Almost all of us eat tuna fish, with many choosing to put the canned version on their sandwiches almost every day. While you might not think it because of the small cans, tuna fish are actually quite large and can be up to 15 feet long in certain parts of the world. Tuna fishing is a big business no matter what major body of water you’re near, and the biggest ones are found well off the coast.
Canned tuna is only around 100 years old, but has been one of the most affordable and simple ways to get some seafood in your lunch. The type that you eat in canned form is actually Albacore, a lighter tuna that’s considered to be white meat. Though you might find different types of tuna at restaurants, the Albacore is the type that we want to focus on today because it’s so common. Let’s take a look at the nutritional breakdown and proven health benefits that you can get from eating tuna in your diet.
Nutrition of Tuna
There aren’t too many foods where you can get a lot of protein, but not a lot of calories. Tuna certainly fits the bill, as you are getting under 180 calories per one cup serving, and 80 percent of your daily protein recommendation. Also, there are no carbohydrates in tuna. In terms of vitamins, you are getting a full daily dosage of niacin, and more than three quarters of your vitamin B12 needs. You’ll also be getting 27 percent of your vitamin B6 needs.
Other vitamins in smaller amounts include vitamin A, vitamin E, riboflavin and folate. There are plenty of helpful minerals in tuna, too, with selenium being the big one at 177 percent of daily recommendation. Phosphorus and sodium are other big ones at about one quarter recommendation. Coming in around 10 percent of daily value are iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. Another big element is the fatty acids, and you are getting 433 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids in each serving.
Listen To Your Heart
While omega-6 fatty acids might sound good because of the positivity surrounding omega-3s, you actually want to avoid them. Omega-3 fatty acids will help to get rid of the omega-6 fatty acids, helping to boost your heart health, avoiding heart disease down the road. Tuna is packed with this healthy fat that your body needs more of, and will also lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol in the process.
For those with healthy cholesterol (or unhealthy), but are looking to reduce their blood pressure, the same omega-3 fatty acids are very helpful. You may have heard of doctors prescribing fish oil supplements because of the omega-3 fatty acid content, and you can get the same benefit simply from eating seafood such as tuna. While there is quite a bit of sodium in canned varieties, fresh tuna is going to have the most benefit.
Of course your heart is important to your overall health, but don’t forget about your brain! The same reason why doctors prescribe fish oil for your heart is the same for your brain, because of the omega-3 fatty acids. It’s been shown in studies that taking a healthy amount of omega-3 in your diet can drastically reduce your chances of developing neurological problems such as Alzheimer’s as you age.
Tuna will also help your day-to-day brain function, improving your cognitive skills and memory. Niacin also has a big part in that, as it helps to protect your brain cells. Even if you just need a little boost in your day, tuna has been shown to be packed with nutrients that can help you either avoid depression symptoms, or depression altogether.
Don’t Get Ill
You typically think of fruit when it comes to vitamin C, and not meat of any sort. Tuna does provide your body with a vitamin C boost, though, which will help your immune system. Along with minerals such as zinc and other antioxidants, your body will be able to fight off diseases and get through them much faster thanks to tuna.
Selenium also doesn’t get enough love in the public for being an immune booster, but it should. Selenium can be difficult to find in foods, but tuna has more than just about any that you can find. On top of all of that, tuna has shown evidence of being able to reduce your chances of contracting different types of cancers. Some that were included were colon, breast and mouth cancer.
All of the antioxidants that you can find in tuna are very beneficial for your skin and hair, for those that want to look their best. Tuna has a ton of different helpful nutrients that can help your skin maintain elasticity and fight off free radicals that cause early signs of aging. Protein also plays a big part, as you can grow nails that are thicker and healthier. The same also applies for your hair.
The first thing that a lot of people notice about you are your eyes. You can keep your eyes healthy by eating more tuna, avoiding problems such as macular degeneration in later years. Tuna also helps you to prevent dry eyes throughout the day, as dry eyes can lead to problems both temporarily and permanently.
Obviously another big part of appearance is weight, which a lot of people are concerned about. Tuna is a perfect diet food as it is low in calories, while also very filling because of the protein. That same protein is going to help boost your muscle growth. The more muscle you have, the better your metabolism as you burn more calories throughout the day. If you’ve seen anyone on a diet eating tuna salad (or just straight from the can), they’re on the right track.
Summing it Up
Even with all of the great health benefits that you can get from tuna (and other fish), there are always those that are quick to point out the negatives. There isn’t too much to actually worry, especially if you’re eating the recommended amount of tuna. Since tuna is preserved with a lot of sodium, those that are watching their salt intake might want to take it easy on tuna, unless you can find the raw version at a restaurant or market. If that’s the case, then there’s not going to be much salt.
While tuna does have a lot of omega-3 fatty acids that can be very beneficial, you don’t want to overdo it. An overdose of omega-3 fatty acids can be hazardous to your health in a few different ways. There is also the concern of mercury when it comes to any seafood, but getting your tuna from a reputable source should eliminate those concerns. Other than that, you should be eating tuna about once per week for the perfect amount of nutrients in your diet, and not everyday like some people do. Just be smart with your nutrients, and you’ll start seeing the benefits!