Barramundi has a number of impressive health benefits including its ability to lose weight, prevent certain cancers, balance cholesterol levels, prevent diabetes, ensure growth and repair, improve eye health, and strengthen bones.
What is Barramundi?
Barramundi is a fish from the Latidae family with the scientific name Lates calcarifer. The name actually means large-scaled river fish and is taken from the Australian Aboriginal language. Also known as the Asian sea bass, it is found in Southeast Asia, Papua New Guinea, and in some parts of Northern Australian waters. Its other names are giant perch, palmer, cockup, nairfish, bekti, and Australian seabass. Barramundi is a large fish with white, flaky flesh and a moderate flavor.
The fish is widely used in culinary preparations throughout Asia, and is quite versatile and can easily replace any other type of bass or snapper in recipes. It is extensively used in the Thai cuisine and is known as pla kapong there. Aside from its use in sustainable fish farming, there are also a wealth of nutrients and minerals in barramundi that is very valuable for human health.
Barramundi has a gentle, mild flavor that makes it appealing for all the seafood lovers in the world. The flesh of the fish is pearly pink in color and it has firm, large flakes and is easy to cook as it is low in fats as compared to its other mates. Barramundi is pleasant to cook as it does not give out a strong odor, making it a favorite among people who want to wear the chef’s hat.
Barramundi Nutrition Facts
Health Benefits of Barramundi
Let’s take a closer look at the health benefits of barramundi.
Low Mercury Levels
Barramundi is one fish that eats plankton for surviving, unlike other fish that gobble up smaller fish. This makes the palmer a healthier food option for all the fish lovers as the mercury levels in this fish are very low. Moreover, you can relish this fish without any guilt of contributing to its extinction, merely because it relies on the freshwater organism plankton for its sustainability.
There is a very high level of omega-3 fatty acids in barramundi, which are often considered good, as the body needs a certain amount of HDL or good cholesterol for normal functioning. Omega-3 fatty acids have also been directly linked to lower risk of cancer, making barramundi a very valuable catch indeed.
Barramundi has nearly half the fat as compared to other fish such as salmon and it still provides an ample amount of nutrients like protein and minerals. This is important for those looking to lose weight or shift their diet away from red meats without suffering the loss of essential nutrients that come with it.
Protects Heart Health
Barramundi has an impressive balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and they are close to the desired levels in the human body. In other words, barramundi helps balance cholesterol levels, thus preventing atherosclerosis, obesity and coronary heart diseases by reducing strain on the heart and arteries.
The high level of omega-3 fatty acids present in barramundi, make it a great addition to your diet. It protects your brain and keeps it healthy.
Barramundi has a high level of protein per serving. Plant proteins, as well as those from sources other than red meat, have recently been linked to lower levels of diabetes, particularly in men. Research on a cure for diabetes is still ongoing so it is very important to incorporate these preventive measures in your diet.
Like many fish species, barramundi has impressive levels of selenium, zinc, calcium, magnesium, and other essential minerals that the body needs to protect bones. Bone mineral density is a major issue as we age, so ensuring that we get high levels of these minerals, particularly the trace elements (like selenium), is necessary for long-term health and strength.
Improves Eye Health
Barramundi provides a high level of vitamin A, which is an antioxidant specifically linked to eye and vision health. Vitamin A is able to counteract the negative effects of free radicals that can cause macular degeneration and cataracts, thus improving your vision and protecting it into the future.
Ensures Proper Growth
Barramundi is rich in protein, which is necessary for growth and development. The protein that comes from poultry and seafood is considered healthier than that in red meat and it helps contribute to our growth and repair of tissues, muscles, and bones.
Easy Barramundi Recipe
Barramundi with Lemon Butter Sauce
- 2 Barramundi fillets
- 2 tsp. Olive oil
- 2 tbsp. Butter
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 2 tbsp. Lemon juice
- Minced Basil leaves
- Salt, to taste
- Step 1: Sauté the minced garlic in butter till it becomes golden in color.
- Step 2: Add the lemon juice, basil leaves, and salt to the garlic. Stir it and remove from heat.
- Step 3: Coat the fish fillets with olive oil and pan fry them for about 3 minutes on a medium heat. The edges of the fish should turn golden brown in color.
- Step 4: Place the cooked fish on a serving plate and spoon the sauce on them. Garnish with basil leaves and serve!
Word of Caution: Unlike other fish, which are contaminated with mercury and undesirable trace metals, barramundi has shown a remarkable resistance to these contaminants. These fish eats plankton instead of other small fish, which is a major reason why it contains less mercury. More research is being done on barramundi, but no immediate concerns have surfaced about the safety of this delectable fish!
Fun fact: Originally all the barramundi fish are hermaphrodites and are born male and later change their gender when they reach maturity around 3-4 years of age.