A protein found in tilapia fish could heal skin wounds, finds a new study. Applying collagen — a major structural protein in animals — to wounds can help encourage skin to heal faster, said researcher Xiumei Mo from Donghua University in Shanghai, China.
But when the protein dressing comes from mammals such as cows and pigs, it has the potential to transmit conditions such as foot-and-mouth disease. Searching for an alternative source of collagen, the researchers developed nanofibres from tilapia collagen and used them to cover skin wounds on rats. The rats with the nanofibre dressing healed faster than those without it. In addition, lab tests on cells suggested that the fish collagen was not likely to cause an immune reaction. The researchers concluded that the findings could lead to new therapies for human patients. The findings appeared in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.
Health Benefits of Tilapia
Growth and Development: One of the most important aspects of tilapia is its impressive protein content, making up more than 15% of our daily requirement in a single serving. Protein is an essential part of our diet, particularly animal proteins, because they can be enzymatically broken down into composite amino acids and reassembled into usable proteins in the human body. Protein is directly linked to proper growth and development of organs, membranes, cells, and muscles. It is particularly important that children consume adequate amounts of protein to ensure that they develop properly. They also are necessary for muscle growth, cellular repair, and proper metabolic activity of numerous organ systems.
Weight Loss: Unlike many other animal products, fish like tilapia are high in protein but low in calories and fats. This can be a good way to reduce your caloric intake, while still giving your body all of the necessary nutrients it needs to function properly. Fish is often turned to as a dietary option for people trying to lose weight, without starving themselves with crash diets.
Bone Health: One of the most prominent minerals found in tilapia is phosphorous, which is an essential mineral for human health, as it is a vital part of the development and growth of bone matter. It is also a necessary element in the maintenance of the teeth and nails, keeping them strong and durable well into your old age. Phosphorous can help prevent osteoporosis, which is the degradation of bone mineral density often suffered by people as they age.
Prevents Prostate Cancer: Like many types of fish, tilapia has a very high content of selenium. The health benefits of selenium are impressive, and are antioxidant in nature. Studies have directly linked selenium intake to a reduction in the risk of prostate cancer, as well as various heart conditions. Additional research is being done on the impact of tilapia’s selenium on other types of cancer. Antioxidants like selenium are famed for their ability to reduce free radical activity in the body, thereby lowering the chances of oxidative stress on all the organ systems, and the mutation of healthy cells into cancerous ones.
Heart Health: Tilapia is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been directly linked to lowering cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels in the human cardiovascular system. Omega-3 fatty acids neutralize the impact of omega-6 fatty acids. There is some controversy about fish in general having high levels of dangerous LDL cholesterol, but studies have shown that the beneficial effects of the omega-3 fatty acids outweigh the risks of omega-6 fatty acids also found in tilapia. Omega-3 fatty acids help to prevent atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. The potassium found in tilapia is also a vasodilator, and reduces blood pressure, which is an additional boost to heart health.
Brain Health: Both the potassium and omega-3 fatty acids found in tilapia have been connected to boosting brain power and increasing neurological function. Potassium increases oxygenation to the brain and is essential for proper fluid balance throughout the body, which facilitates nervous response and nutrient deposition in appropriate parts of the body, including the brain.
Premature Aging: Selenium is known as an antioxidant, and it can actually rejuvenate or stimulate vitamin E and C, both of which improve the quality and health of your skin. Therefore, the more than 20% of daily selenium that tilapia provides makes it a very good food source for improving the health and appearance of your skin by stopping the free radical damage. This means a reduction in wrinkles, sagging, age spots, and other signs of aging.
Immune System and Thyroid Function: A final beneficial application of selenium is for the immune system. It can help boost the activity of white blood cells, which defend the body against toxins and foreign bodies. Furthermore, selenium plays a vital role in the regulation of the thyroid gland, which controls many of our hormonal functions. Proper functioning the thyroid gland guarantees a well-balance metabolism and proper organ function and chemical reactions throughout the body.
A Few Words of Caution:Since tilapia have a natural penchant for clearing up toxins in their habitats, some of those toxins can be absorbed into their bodies. Therefore, it is important to purchase tilapia farmed from places or farms where strict regulation of fishery quality is followed. Also, since there are a significant amount of omega-6 fatty acids, people with preexisting heart conditions should be careful about eating too much tilapia. Other than that, enjoy this delicious little whitefish!