What is Hilsa Fish

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Hilsa fish is a popular South Asian fish. It is bony and sharp, making it quite difficult to eat sometimes, but the taste and the health benefits of this fish are well worth the effort.

What is Hilsa Fish?

Also known as llish, or by its scientific name Tenualosa ilisha, hilsa is a small silver fish related to the herring. It is wildly popular in South Asia, where it is known for its excellent taste and texture. It is even the national fish of Bangladesh, primarily because the country produces so much of it.

Nutrition

Hilsa fish is a rich, oily fish packed with many nutrients. A 100-gram serving of hilsa contains roughly 310 calories, 25 grams of protein, and 22 grams of fat. It also supplies 27% of your daily value of vitamin C, 2% of the iron you require, and an amazing 204% of your daily calcium requirement.

Two fishes in a glass bowl surrounded by ginger, pepper, salt, garlic, oil and tomato on a wooden surface.

Hilsa can be steamed, poached in gravy, or smoked. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Benefits

The most popular health benefits of hilsa rich in omega-3 fatty acids are listed below:

  • Boosting heart health
  • Skin care
  • Improving brain health

Other benefits of eating hilsa include the following:

  • Eating hilsa regularly helps alleviate the effects of rheumatoid arthritis and relieve joint pain. This is due to the anti-inflammatory nature of the fish.
  • Studies suggest that regular intake of hilsa helps lower blood cholesterol levels.
  • Hilsa fish is rich in vitamin A or retinol that helps preserve the night vision and prevents age-related macular degeneration.

Side Effects

Eating hilsa fish is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, due to the possibility of seaborne contaminants, such as dioxins, mercury, or other heavy metals. Eating hilsa can also cause allergic reactions to this fish although they are not so common. It is advised to pay attention to your body’s reactions when adding new or exotic food to your diet.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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