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Hiwas: 10 Health Benefits of Moonfish, Description, and Disadvantages

Dive into the depths of the ocean and discover a hidden gem of the seafood world—the mighty Moonfish! With its striking appearance, impressive size, and mouthwatering taste, this elusive creature has captured the attention of food enthusiasts and health-conscious individuals alike. But it’s not just about satisfying your palate; moonfish also offers an array of incredible health benefits that are sure to leave you hooked. Join us as we explore the health benefits of moonfish, its disadvantages, and how it is cooked and prepared.

What is Moonfish

Moonfish, scientifically known as Mene maculata, goes by various names such as Hiwas in Tagalog, Bilong-bilong (belong-belong), spotted moonfish, and chaveta. This fascinating species belongs to the family Menidae and is found in tropical and subtropical waters worldwide.

With its distinct appearance, the Moonfish stands out among its marine counterparts. It has a flat body shape with a high-backed profile that tapers towards its tail. Its sleek skin is adorned with beautiful silver scales that shimmer under the sunlight. The coloration of Moonfish varies from pale silver to olive green on top, while its belly boasts a stunning golden hue.

Moonfish (English), Hiwas (Tagalog), Bilong-bilong (Hiligaynon/Ilonggo)

When it comes to size, these impressive swimmers can reach lengths of up to 18 inches (45 cm) or more. Their physical characteristics include large pectoral fins near their head and an elongated dorsal fin running along their spine.

Now, let’s talk about taste—moonfish offers seafood lovers a delightful treat for their taste buds! Its flesh is firm yet tender, with a mild flavor often compared to grouper or snapper. Moonfish lends itself well to various cooking methods and can be prepared in numerous delicious ways.

As for habitat, Moonfish prefer warm tropical waters, where they reside near reefs or rocky areas at depths ranging from 30 to 200 feet (9 to 60 meters). They are also known for migrating seasonally for food sources and suitable breeding grounds.

Moonfish Nutrition Per 100g

Hiwas is a delicious and nutritious seafood option that offers numerous health benefits. Let’s examine the nutrition profile of Moonfish per 100g serving.

Moonfish is an excellent source of protein, providing approximately 20g per 100g serving. Protein is essential for building and repairing tissues in our body, supporting muscle growth and development.

In addition to protein, Moonfish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats are known for their heart-protective effects and can help reduce inflammation. Omega-3s also support brain function and may even improve mood and cognitive abilities.

Furthermore, Moonfish contains various vitamins and minerals necessary for optimal health. It is particularly high in vitamin B12, crucial for maintaining nerve function and producing red blood cells.

Moreover, this fish provides notable amounts of selenium, a powerful antioxidant that helps protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals. Selenium also plays a vital role in thyroid hormone metabolism.

Lastly but importantly, moonfish are relatively low in calories and packed with nutrients. This makes it an excellent choice for those watching their weight or looking to maintain a balanced diet without compromising on taste or nutritional value.

Incorporating Moonfish into your diet can provide you with an array of nutrients like protein and omega-3 fatty acids beneficial to your heart health, along with vitamins B12 and selenium! So why not give this flavorful fish a try?

10 Health Benefits of Moonfish

Moonfish offers numerous health benefits. This fish can be a valuable addition to your diet, from its high protein content to its abundance of essential nutrients.

1. Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Moonfish is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, crucial for heart health and reducing inflammation in the body.

2. Excellent Source of Protein: With about 20 grams of protein per 100-gram serving, moonfish is an excellent choice for those looking to build and repair muscle tissue.

3. High in Vitamin D: Moonfish contains significant amounts of vitamin D, which is vital in promoting bone health and supporting the immune system.

4. Good Source of B Vitamins: This fish provides several vitamins like niacin and riboflavin that help convert food into energy and support brain function.

5. Boosts Brain Health: The omega-3 fatty acids found in moonfish have been linked to improved cognitive function and reduced risk of age-related cognitive decline.

6. Supports Eye Health: Moonfish is rich in antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin, which play a key role in maintaining healthy vision as we age.

7. Promotes Heart Health: The omega-3 fatty acids present in moonfish can help reduce the risk factors associated with cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure and triglyceride levels.

8. Helps Maintain Healthy Skin: The combination of protein, omega-3s, vitamins A and E found in moonfish promotes healthy skin by combating oxidative stress and improving collagen production.

