If you can get the one from the river, which is rare in most cities, then you may eat it twice a month. But if the only one you can get is the one that is being reared by farmers, you don’t have to eat at all, or just eat it when it is partially smoked. In that way, some of the fats would have been lost in the process. Better still, there are some other species of fish that are oily but they contain good fats and are more nutritious.”

Here are some other species that you can add to your diet:


They are popularly known as Titus fish. The oily meat found on mackerel is its main health benefit. The fish oil, which is also known as omega-3 fatty acid, can be so beneficial that it is used as a supplement.

It lowers triglycerides. High levels of triglycerides in the body have been linked to heart disease and stroke. The most common causes of a high triglyceride level are obesity and poorly maintained diabetes, mainly stemming from an inactive lifestyle.

Some researchers have found out that omega-3 fatty acid is even more effective in reducing heart attacks than some commonly-prescribed drugs.

Mackerel and other fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids are good for the blood. They help to boost blood circulation and lower blood pressure.


Tilapia is a high-quality fish. It has proteins and contains all the essential amino acids your body requires from food diet to help to build proteins. One portion of tilapia cooked using dry heat contains about 26 grammes of protein. The Institute of Medicine recommends that adult men consume at least 56 grammes of protein, adult women consume at least 46 grammes and pregnant and nursing women consume 71 grammes of protein each day. Eating tilapia can help you to achieve that.

It may help in weight control. Tilapia is naturally low in fat, and only contains about 128 calories in each portion. According to a study published in a 2006 edition of “The Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation”, subjects who consumed eight grammes of tilapia each week showed an improved body weight.

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