Health Benefits Derived from Catfish Consumption

Well let’s talk about fish

A Fish is a cold-blooded animal that has fins and a backbone, it is a scaly-skinned vertebrate that swims in water and breathes using gills. “vertebrate” means they have a skeleton with a spine. A fish flaps its tail to swim in the water, instead of legs they have fins to help them stay upright and steer.

Fins are appendages used by the fish to maintain its position, move, steer and stop. They are either single fins along the centerline of the fish, such as the dorsal (back) fins, caudal (tail) fin, and anal fin, or paired fins, which include the pectoral (chest) and pelvic (hip) fins. Fishes such as catfish have another fleshy lobe behind the dorsal fin, called an adipose (fat) fin. The fins are supported by horny or bony rays and are covered in the skin without scales.

There are many species of fish, we will be talking about a special kind of fish…


Catfish (Order Siluriformers) are a diverse group of ray-finned fish. A Catfish is a distinctive type of fish that has whiskers protruding from the area around the mouth. They also have external spines near their fins. It is known that catfish do not have scales; their bodies are often naked. In some species, the mucus-covered skin is used in cutaneous respiration. This is a type of respiration that is different from the one that takes place in gills. This one involves an exchange of gases through the skin.

As a defense, the catfish uses a pair of these spines that may be locked into place so that they stick outwards, which can inflict severe wounds.

Three species of catfish are:

  • Blue catfish
  • Channel catfish
  • Flathead catfish

Blue catfish (lctalurus furcatus), has a forked tail and is sometimes very similar to channel catfish. The number of rays in the anal fin is typically 30-35 and colouration is usually slate blue on the back, shading to white on the belly. Blue catfish are primarily large river fish, occurring in main channels, river systems. They tend to move upstream in summer in search of cooler temperature and downstream in the winter in order to find warmer water. Like the channel fish, the bluefish is considered an excellent fish. It is unspotted, slate grey on the upper sides and back. They have white bellies, very easy to spot. They live in rivers, lakes, reservoirs, etc.

The egg gets hatched in a week and is guarded by the male for about a week at the nest site then they swim away to be on their own. Blue catfish are considered scavengers and predator fish, they are fast growers and have a life span between 20 to 30 years. They can be caught in very deep or shallow water depending on the time of the year.

Channel Catfish:  These typically spawn in late spring and early summer when water temperature reach 75 degrees. They are mostly found in rivers, lakes, large streams and reservoirs with low or moderate current. They have a deeply forked tail similar to bluefish but the colouring is much different than that of a blue catfish. Because of their coloring, they are often confused by inexperienced anglers with the flathead catfish, they also have a protruding upper jaw.

Channel fish has an olive-brown to slate in color and with shades of blue and grey at times on its sides. It has silvery-white or white bellies. The anal fin has 24-29 rays. The eggs are guarded by the male channel catfish at the bottom of the nest. Adult channel catfish are omnivorous they feed on insects, mussels, fish, plants, etc., channel catfish reach sexual maturity in 3 to 6 years.


 Flathead catfish: These are also called pied cat, App, opelousa catfish, yellow cat, Appaloosa catfish, etc., as their names imply they have a flat head. It has no scales, it has whiskers around the mouth and long sharp spores on the back and sides. It has a dark olive and yellow colouring skin. The heads are very broad, flattened, and often look like that of a shovel that has been turned over. They are typically pale yellow to light brown on their backs and sides. Their bellies are usually light cream colour or pale yellow colour. The spawning season runs typically from May through August when water temperatures are between 75 and 80 degrees. The female fish lay 1200 eggs for every pound of her body weight.

Catfish are not aggressive. People stung by catfish are usually fishing or bathing when they make contact with a catfish, usually by stepping on it or handling the fish after it has been caught.

Symptoms of a catfish sting

Severe pain and inflammation occurs at the site of the sting.

Treatment of a catfish sting

  • The wound should be scrubbed and irrigated with fresh water.
  • The wound should not be taped or sewn together.
  • Spines should be removed with tweezers.
  • Immerse the affected area in hot water to relieve the pain from the sting.
  • It can also be relieved by taking one to two tablets of acetaminophen every 4 hours or two tablets of ibuprofen every 6 hours.


Nutritional content of catfish:

Nutritional facts of catfish per 153-gram fillets:

  • 38% of the DV for vitamin B1
  • 7% of the DV for vitamin B2
  • 10% of the DV for vitamin E
  • 10% of the DV for vitamin B5
  • 18% of the DV for vitamin B3
  • 15% 0f the DV for vitamin B6
  • 65% of the DV for vitamin B12
  • 8% of the DV for copper
  • 9% of the DV for magnesium
  • 32% of the DV for phosphorus
  • 14% of the DV for potassium
  • 29% of the DV for selenium
  • 8% of the DV for zinc

Health benefits of catfish

  1. Cat fish contains omega-3 fatty acids: Catfish has white flesh, it is relatively lean, and it only contains small amounts of fat. one cooked fillet of catfish still provides 600 mg of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid (EFA) that is needed in our diets.
  2. Great for the heart: It’s no coincidence that fish-eating Inuit populations in the Arctic have low levels of heart disease; seafood is low in saturated fat and high in omega-3, which can both protect the heart from disease and lower the amount of cholesterol in the blood. One study has even suggested that an extra portion of fish every week can cut risk of heart disease in half.
  3. A good source of vitamin B12: Adequate vitamin B12 levels are tied to several potential health benefits, including improved mental health, protection against heart disease, and prevention and treatment of anemia.
  4. Protect lungs: Researches have shown that fish and shellfish may help to protect our lungs. Not only can seafood relieve the symptoms of asthma in children, but it has shown signs of preventing it. Consuming a lot of fish can keep your lungs stronger and healthier as you age in comparison to those who don’t eat a lot of fish.

Catfish can be part of balanced diet, but the cooking methods affects how nutritious or healthy it is. Frying of catfish in oil adds more fat and calories. There are other better dry-heating methods like baking, broiling, grilling, roasting, and panfrying. How to cook catfish significantly affects its fat, calorie, and sodium levels. For a healthier option stick with a dry heat method like broiling or baking.

Catfish are low in calories and are nutrient-dense. What’s more, they have high protein content, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin B12.

So…what are you waiting for?

Go get yourself a catfish and enjoy its delicious taste packed with enough nutrient that is good for the body.