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The consumption of pangasius is increasing in Pakistan due to the fact that not only is it readily available now, it also has a lot of health benefits and is relatively cheaper than other fish. Basa, tra and swai are among the types of pangasisus fish that are available in Pakistan; the most popular is basa, due to its sweet flavour and flaky texture.

Pangasius is healthy due to the presence of the following nutrients which have multiple health benefits.

1. Omega-3 fatty acids

  • Improves lipid profiles by increasing high-density lipoprotein (good cholesterol) and decreasing low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol).
  • Reduces the chances of Alzheimer’s and dementia by lowering levels of beta-amyloid. High levels of this protein have been found in people suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia.
  • Facilitates brain development and neurological functions (especially in growing children) by improving the transmission of neuron signals and the flexibility of the brain cell membrane.
  • Prevents blood clotting due to their anti-coagulation properties.

2. Lean protein

  • Improves immune function.
  • Builds muscles, repairs body tissue and reduces fatigue.

3. Vitamins

  •  Vitamin B6 – Metabolises protein as well as glucose (in the liver).
  •  Vitamin B12 – Used by the bone marrow to produce red blood cells.
  •  Vitamin D – Absorbs bone-enriching calcium.

4. Iron

  • Helps increase the number of red blood cells as well as haemoglobin levels; this is especially beneficial for anaemia patients.

– Beenish Israr

The writer is a PhD scholar, studying Human Nutrition at the University of Reading, UK. She is a lecturer of Food and Nutrition at the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad.

First published in the Health Advertiser Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on September 9, 2012.