There’s a lot more reason for sushi lovers to rejoice! Apparently, tuna is dense in important nutrients such as potassium, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, magnesium, and iron. It is chock-full of antioxidants, too!
What’s more, it can be easily enjoyed in a number of tasty dishes like salads, sandwiches, steaks, and sushi rolls. In fact, many cuisines all over the world are using tuna in many notable recipes.
So, if you want to learn more about this saltwater fish, read on. Find out how tuna can promote heart health, boost immunity, promote weight loss, strengthen bones, and more in this health guide.
What is Tuna?
Tuna, also known as tunny, is a type of saltwater fish that belongs to the Scombridae family along with bonito and mackerel fish.
Tuna is classified into different species, but the most common types include the albacore, bluefin, bigeye, skipjack, and yellowfin.
Aside from salmon, tuna is a popular seafood choice in healthy recipes as it is loaded with essential nutrients that offer various health benefits.
Tuna: Interesting Facts
While they are widely distributed throughout the world’s oceans, tunas tend to be more abundant in tropical and temperate waters.
The smallest tuna species is the blackfin tuna, growing to a maximum of 39 inches in length and weighing 46 lbs. On the other hand, the Atlantic bluefin tuna is known as the largest tuna species, averaging 6.6 to 8.2 ft in length, and weighing around 496 to 551 lbs.
Tunas are rich in essential vitamins and minerals that help promote optimum health such as B vitamins, vitamin D, potassium, magnesium, iodine, choline, and omega-3 fatty acids.
What are the Health Benefits of Tuna?
From improving eyesight to promoting heart health and reducing your risk of cancer, tuna proves to be worth adding to your regular diet. Take a look at how your health can benefit from incorporating this nutritious fish into your meal plans:
Tuna boosts your immunity
Tuna is a rich source of nutrients that help strengthen the immune system such as manganese, selenium, and zinc. These important minerals fight off free radical damage, preventing various illnesses such as cancer from occurring.
Tuna promotes heart health
Like salmon, tuna is also packed with significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids that promote heart health.
These EFAs help prevent the risk factors for heart disease by lowering triglycerides, reducing blood pressure levels, increasing the amounts of HDL or good cholesterol, and preventing harmful blood clots.
The omega-3 contained in tuna also keeps your arteries free from damage, and reduce inflammation. As a result, your heart remains healthy and enjoys a lower risk of disease.
Tuna aids in weight loss
If you have specific weight loss goals, you may find it necessary to add tuna to your meal plans. Tunas are incredibly low in fat content and calories but are high in protein and other key nutrients.
What’s more, they are delicious, too! You surely wouldn’t have any trouble adding them to your weight loss meal plans.
Tuna improves your energy levels
Aside from enhancing your metabolism, tuna also boosts your energy levels, allowing your body to stay active. Its energy boosting effects are attributed to its rich protein, fatty acids, and B vitamin content.
Tuna helps to build muscle
One of the most important nutrients contained in tuna is protein. This essential nutrient is a building block of muscles, helping them to grow and recover faster, especially after intense physical workouts.
Tuna promotes eye health
Tuna helps cut the risk of depression
Tuna is also considered an anti-depressant food. This beneficial effect of tuna to one’s mood is believed to be brought by its omega-3 fatty acid content.
Tuna improves bone health
Tuna is also a good source of vitamin B, which plays an important role in the detoxification of homocysteine.
According to a scientific review, high levels of homocysteine and low amounts of B vitamins have been linked to frail bones.
Adding foods rich in B vitamins such as tuna can help make your bones stronger and protect them from fractures and diseases like osteoporosis.
Tuna prevents the risk of kidney disease
Not only can tuna lower your risk for osteoporosis but kidney disease as well. Tuna’s rich potassium content helps to balance fluids and promote the optimum functioning of your kidneys, preventing diseases.
Tuna reduces inflammation
Tuna also contains anti-inflammatory minerals that help reduce the risk of inflammatory diseases such as gout and arthritis.
