You may be familiar with the Barramundi fish, but do you why it is raved?
Barramundi (also known as the Asian sea bass, Australian sea bass, Giant Perch, Palmer, bekti or 金目鲈) is a fish from the Latidae family with the scientific name Lates calcarifer. The name means large-scaled river fish and is taken from the Australian Aboriginal language.
Found in the waters of Southeast Asia, Papua New Guinea, and some parts of Northern Australia, barramundi is a widely-consumed fish in Asia, especially in Thailand, Banga and Goa. While the Bangalis and the Goans prefer their Asian sea bass fried, the Thais love theirs steamed. Pla kapong is a popular Thai cuisine that uses barramundi.
With its silvery, streamlined body and enormous size, barramundi is known to be rich in vital nutrients and has low toxin levels.
7 Health Benefits of Barramundi
Barramundi is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, healthy fats, protein, vitamin D, vitamin A, sodium and potassium. Here are 7 incredible health benefits of the Asian sea bass.
1. Low in Methylmercury
All fish contain trace amounts of methylmercury – a type of organic mercury – that can cause damage to the human brain and central nervous system when overconsumed. The concentrations of the metal accumulate the further up the food chain. Hence, a fish that feeds on other fish will contain more traces of methylmercury.
Since the Asian see bass feeds mainly on plankton, small aquatic plants and insects, it contains fewer traces of mercury and other toxins. Therefore, it is not only healthier but also safer to eat.
It is also important to note that wild-caught barramundi and farm-raised barramundi contain different mercury levels due to their different diets.
2. Low in Fats
If you are looking to lose weight, yet still intend on having meat in your diet, barramundi is a great option. A fillet of fresh barramundi (170 g) contains 140 calories, with 13% of it coming from fat. It has nearly half the fat as compared to other fish such as salmon.
3. Improves Heart Health
A barramundi a day keeps the cardiologist away!
Maintaining a healthy cholesterol level is crucial in keeping your heart well-functioning. The meat of the Asian sea bass is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. A 4-ounce serving of skinless barramundi contains 500 mg of omega-3s and well over double with skin.
Omega-3s are beneficial for your cardiovascular system. They can reduce triglycerides (lipid found in your blood), lower blood pressure, raise good HDL cholesterol levels, as well as preventing blood clots.
In fact, consuming at least 250 mg of omega-3s could reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death by 35% and overall fatal coronary events by 17%!
4. Improves Brain Health
Besides benefits to the heart, the omega-3 fatty acids can improve brain health too.
The omega-3s – EPA and DHA – are essential for normal brain function and development throughout all stages of life. These fatty acids help to maintain normal brain function throughout life. They should be abundant in the cell membranes of our brain cells and needed to preserve cell membrane health and facilitate communication between brain cells.
Preliminary data suggests omega-3 fatty acids may also play a role in protecting against early dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
5. Improves Eye Care
Barramundi is rich in vitamin A, providing approximately 4% of an adult’s required intake. This antioxidant that plays an important role in vision by maintaining a clear cornea – the transparent layer making up the outermost front part of your eye.
Vitamin A may also help protect against other eye afflictions. Some studies suggest that diets high in vitamin A may be associated with a reduced risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
6. Excellent Source of Protein
According to Harvard Medical School, the DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) is 0.8 g of protein per kilogram of body weight. This amounts to 56 g per day for the average sedentary man and 46 g per day for the average sedentary woman.
An Asian sea bass supplies about 35 g of protein in a 6-ounce fillet – that is 62% of a man’s daily protein requirement and 76% of a woman’s!
7. Strengthening Bones
Fish is rich in vitamin D, calcium and other essential minerals that are needed to maintain our bone mineral density at an acceptable level. As we age, bone mineral density becomes a major issue. Ensuring that we continue to receive high levels of these minerals – particularly trace elements such as selenium – from our food source is paramount for long-term health and strength.
Like many fish species, barramundi has good levels of selenium, zinc, calcium, magnesium and other essential minerals that the body needs to strengthen our bones.
Barramundi As Sustainable Seafood
Do you know that the Asian sea bass fulfils the elusive promise of sustainable seafood?
As barramundi consumes a largely vegetarian diet, it ranks low on the food chain. Farmers do not need to take more fish from the wild to support their school, hence, making it an environmentally-preferable alternative to most farmed fish.
Farmed barramundi is a cost-effective, sustainable alternative to salmon, grouper, snapper and halibut. They can also reach market size (close to 1 kg) in less than a year, making them well-suited for aquafarming. The leading aquafarmers are based in Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Thailand. In Singapore, Kühlbarra, our only sea farm, rears antibiotic-free and hormone-free barramundi that can be purchased farm-to-table style!
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