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. Farmed imported basa is lower in contaminants like mercury and raised in an environmentally friendly manner.
Basa Fillet Calories
Basa fish fillets are low in calories, as a 4-ounce serving contains 99 calories, according to the USDA FoodData Central. 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 around 10 minutes of swimming or jogging to burn the calories in a 4-ounce basa fillet, as described by Harvard Health.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends including at least two 4-ounce servings of fish like basa each week. This recommendation is because fish in general is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein, while being low in saturated fat.
Consider Basa Fillet Nutrition
Consider overall basa nutrition when adding this fish to your diet. Basa fillets are moderately high in fat, considering the low calorie content. Each 4-ounce fillet contains 4.5 grams of fat, so fat comprises 40 percent of the calories in the fillet.
Only 1.5 grams 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.
Although a large amount of basa fillet calories come from fat, this protein supplies essential, healthy 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 and death by any cause, according to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements.
EPA supports cell growth and function, muscle health, blood clotting, digestion and hormone production, while DHA is important for brain health.
Focus on Protein
Basa fish fillets are rich in protein, as a 4-ounce fillet contains 15 grams — 27 percent of the daily requirement for males and 33 percent for females, according to the National Academies of Sciences. 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.
Mind the Cholesterol and Sodium
A 4-ounce basa fish fillet contains 50 milligrams of cholesterol. In the past, it was thought that eating large amounts of cholesterol would increase overall cholesterol levels, contributing to risk factors for heart disease. However, there is not enough current research available to support limiting cholesterol intake, notes the AHA.
Basa fillets contain about 170 milligrams of sodium per fillet. According to the AHA, maximum daily recommended intake of sodium is 2,300 milligrams — or ideally 1,500 milligrams if you have other risk factors for heart disease — so a 4-ounce basa fillet contains about 7.4 percent of this amount. Be aware that preparing your basa with salt or other seasonings can increase the amount of sodium in this food.
- American Heart Association: "Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids"
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: "Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Health"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights"
- National Academy of Sciences: "Macronutrients"
- American Heart Association: "New Federal Guidelines May Lift Dietary Cholesterol Limits"
- American Heart Association: "How Much Sodium Should I Eat per Day?"
- USDA FoodData Central: "Pacific Surf Basa, Swai Fillet"