Tuna enhances brain function
The omega-3 fatty acids in fish have also been found to increase the gray matter in the brain, enhancing cognitive function.
Researchers also suggest that adding foods rich in omega-3 to diet may prevent cognitive decline and protect against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Tuna helps trim your risk of cancer
The antioxidants found in tuna also have anti-cancer properties. Several studies found that tuna consumption may eliminate the risk of kidney and breast cancer.
Tuna keeps your skin healthy
Want your skin to stay healthy and beautiful? Tuna also has the potential to give you just that!
Aside from the B complex contained in this fish that help to maintain your skin’s health, tuna also has a protein called elastin, which helps the skin hold its firmness. Elastin also helps your skin to look healthy and youthful.
How to Add Tuna to Your Diet?
There’s a lot more reason to add tuna to your diet now that you know what it can do for your health and wellness. If you want to reap these amazing health perks, here are some tasty ways on how you can enjoy tuna in your nutritious meal plans:
Add tuna to your breakfast scramble
Perk up your basic scrambled eggs by throwing in canned tuna into the mix! In a bowl, mix a few tablespoons of canned tuna with your scrambled eggs. Cook this mixture in a pan over medium heat.
Tip: You can sprinkle some diced tomatoes on top of your breakfast scramble and dash with your favorite dressing.
Savor a delicious tuna steak for dinner
Grilled tuna steak for dinner? We’re totally digging it! Season your tuna steak with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and grill each side for 2 to 2 ½ minutes.
Tip: Throw in some crunchy veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots to your dinner plate for that extra nutritional punch.
Make a healthy tuna burger
Craving for a burger? Satisfy your craving and enjoy the health perks of tuna by swapping ground beef for a homemade tuna patty!
Add tuna to your favorite pasta dish
Try a new element in your favorite pasta recipes by using tuna! It will not only boost your pasta’s texture and flavor value but nutritional content as well.
Make a tuna pizza
Who says you need to give up pizza altogether? If you’re craving for this often-sinful treat but don’t want to grow your waistline, making your own tuna pizza is a healthier substitute!
This yummy food idea not only contains lower carbohydrates but essential nutrients from the tuna and fresh veggies as well!
How to Choose the Best Tuna?
While tunas are chock-full of important nutrients, it is still best to make sure that you are getting only the best quality ones to reap its maximum benefits to your health. Here are some tips on choosing the best tuna:
If you're sushi or grilled steak lover, fresh tuna may be your best bet. Take note, though, that the most important consideration in your purchase is the size of the fish and its mercury content.
Keep in mind this general guideline: The bigger the fish, the higher its mercury content. Among the bigger types that contain high amounts of mercury are albacore, bigeye, and yellowfin.
Experts say a person weighing 150 pounds can avoid exposing himself or herself to excessive and potentially dangerous amounts of mercury, by limiting the intake of bigeye tuna to 2 ½ to 3 ounces per week.
Canned tuna may either be packed with oil or water. While both taste delicious, especially the fancier imported ones, it is ideal to choose canned tuna in water. Why?
Canned tuna in oil is three times fatter and fewer in calories compared with its water-packed counterpart. They make a great addition for smaller servings, though, such as in salads to be shared with guests.
But if your taste preference dictates canned tuna in oil, it will help to drain some of the oil off.
What are the Potential Risks of Eating Tuna?
Due to the high amounts of mercury contained in some fish like tuna, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and young children are strongly advised to limit consumption to 12 ounces of seafood per week.
Canned tuna (skipjack) is considered safer for consumption, but at-risk people may need to take lower amounts of certain tuna species.
Canned or fresh, tuna surely has something valuable to offer for your health! Just make sure that you are taking it in appropriate amounts to avoid mercury toxicity.
Also, if you have certain health concerns or are taking certain medications, it is best to seek advice from your doctor first if tuna can be a part of your diet. Otherwise, enjoy it and its health perks!