9. Enhances Mood: Consuming moonfish regularly may contribute to improved mood due to its omega-3 content’s positive effects on brain chemicals responsible for regulating mood.

10. Supports Weight Loss Efforts: Due to its low-calorie content combined with high protein levels, moonfish can be a satisfying addition to weight loss diets by promoting feelings of fullness and supporting

Side Effects and Disadvantages of Moonfish

While moonfish may have numerous health benefits, it’s important to be aware of the potential side effects and disadvantages associated with consuming this fish. Here are five factors to consider:

1. Mercury Content: Moonfish tend to accumulate mercury due to its position in the food chain. High levels of mercury can pose a risk, especially for pregnant women, nursing mothers, and young children.

2. Allergies: Some individuals may experience allergic reactions after consuming moonfish. Common symptoms include itching, hives, swelling, difficulty breathing, or anaphylaxis in severe cases.

3. Parasites: Moonfish can carry parasites like tapeworms or roundworms that can cause gastrointestinal issues if consumed raw or undercooked. It is crucial to ensure proper cooking techniques are employed when preparing moonfish dishes.

4. Environmental Concerns: Overfishing of moonfish can lead to population decline and disrupt marine ecosystems. Sustainable fishing practices should be prioritized to protect these species’ long-term viability.

5. Contamination Risks: If not handled properly during processing and storage, moonfish can become contaminated with bacteria such as Salmonella or Vibrio that may result in foodborne illnesses if consumed.

It’s essential always to consider these potential side effects and disadvantages before incorporating moonfish into your diet.

How to Eat Moonfish

Moonfish is a versatile fish that can be prepared in various ways to suit different palates. If you’re wondering how to eat moonfish, here are some popular preparations:

  1. Cooked: Cooking moonfish by baking, grilling, broiling, or pan-frying can be a delicious and healthy. Season the fish with herbs, spices, and marinades to enhance its flavor. You can serve it as a main dish alongside vegetables, rice, or salad.
  2. Dried: Drying fish is a traditional preservation method that concentrates flavors and makes the fish portable. Moonfish can be dried and enjoyed as a snack or rehydrated and added to soups or stews.
  3. Canned: Canned moonfish can be a convenient option. It can be used in salads, sandwiches, pasta dishes, or enjoyed straight out of the can. Be mindful of added ingredients in canned products like oils or sauces.
  4. Fermented: Fermenting fish is a common practice in some cultures. It can create unique flavors and textures. Moonfish can be fermented and used in dishes like fish sauces or added to fermented vegetable dishes.
  5. Smoked: Smoking fish can impart a rich and smoky flavor. Moonfish can be smoked whole or in fillets. Smoked moonfish can be used in appetizers, salads, dips, or pasta dishes.
  6. Other Preparations: Moonfish can also be used in various other preparations, such as:
    • Sushi or sashimi: If the moonfish is safe to consume raw, you can use it in sushi or sashimi preparations.
    • Fish Tacos: Cooked moonfish can be used as a filling for fish tacos along with fresh toppings and sauces.
    • Curries: Moonfish can be added to curry dishes for added flavor and protein.
    • Fish Soups and Stews: Moonfish can be incorporated into soups or stews, adding a unique taste to the dish.
    • Fish Cakes or Patties: You can use moonfish to make fish cakes or patties by combining it with breadcrumbs, herbs, and spices.

When preparing and consuming moonfish or any other type of fish, it’s important to ensure that it’s sourced from safe and sustainable sources. Additionally, follow proper food safety practices, including thorough cooking and proper storage, to prevent any health risks.


Moonfish is a delicious and nutritious seafood option that offers numerous health benefits. With its high protein content, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, moonfish can contribute to a well-balanced diet and promote overall well-being.

The health benefits of moonfish are abundant. This fish has everything from improving cardiovascular health to boosting brain function and supporting weight management. Its nutrient-rich profile makes it an excellent choice for those looking to incorporate healthy food into their lifestyle.

However, like any other food item, moonfish should be consumed in moderation. Due to its high mercury content, some people may experience allergic reactions or adverse effects. Pregnant women and young children should exercise caution when including moonfish in their diet.

When it comes to preparing moonfish, you can try various cooking methods – from grilling or baking to smoking or drying the fish. Whether you prefer it seasoned with herbs and spices or marinated in your favorite sauce, there’s no shortage of culinary possibilities with moonfish.

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