A tuna is a saltwater fish scientifically known as Thunnini. It is part of the mackerel family. Tunas migrate long distances over all the world’s oceans and occupy tropical, temperate, and calmer waters. Their unique body structure facilitates them to cruise through fast, up to 75 km/h.
They migrate across all oceans and can dive beyond 3,000 feet. Also, they have a life span of 3-5 years to even two decades. They are common in temperate and subtropical waters apart from black waters and the Mediterranean Sea.
All variants have similar health benefits. Tuna is enjoyed globally in a wide array of cuisines. Their global availability, nutrient value makes them an exceptional replacement for red meat. Asian Australian and European cuisines use Tuna fish liberally and develop culinary delights enjoyed by all.
Tuna is well known for its health benefits. So it’s added in the preparation of delicious dishes like steaks, salads, burgers etc. But, unfortunately, they are endangered as one hunts them for food and sports.
Varieties of Tuna
There are eight migratory species of Tuna. The most commonly known varieties of Tuna are the “light” tuna and white Tuna, aka skipjack and Albacore, respectively.
Albacore Bigeye tunaBlackfin tunaNorthern bluefin tunaYellowfin tunaSouthern bluefin tunaSkipjackLongtail tuna
Nutritional Properties of Tuna
Tuna is a commercially valued fish. It is one of the most popular and sought-after varieties of seafood globally due to its meaty flavour and nutritional value. In addition, Tuna is an immense source of vitamins and minerals.
One hundred grams of tuna contain:
Calories-144 kcalCholesterol-60 mgTotal fat- 4.9gProtein- 23.3 gSodium 47-mgPotassium-522 mg
Health Benefits of Tuna Fish
The Tuna is tasty and healthy. It is a rich source of protein and essential nutrients like Omega-3 fatty acids. In addition, it has no fat.
Tuna is a heart-healthy food. In addition, it is an excellent source of vitamin B12. Therefore, it is vital for DNA and RBC synthesis. Tuna has comprehensive health benefits. Let us evaluate them here.
1. Heart-healthy and Prevents Cardiac Disorders
According to a study, the extensive amount of omega-3 fatty acids in tuna fish reduces bad cholesterol or LDL cholesterol. This cholesterol deposits along the arteries of the heart and causes damage. Omega-3 enables the smooth functioning of pumping and circulation of blood across the body. Studies state that regular intake of omega-3 reduces the risks of cardiovascular disease.
2. Lowers Blood Pressure
Tuna has a good content of potassium which helps with the regulation of blood pressure. Potassium, along with Omega-3 fatty acids, induces an anti-inflammatory effect. Therefore, it aids in lowering blood pressure, risk of stroke and heart attacks.
3. Lowers Triglycerides
According to research, the triglycerides in your blood are the unhealthy fat circulating in your body. They have a connection with LDL or bad cholesterol. The natural oil of Tuna elevates the HDL or good cholesterol to combat the harmful effects of triglyceride.
4. Strengthens your Immune System
Manganese, selenium, vitamin C and zinc are essential to improve immunity levels. Tuna fish is a great source of these micronutrients. Moreover, the antioxidants combat the free radicals to prevent infections and control metabolism at the cellular level.
5. Tuna Prevents Eye disorders
Another health benefit of Tuna is the omega-3, it sharpens your visual acuity and overall eye health. In addition, Omega-3 caters to overall retinal health. With age, macular degeneration disrupts your vision and results in blindness. The Omega-3 acids effectively interrupt this condition.
A study subjecting 40,000 health professionals proved that those who had the prescribed intake of Tuna observed 68% reduced dry eye symptoms.
6. Reduces Risk of Cancer
Tuna’s omega-3 fatty acids restrict the growth and multiplication of tumour cells. The antioxidants are anti-inflammatory and inhibit inflammation. In addition, they fight cancerous cells.
