Tilapia is a type of fish, and as such, can certainly be included as part of a Paleo lifestyle, but if you don’t love it, there’s no reason to choke it down.
The Benefits of Omega-3 Fats
One of the main reasons we recommend eating lots of fish is because it tends to be a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. These are a type of polyunsaturated fat (PUFA) with anti-inflammatory properties, which is good because inflammation is linked to just about every chronic illness out there.
Omega-3 vs. Omega-6
Tilapia has some omega-3 fats, but not enough to write home about. It has the same amount of omega-6 fats (which are inflammatory) as omega-3 fats, so they balance each other out. If you’re eating fish to get enough omega-3 fats to balance out the omega-6 fats from elsewhere in your diet (such as nuts and legumes) you’d be better off with a different type of fish (like salmon or mackerel).
The Benefits of Tilapia
That said, tilapia is an excellent source of protein, and because it’s bland, it can go well with any dish. It will end up tasting like whatever sauce you smother it with.
Farmed vs. Wild-Caught
Tilapia is likely low in omega-3 fats and relatively high in omega-6 fats due to the fact that it is most often farmed. Both the U.S. and Asia raise tilapia in fish farms where they are fed pellets made primarily out of corn and soy. Like humans, fish did not evolve to eat corn or soy, and they shouldn’t be eating them now, particularly when those two crops are almost always GMO.
Mark Sisson has some great tips for choosing the best fish.