Swai fish is a type of white-fleshed catfish that can be found at many grocery stores. It is also known as Asian catfish, Vietnamese catfish, tra, basa and -- though it is not a shark -- iridescent shark or Siamese shark (Pangasius hypophthalmus). Swai can be an excellent choice for people who are looking to boost their protein intake with healthy fats, since it contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. In addition to its healthy fat content, swai is low in saturated fat and high in selenium.
However, it is important to be aware of the potential health risks associated with swai fish, particularly when purchasing it from unregulated sources. For example, a recent study of imported seafood found that swai fish from Vietnam most frequently exceeded drug residue limits (18). These antibiotics are often used to fight infections in crowded swai fish farms and, when overused, can cause bacteria to become resistant to them (19).
Another concern with swai is its high level of mercury (20). Mercury is a neurotoxin that can damage the brain and nervous system. It is particularly dangerous for pregnant women, infants and young children.
Swai fish is a good source of protein, which helps build muscle and promote weight loss. Additionally, it can help reduce cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure. It is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can decrease the risk for heart disease. Swai is a good alternative to other popular white fish like cod, haddock, tilapia and halibut, which are higher in omega-3s and have lower mercury levels.