Antioxidants are vital because cancer has linkages with chronic inflammation. Therefore, regular consumption of the prescribed amount of Tuna reduces the risk of cancer.
7. Aids in Weight Management
As per a study, Tuna is lean meat. It is full of protein, nutrients and is low in calories and fat. It keeps you satiated for a long time. As a result, it prevents you from unhealthy snacking. Tuna balances calorie intake, thereby regulating weight.
8. Improves bone health
Tuna is a rich source of vitamin B and antioxidants.
Vitamin B strengthens bone and prevents fracture. In addition, the antioxidants prevent inflammatory diseases and bone resorption. As a result, daily intake ensures better bone health, another health benefit of tuna.
Tuna is also a good source of vitamin D. It may help to enhance the absorption of many essential minerals. It includes calcium, magnesium, and phosphate. These are vital for metabolism and other biological effects. It also reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
9. Improves Skin Health
As per research, tuna comprises a protein called elastin. It helps to maintain skin elasticity and a smooth skin tone. In addition, the Vitamin B complex in tuna helps to synthesise new healthy skin cells.
10. Provides Energy
The essential nutrients and vitamins in tuna help with the functionality and metabolism of your body. It helps to keep you energetic, active and healthy. Moreover, Tuna is a natural way to boost your immunity.
11. Boosts Blood Circulation
Tuna is an excellent source of iron and vitamin B. Often, the circulatory system may clog down with fat deposits. In most cases, it’s due to unhealthy dietary habits.
Iron boosts blood circulation. Vitamin B is essential for red blood cell synthesis. In particular, Vitamin B3 may help improve blood circulation and lower bad cholesterol. In addition, B3 also lowers bad cholesterol in the blood. Therefore, Iron and Vitamin B contribute to the wellness of the circulatory system. Tuna is rich in both.
12. Antidepressant and Anti-Anxiety Properties
Omega-3 fatty acids play a vital role in your brain’s functions. Studies show omega-3 fatty acids may help cure depression. Regular intake of Tuna proves more effective than antidepressants. This study broke people into the Placebo group, Prozac, and Tuna groups. The highest reduction in stress was in the tuna group.
Selenium is another nutrient in Tuna which controls mood. Research shows that selenium deficiency triggers anxiety and omega-3 acids also improve your psychological balance.
13. Diabetes Management by Tuna
Tuna is free of carbohydrates. It is laden with essential nutrients for diabetes management. Alongside, the omega-3 acids and the antioxidants control the insulin levels. It boosts insulin response. Therefore, we recommend dietary intake of tuna twice per week.
14. Brain development and Nervous System
The omega -3 acids in tuna meat play an essential role in boosting brain functions. It happens when oxygenated blood in a clean bloodstream circulates in the brain. The omega-3 acids help reduce the fat accumulation in blood vessels, allowing smooth blood flow. It also boosts memory and reduces memory disorders in Alzheimer’s.
12. Inhibits Risk of Dementia
Strokes and vascular brain injuries alter your cognitive function and memory. A balanced intake of omega-3 fatty acids may inhibit the progression of dementia. They, along with antioxidants, hinder the inflammatory changes at the cellular level. As a result, it lowers the risk of impaired vascular cognitive function and symptoms of dementia.
13. Inhibits cell damage
Proteins in Tuna are simplified into peptides. These peptides help cell membranes improve cellular-level metabolism. As a result, it helps regulate the structure and function of your body’s tissues and organs. Tuna is an excellent source of protein and hence it helps to prevent cell damage.
The vital nutrients and antioxidants contain anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, the minerals and good cholesterol or HDL, in tuna, improve the efficiency of essential nutrients. Therefore, this results in healthy body function and the prevention of inflammatory arthritic disorder.
15. Helps Prevent Anaemia
Anaemia is a condition when the body lacks enough red blood cells to transport oxygen. Some of its symptoms are muscle weakness, blurred vision, fatigue. It can be a result of a deficiency of folate, Vitamin B12, and iron. Tuna is a rich source of these nutrients and hence may prove helpful to reverse this condition.
