Do you have a favorite cruise-up restaurant that serves a delicious fried catfish? Or are you a fishing fanatic constantly on the search for the next big catch? Whatever the reason, if you’re a boater, you’re probably a fan of this versatile fish. But did you know that this American classic is so well-loved that it even has its own celebratory month? Read on to find out just how impressive the catfish really is.
In the 1980s, then President Ronald Reagan praised catfish for its role in the economy… and since then, the industry has only grown. Today, 94 percent of the country’s farm raised catfish comes from Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi; the industry employs almost 10,000 people and contributes over $4 billion to the economy of each state.
Of course, catfish are good for more than the economy—they’ve been dubbed a “super fish” by the AARP and possess a variety of healthful attributes, including:
Vitamin B12: This B vitamin is crucial to blood and nervous system health—but up to 30 percent of adults 50 and older are at risk of a B12 deficiency! Catfish is a great source of this vitamin (a 100% source, in fact) that can help relieve fatigue and stress and slow down the process of brain shrinkage.
Omega-3 fatty acids: Catfish provides you with the “essential” fatty acid of omega-3, which can curb your risk of heart disease, lessen joint pain, and perhaps even improve your memory over time.
Low calories, high protein: Getting your fill of protein doesn’t have to mean gobbling up a big meal! You can enjoy a light lunch while still getting your necessary protein with a plate of catfish. This protein is necessary in developing muscles, aiding your immune system and providing your body with much-needed energy—and fortunately, with catfish, getting that protein may mean consuming as little as 122 calories for a 3.2 ounce serving! That makes catfish a great option for health conscious consumers who still want to enjoy a great seafood meal every now and then.
Low mercury: While it’s recommended that you limit your seafood intake due to mercury in the water, you can take comfort in the fact that catfish is a very low mercury type of fish.
Versatility: Part of what makes catfish so healthy is that it can be eaten in a variety of ways—and not all of them are battered and fried! You can enjoy more healthful versions of this classic dish by grilling it, adding it to a salad, or even tossing it into a hash for a fun mix-up.
Whether you catch it and grill it up yourself, or order it at your weekend pit stop, catfish is a dish you can enjoy in many ways—and often feel good about eating! This National Catfish Month, go out and appreciate this seafood classic. And if you have a favorite catfish recipe, be sure to share it with us in the comments so we can try it out this August!