A white-fleshed native Australian fish with a firm texture and mild, buttery flavor, barramundi is also known as the giant perch or nairfish. Barramundi is a versatile, environmentally friendly and nutritious alternative to seafood that may be overfished or contaminated with pollutants such as mercury or polychlorinated biphenyls, reports "The Atlantic" food writer Barry Estabrook. Use it in any sea bass or red snapper recipe calling for grilling, roasting, broiling or sautéing. The National Smart Seafood Guide advises choosing only barramundi farmed in the United States, because others are not as highly regulated.
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Low in Fat
A 6-ounce fillet of fresh barramundi contains 140 calories, and 13 percent of this amount -- approximately 18 calories, or 2 grams -- comes from fat. For a woman on a 2,000-calorie diet, a serving of barramundi would supply only 2 to 3.5 percent of her recommended daily limit of fat. Barramundi contains no saturated fat, although it does have 70 milligrams of cholesterol, which is 23 percent of the total a healthy adult should have each day. Columbia Health assures that, despite the cholesterol content, the health benefits of fish like barramundi still make it a good choice in a balanced diet.
Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
A serving of some commercially farmed barramundi contains about 1 gram of omega-3 fatty acids, nearly as much as the 1.5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids found in every serving of fatty fish like salmon, mackerel or herring. There isn't a recommended daily allowance of omega-3 fatty acids, but eating two servings of fish such as barramundi per week will supply most adults with enough, says the University of Massachusetts Medical School. A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids may help lower your cholesterol and decrease your risk of heart disease, cancer and neurological disorders.
Excellent Protein Choice
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that the average adult woman needs 46 grams of protein per day, while a man should have about 56 grams. Barramundi supplies 35 grams of protein in a 6-ounce fillet - that's 76 percent of a woman's protein RDA and 62 percent of a man's daily protein requirement. You may have a better chance of avoiding chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease if you get more of your protein from plant-based sources, poultry or seafood, rather than red or processed meats.
Variety of Vitamins and Minerals
Like all fish, barramundi is a source of a number of essential vitamins and minerals that support your immune, cardiovascular and nervous systems, including selenium, zinc, magnesium, vitamin A and calcium. Each 6-ounce fillet of barramundi contains 40 milligrams of calcium, or 4 percent of the 1,000-milligram daily recommended intake for adults. Barramundi also provides approximately 4 percent of an adult's required intake of vitamin A.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- The Atlantic: The Anti-Salmon - A Fish We Can Finally Farm Without Guilt
- The Daily Green: The Sexy Barramundi - Sustainable Fish Recipes
- Australis: Barramundi - Catch the Facts
- Food & Water Watch: National Smart Seafood Guide
- Australis: Barramundi in Your Grocer's Fresh Seafood Case and Frozen Seafood Aisle
- American Heart Association: Know Your Fats
- Columbia Health: Shellfish - Cholesterol Content?
- Australis: All About Omega-3's
- University of Massachusetts Medical School: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Protein
- Harvard School of Public Health: Protein
- Agein: The Anti-Aging Superfood That Fights Heart Disease
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Calcium