Now you have enough reasons to make Tuna a part of your daily diet, to be healthier. So let us find how to include it in your diet and a few simple healthy tuna recipes.
Healthy Recipes Using Tuna
There are countless ways to include Tuna into your diet. Tuna is a powerhouse of essential nutrients. Add Tuna to your salad, soups, cooked beans, tomatoes, and pasta.
1. Curried Tuna Salad
Servings: 2Cooking Time: 5 min
Low-fat Greek yoghurt- 2 tablespoonLime Juice – 4 teaspoons Curry powder- 1 teaspoonCinnamon powder-1 teaspoonFresh white tuna-3-ounce (85.05g)Salt-to tasteCarrot chopped-1/2 cupOnion chopped-1/2 cupAvocado sliced and deseeded-1/2 cupParsley chopped-2 tablespoon
Blend the yoghurt, lime juice, curry powder, cinnamon powder, and salt in a bowl.Add the cooked tuna Toss wellAdd the carrots, onions and and stir wellNext, add the avocadoSprinkle chopped parsley Serve cold
2. Tuna Soup
Serves-2Cooking Time– 15 minutes
Cooked Tuna Fish-1 cup (250 ml measuring cup)Oil-2 tablespoonFish broth-2 cupsWater-1/2 cupsGarlic grated-1 teaspoonGinger grated-1 teaspoon Black Pepper crushed- 2 teaspoonSalt- to tasteMushrooms sliced- ½ cupsCapsicum chopped-1/2 cup
Put oil into a heated panAdd garlic and gingerSauté these ingredients for 2 minutesAdd capsicum, mushroom and the cooked TunaCook for another 2 minutesAdd pepper and mix the fish broth along with water in the same panBring to a rolling boilSimmer and let it reduce for another 5 minutesServe hot
Side Effects and Allergic Reactions of Tuna
There may be some risk of foodborne sickness on any food. Seafood is nothing different. Seafood allergy is one of the most common food allergies found in people. Certain species of fish, including tuna, may cause an allergic or anaphylactic reaction in some people.
Tuna being rich in histamine can cause histamine toxicity. Histamine is a compound released by cells in response to any allergy injury or inflammatory reactions.
Symptoms of histamine are similar to food allergy. It manifests as wheezing, itching on the tongue and oral mucosa, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting. If you experience a similar reaction, report immediately to your health care provider.
Canned tuna may have traces of mercury content, leading to reproductive and autoimmunity disorders. It may also cause cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
Expectant mothers should avoid raw tuna due to its high mercury content, also since they avert food poisoning raw fish should be avoided.
The FDA suggests two-three servings of light Tuna per week and a single serving per week of white tuna to restrict any adverse effects from mercury content.
Tuna fish from all oceans have similar health benefits. Their global availability, nutrient value makes them an exceptional replacement for red meat. It finds a great fit in Asian Australian and European cuisines.
One can cook up a variety of healthy dishes with tuna. It involves steaks, salads, burgers and furthermore. Unfortunately, tuna is on the verge of extinction. They are declared endangered species as they are hunters’ favourites. .
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Is tuna fish healthy for you?
A. Yes, tuna fish is healthy due to high omega-three fatty acids levels. It reduces LDL cholesterol and prevents fat accumulation in arteries. Therefore, they reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Q. Which is better, Tuna or salmon?
A. Both tuna and salmon are nutritious. Salmon is also rich in omega-three fatty acids and vitamin D and additionally, Tuna has high protein with low calories.
Q. Why is canned Tuna not healthy?
A. Canned tuna is unhealthy due to high mercury, BPA, and histamine toxicity risks. BPA is a chemical in canned foods which precipitates health disorders. The disorders include childhood asthma, reproductive issues, affects immunity etc.
