Researchers from Wake Forest University School of Medicine tested 30 varieties of fish — some wild, some farmed — from all over the world and found that farm-raised tilapia has relatively high levels of omega-6s and lower levels of heart-healthy omega-3s, a ratio of almost 11:1. (Catfish and flounder have a similarly disappointing profile.) Tilapia, a farmed, fresh-water herbivore, was never touted as being naturally high in omega-3s, but this surprisingly high omega-6 profile may be the result of fish feeds containing too many omega-6-rich vegetable oils (e.g., cottonseed, soybean or safflower) and not enough omega-3-rich oils, such as anchovy oil.
In the past, humans consume as much omega-3s as omega-6s. However, due to the increased intake of processed foods (which generally contain high levels of omega-6), people are now consuming more omega-6 than the healthy omega-3. This imbalance or higher omega-6 intake increases the risk of inflammatory conditions such as heart disease.
That’s why the American Heart Association recommends eating omega-3-rich fish to help reduce your risk of heart disease.
However, knowing this truth about tilapia does not necessarily mean that we should stop including it on our meals or diet. In fairness, nutrition experts still believe that tilapia, being a lean source of protein is a healthier substitute to fatty meats that usually have high levels of saturated fat. But if you are looking into filling your diet with omega-3 to avoid heart problems, go for salmon, trout or tuna.