Tilapia’s Health Benefits

The tilapia (scientific name Pseudocrenilabrinae) is a freshwater fish that has the African continent as a place of origin. Currently, it can also be found in South America and North America. In tilapia fish, general characteristics of the species are the presence of small teeth, a dorsal fin divided into two parts and the general coloration in bluish gray color (although it is also found in other shades).

Reproduction happens easily and the growth of this species is fast. Although they are originally freshwater fish, they can adapt to saltwater. They mainly feed on floating aquatic plants and can be easily maintained in aquariums. About tilapia, representative species that can be mentioned are blue tilapia, Nile tilapia, zebra tilapia and Mozambican tilapia. Altogether, the types of tilapia exceed the number of 100 species.

This fish is the second most consumed in the world, second only to carp. Tilapia is one of the first fish to be bred in aquaculture, which consists in the creation of aquatic beings for human consumption. Its meat has a light texture and is very tasty, making it a very popular fish in many parts of the world. In Brazil, the Southeast region is where artisanal fishing is more common, especially in the State of Minas Gerais.

Tilapia’s properties include omega 3, selenium, potassium, phosphorus, niacin, B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Calcium, cobalt, and iodine are also found in this fish. In addition, the amount of protein is very generous, since a portion of tilapia corresponds to 15% of what is recommended for our daily consumption.

Its use in cooking is very versatile, as this fish can be fried, grilled, boiled or roasted. In addition, it is economical, can accompany the most varied sauces and is easy to digest.

The best ways to consume tilapia is roasted, grilled or boiled. Frying is not a good option due to the low amount of fat in this fish. If you want to fry, it is recommended not to use coconut oil, as this will lose its properties in the heating process.

The consumption of tilapia should not be done in excess, as it can contain toxins that are absorbed by your body through water. For this reason, it is important to know the origin of the fish at the time of purchase to verify if it comes from areas where the quality of fishing is regulated.

When buying, check if the tilapia has a pleasant odor. If it has a strong and unpleasant smell, it means that the fish is not fresh. Fresh fish have bright eyes and pink flesh. For this reason, if it has dull eyes, greyish gills and a slimy appearance, it is not ideal for human consumption.

Another tip is to lightly press the tilapia with your finger. If the fish immediately returns to its previous shape, without any traces of having been touched, it means that it is fresh.


Among the benefits of tilapia are the maintenance of the metabolic activity of various organ systems, in addition to cell repair, muscle growth, reduction of inflammatory processes and aid in brain development. See more of its benefits below.

  • good for the heart

Based on recent research, omega 3 (found in abundance in tilapia) improves the cardiovascular system by reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Omega 3 is a type of good fat that is responsible for reducing the bad fat that clings to the walls of blood vessels. This helps in preventing heart attacks, atherosclerosis and stroke.

Tilapia also contains potassium, which is a component that helps control blood pressure. The reason is because potassium has a vasodilating action, which prevents blood vessels from being obstructed by fatty plaques.

  • improves brain health

Potassium is an important nutrient for maintaining brain function as it aids the flow of oxygen to the brain and keeps brain tissues healthier. Another function related to potassium is that its consumption facilitates the passage of information through the nervous system, making thoughts occur more clearly.

Not to mention the omega 3, which helps to keep the memory more active and is also an ally in relation to concentration. This is because this component keeps neurological functions more active. For this reason, eating tilapia helps prevent degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

  • Contributions to weight loss

Those who want to lose weight can benefit from tilapia, which is a fish that has a low amount of calories and is rich in protein. This helps to reduce the feeling of hunger and, consequently, the calorie intake.

According to experts, if compared to other fish, tilapia is one of those with the highest amount of protein, combined with a low amount of fat, which makes its caloric value lower.

  • Helps treat the thyroid

The selenium found in tilapia proved to be effective for the treatment of people who have the thyroid condition. This is because this component causes the thyroid gland to be regulated, also improving hormonal functions and improving metabolism.

  • Protects bone health

Tilapia is great for keeping bones healthy as it contains a high amount of phosphorus, a mineral that is essential for this purpose. Phosphorus acts in bone construction and strengthening, in addition to benefiting the body’s development.

For this reason, eating tilapia is recommended for the prevention of diseases such as osteoporosis, which is caused by reduced bone density in old age, which makes bones more porous and brittle. It also makes your nails and teeth more resistant.

  • Contributes to muscle mass gain

Anyone who practices bodybuilding is good to include tilapia in the diet, as it has a high amount of protein. The protein acts in the formation of tissues in the body and also helps in their reconstruction. This is a key factor for people who practice intensive training sessions, which ends up injuring muscle fibers.

For this reason, consuming tilapia helps to rebuild these fibers faster, leaving the body better prepared for the next training session.

  • Contributes to cancer prevention

Like the vast majority of fish, tilapia is rich in selenium, which prevents oxidative stress and helps to minimize the effects of free radicals on the body. These factors are important for cancer prevention, preventing healthy cells from mutating and becoming cancerous.

Furthermore, further studies with selenium have shown that it has a very positive effect in reducing the risk of developing prostate cancer.

  • Fights premature aging

This fish contains a high content of vitamin C and vitamin E, which are essential for keeping the skin looking healthy and looking good. Tilapia is also rich in antioxidants, which reduce the action of free radicals, harmful components to the body that are responsible for accelerating aging.

In addition, some typical signs of aging, such as the appearance of wrinkles, sagging and skin blemishes, end up being minimized by the consumption of this fish.


Learn how to prepare two very tasty recipes that use tilapia.



  • 500g of tilapia fillet
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 chili pepper
  • 5 lemons
  • Coriander or parsley leaves to taste
  • Olive oil to taste
  • salt to taste

Preparation mode

  1. To start, chop the fillet tilapia into small cubes and place in a container.
  2. Cut the onion and pepper into very thin slices and add to the fish, seasoning with salt.
  3. Mix the ingredients well and add the juice from the lemons.
  4. Refrigerate, leaving for about 1 hour.
  5. Just before serving, add the diced tomatoes, cilantro and a drizzle of olive oil.
  6. Tilapia ceviche can be served with bread, toast or crackers.



  • 1 kg of tilapia
  • 4 lemons
  • 1 can of sour cream
  • Chives and parsley
  • Coriander
  • 1 sachet of ready-to-use seasoning powder (or red Sazón)
  • Oil
  • Black pepper
  • salt to taste

Preparation mode

  1. In a container, squeeze 2 of the lemons and add a pinch of black pepper and salt to taste.
  2. Add the seasoned fish fillet and let it rest for 20 minutes.
  3. Put the cream, cilantro, 2 lemons, cilantro, chives and parsley in a blender. Beat until it forms a dough with a pasty consistency.
  4. Pour 1 tablespoon of oil into a skillet to fry each of the tilapia fillets. Just let the filets be grilled, that is, browning on both sides.
  5. After grilling, place on a plate and pour the paste over the tilapia fillet.
  6. Serve right away, preferably with rice.
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Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.

Robert Asprin

Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.

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