Butter catfish

Published:  12:00 AM, 21 December 2016

Native and wealthy enough

Butter catfish are predominately freshwater fish. In Bengali they are called ‘Pabda’, scientific name ‘Schilbe mystys.’ They are from the family of Catfish; get their name from the long whisker-like feelers that decorate their snouts. Butter catfish are mild, firm and low-fat fish. Recommended cooking methods for catfish include steaming, poaching, baking and frying. Seafood stews can also benefit from the addition of Butter catfish.

General nutrition: A 3-ounce serving of wild freshwater catfish cooked using a dry-cooking method provides approximately 89 calories, 15.7 grams of protein, 2.4 grams of fat and 0.6 grams of saturated fat and is free of fiber and carbohydrates. The protein, fat and saturated fat contents represent about 31 percent, 4 percent and 3 percent of the daily value, respectively. Men face a much more dangerous form of prostate cancer if tumor cells from the prostate gland metastasize and migrate and invade other parts of the body, such as bone marrow. New research suggests that oily fish may help prevent this process. It appears that omega-3 fats contained in oily fish can prevent cancer spreading to bone marrow, a process which may be encouraged by the other major group of polyunsaturated fatty acids - omega-6 fats.

Contain Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Researchers at the Christie Hospital in Manchester found evidence for this effect in laboratory tests, where they showed that omega-3 fats can inhibit invasion by prostate cancer cells, potentially reducing the threat of metastasis. They also found that omega-6 fatty acids, found in vegetable oils, nuts and seeds, increased the risk of tumor cells spreading into bone marrow. This invasion was blocked by omega-3 fats, which are found in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and tuna. Butter catfish is among of them oily fish from freshwater families. The researchers believe that cancerous tumors may use omega 6 fats as a high-energy food, enabling rapid growth. Omega-3 fats are known to interfere with the various functions of omega-6 fats, they explain, and this was confirmed by the current findings. This effectively removes cancer's 'free lunch', a fact that may have clinical importance. Eating a diet with the right balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fats may well help to keep prostate cancer within the prostate gland where it may be monitored safely or more easily treated with surgery or radiotherapy, they conclude, adding that a healthy balance of these two types of fat would be about half as much omega-3 as omega-6.

Butter catfish consumption slows mental decline: Dutch researchers report an intriguing association between diet and the extent and rate of cognitive impairment in the older generation. Their study, part of the Zutphen Elderly Study, involved almost 1000 men born between 1900 and 1920. The men's intake of various food components was assessed (by personal interviews) in 1985 and 1990 and their cognitive function was evaluated in 1990 and 1993 using the Mini-Mental State Examination scale. The MMSE scale includes questions on orientation to time and place, registration, attention and calculation, recall, language, and visual construction. The researchers examined intake of linoleic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, beta-carotene, flavonoids, and vitamins C and E. The researchers found that men/women with the highest intake of linoleic acid (mainly from margarine, butter, baking fats, sauces, and cheeses) had a 76% higher degree of cognitive impairment than did men/women with the lowest intake. Men/women with a high fish intake were less likely to be cognitively impaired than men/women with a low intake and their rate of decline over the period 1990-93 was half that of men rarely consuming fish. (Recall that fish, as well as fish oil, contain omega-3 fatty acids.) The intake of beta-carotene, flavonoids, and vitamins C and E were not associated with a greater or lesser degree of impairment. However, there was a clear correlation between a high vitamin C intake and a decline in cognitive function over the period 1990-93. Men/women with a high vitamin C intake were twice as likely to have experienced a decline as were men/women with a low intake. The researchers speculate that vitamin C may act as a pro-oxidant in the presence of free iron in the brain.

Minerals: Butter catfish have high levels of magnesium; a 3-ounce portion contains 21 percent of the DRI. Magnesium plays an important role in health, aiding in the regulation of the body's glucose levels, the synthesis of protein and nucleic acid and the conversion of food to cellular energy. Catfish provide 8 percent of the DRI of potassium in a small 3-ounce serving. Potassium is vital for maintaining appropriate electrolyte levels, which contribute to nerve impulse transmission, muscle contraction and healthy heart function. Butter catfish offer trace amounts of magnesium, zinc and iron.

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