Basa fish is a type of catfish native to Vietnam and Thailand and sometimes referred to as the river cobbler, swai, pangasius or bocourti. As with other types of catfish, basa are rich in protein but not as lean as tilapia and some other low-fat fish. Basa can still be a healthy addition to your diet, but you should note that different methods of cooking will alter the nutritional characteristics. When choosing imported basa, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch advises looking for fillets from farmed fish. Farmed imported basa is low in contaminants like mercury and raised in an environmentally friendly manner.
Basa fish fillets are low in calories, as a 100-gram fillet contains 90 calories. This amount comprises just 4.5 percent of the daily suggested calorie intake of 2,000. If you're dieting, basa fillets can be a good choice, as it would take less than 10 minutes of jogging or less than 11 minutes of swimming to burn the calories in a 100-gram basa fillet.
Basa fillets are moderately high in fat, considering the low calorie content. Each 100-gram fillet contains 4 grams of fat, so fat comprises 40 percent of the calories in the fillet. Only 1 gram of the fat comes from saturated fat, a type of fat that can increase your cholesterol levels. Dietary fat is high in calories but it is vital for optimal health, as it helps your body absorb vitamins and aids in proper growth and development.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Approximately 2.6 to 6.7 percent of the fat content of a serving of basa consists of omega-3 fatty acids. A high intake of these fatty acids -- particularly DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, and EPA, or eicosapentaenoic acid -- are linked to a decreased risk of heart disease. To get enough, the American Heart Association recommends that you should have at least two 3.5-oz. servings of fish like basa each week.
Basa fillets are rich in protein, as a 100-gram fillet contains 14 grams. This amount is more than twice the protein in an egg, but a basa fillet contains 50 fewer calories than two eggs would provide. Your body needs protein to maintain the integrity of your existing cells and tissues and build new tissues.
Basa fillets contain no carbohydrates, so you can eat this fish on a low-carbohydrate diet. While low-carbohydrate diets can help you lose weight, you don't need to restrict carbohydrates to diet successfully.
Basa fillets are relatively high in cholesterol, as a 100-gram fillet contains 50 mg of cholesterol. This amount comprises 25 percent of the daily suggested limit of 200 mg. Too much cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease.
Basa fillets are relatively low in sodium, with 50 mg per fillet. The daily recommended intake of sodium is 2,300 mg, so a 100-gram basa fillet contains just 2 percent of this amount.
- MyFitnessPal: Calories in Basa Fish Fillet
- MayoClinic.com; Exercise for Weight Loss: Calories Burned in 1 Hour; December 2009
- MedlinePlus; Dietary Fats; July 2011
- LIVESTRONG.COM MyPlate: Calories in Egg
- Cleveland Clinic; Nutrition: Cholesterol Guidelines; July 2010
- Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch: Swai
- Greenfudge.org: The Pangasius, An Emerging Fish Species
- American Heart Association: Fish 101