Can you eat catfish?

In this short article, we will provide an answer to the question, “Can you eat catfish?” with an in-depth analysis of catfish, the risks associated with eating catfish, the nutritional profile and the health benefits of catfish.

Can you eat catfish?

Yes, you can eat catfish. Catfish is completely edible, it is rich in many essential nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12 and is low in calories. Including baked or cooked catfish into your diet can help you boost overall good health.

However, the only time it is harmful to eat catfish is when it is not cooked properly.   

Catfish, an introduction

Catfish is one of the most widely eaten types of fish that you can have at home or in a restaurant. It is known for its unique flavour. People have been enjoying the unique taste and benefits of catfish for decades in countries like North America, Europe, and Asia. 

Some people like to eat it fried, baked, broiled, or grilled, and serve it with fresh vegetables. It also tastes delicious when cooked with garlic.

There are two different types of catfish: wild-caught and farmed, both with a unique taste. Wild-caught catfish is characterized by a bland and muddy taste whereas farmed catfish has a sweet and mild taste, with thick and moist flesh.  Blue and channel catfish are the two most common wild varieties eaten by people.

Both farm-raised and wild catfish are edible. Farmed-raised catfish usually have a higher fat content than wild-caught. Whether you choose the all-natural taste of wild catfish or the sweet taste of farm-raised catfish, it is up to you. 

The nutritional profile of catfish

Catfish is enriched with beneficial nutrients. A 3.5-ounce (100 grams) serving of catfish gives:

  • Calories: 105
  • Protein: 18 grams
  • Fat: 2.9 grams
  • Omega-6 fatty acids: 337 mg
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: 237 mg
  • Sodium: 50 mg
  • Selenium: 26% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Vitamin B12: 121% of the DV
  • Potassium: 19% of the DV
  • Phosphorus: 24% of the DV
  • Thiamine: 15% of the DV
  • Cholesterol: 24% of the DV

In addition to being low in sodium and calories, catfish is rich in protein, vitamins, healthy fats, and minerals. Catfish also contain choline, a nutrient required for healthy cell membranes and neurotransmitters. It also provides some amounts of zinc, calcium, copper, magnesium, and manganese.

Health benefits of eating catfish

Catfish provides significant health benefits which are mentioned below:

Filled with high levels of protein 

Catfish is rich in proteins. It is essential for building and repairing muscles and tissues, as well as it serves as the building block for many enzymes, hormones, and other molecules. 

Aids in weight loss 

The protein content in catfish also aids in weight loss as it makes you feel full for longer.

Helps to improve brain health

Catfish provides a good amount of Omega-3 fatty acids that aid in the proper development of brain cells and helps to improve brain disorders. Omega-3 fatty acids are also known to improve heart health and the gut microflora and increase the strength of skeletal muscles. 

Helps to improve heart health

Catfish is enriched with Vitamin B12, which is great for heart health. It also helps in treating problems like anaemia

Good source of healthy fats 

Fats are as essential as proteins are to the body. There is a section of good fat that keeps your body healthy. Catfishes are known to be one of the best sources of good fat.

Risks associated with eating catfish 

Catfish contain many toxic substances, such as Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins and mercury, which get drained into waterways and hence are absorbed by the catfish. 

Consumption of catfish can lead to mercury poisoning. Mercury consumption is very dangerous for human health and can cause immense damage to the nervous system. 

Before consuming wild catfish, make sure to confirm from your local extension office regarding the waters from where the catfish was brought. Nearly all species of fish comprise some amounts of mercury, but according to the Environmental Protection Agency, catfish is one of the five most widely eaten fish that is somewhat low in mercury. 

Most people can bear small quantities of mercury, but pregnant women, children,  or nursing mothers should not eat even fish with low amounts of mercury no more than two times a week.

An improperly cooked catfish is not safe for consumption as it may contain PCBs. However, ensuring appropriate fish cleaning and thorough cooking of catfish will help to reduce PCB levels as compared to raw fish. Avoid eating the liver, head, gut, or any reproductive organs as PCBs are usually accumulated in these body parts.


In this short article, we have provided an answer to the question, “Can you eat catfish?” with an in-depth analysis of catfish, the risks associated with eating catfish, the nutritional profile and the health benefits of catfish.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.