Q. Is Tuna Good for Your Brain?
A. Yes, it is suitable for brain health. Omega 3 fatty acids and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) enhance brain health. Having antioxidants boost memory and thus including tuna in your meal benefits your brain.
Q. Is Tuna good for skin?
A. Yes, the antioxidants, collagen and elastin in tuna help nourish your skin. It preserves collagen in your skin and keeps it firmer.
Q. Is Tuna healthier than chicken?
A. Yes, tuna is healthier than chicken. It contains essential nutrients, high omega-three fatty acids, and antioxidants. However, chicken is higher in calories, protein and saturated fat.
Q. Is Tuna high in protein?
A. Yes, it is a high source of protein, with low fat and low calories. For example, raw tuna fish per 100g provides around 24 gm of protein. It is approximately 50% of the Daily Value (DV).
Q. Is Tuna bad for your heart?
A. No, tuna is a heart-healthy food. It has high levels of omega-three fatty acids that ensure heart health.
Q. Is Tuna a Superfood?
A. Yes, it is a superfood due to its high omega3 fatty acids, antioxidant properties and essential nutrients. Salmon also belongs to the same category.
Q. Does eating tuna help your hair grow?
A. Tuna is excellent for hair growth due to high protein, magnesium, potassium and a host of B vitamins. These are pivotal to healthy hair growth.
Q. Does Tuna give you pimples?
A. No, Tuna doesn’t give pimples. Instead, omega three fatty acids and fish oil in Tuna boosts skin health.
Q. How many cans of Tuna can you eat in a week?
A. It depends on the type of Tuna you eat. For example, canned light Tuna has a certain amount of mercury. Hence, you should limit yourself to no more than 12 ounces (340.19g) a week.
Q. Can Tuna cause congenital disabilities?
A. Yes, canned Tuna contains toxic mercury. It may enter through the food chain due to industrial pollution. In addition, it may cause nervous defects in foetuses and children.
Q. What does Tuna do to a baby?
A. Omega-3 fatty acids like DHA, and other nutrients in Tuna, helps in the proper growth and development of the baby. Therefore, it is safe to start giving your baby Tuna from around six months of age.
Q. Which fish is good for pregnancy?
A. Salmon, light Tuna, and shrimp are a few of the safe fish during pregnancy. However, it must be limited to up to 2 servings a week to avoid any adverse effects.
Q. Can overeating tuna cause miscarriage?
A. Tuna has mercury content which may impact the foetus development. Check with your doctor before including Tuna in your diet during pregnancy.
Q. Can eating Tuna while pregnant cause autism?
A. No, eating tuna while pregnant does not increase your child’s chance of having autism. In addition, it is beneficial for the development of a healthy nervous system.
Q. Is tuna fish good for building muscle?
A. Tuna has high protein required for building muscle. But it is also essential to get enough fat to make it work. Hence, a jar or can of Tuna in oil might be a better choice than light Tuna.
Q. How much protein is in 100g of Tuna?
A. There are approximately 25-28 grams of protein in 100g of Tuna. Therefore, it is the nutritional value of canned Tuna. On the other hand, 100g of fresh cooked Tuna has approximately 32 grams of protein.
Q. How many calories are in 100g of Tuna?
A. There are approximately 102 calories in 100g of Tuna. Therefore, it is the nutritional value of canned Tuna. On the other hand, 100g of fresh cooked Tuna has 136 calories.
Q. Does tuna fish raise blood sugar?
A. No tuna has high- protein and doesn’t affect blood sugar levels, and it doesn’t have a Glycemic index value. So, it doesn’t raise blood sugar levels.
Q. Can a person with diabetes eat fish every day?
A. Fish is excellent for people suffering from diabetes. Vitamin D deficiency is common in people with diabetes. Therefore, fish is an excellent source of dietary vitamin D for diabetics, as long as they can eat them in moderation.
Q. Which fish is bad for diabetes?
A. Shark, swordfish, and tilefish have high mercury content. Mercury content increases the chance of diabetes.