Have you ever tasted sushi in an Asian restaurant? It has a distinctive taste, isn’t it? That’s probably because of the tuna fish in it. This fish not only treats your taste buds but also is a powerhouse of essential nutrients which are beneficial for your health. Different types of tuna fish such as bluefin, yellowfin and bullet tuna are found all over the world.
Approximately 40,000 metric tons of tuna fish are caught in a year. When it comes to the global market, these bluefin species generate an income of $2 billion to $2.5 billion. These fishes have both recreational and commercial value. And due to this reason, tuna fishing is undertaken in many countries.
In 2009, the estimated total catch of tuna and tuna-like species increased considerably and reached about 6.5 million globally, compared to an estimate of 1 million in 1950.
What is Tuna Fish?
The term Tuna gets derived from “Thunnus,” and these fishes are classified into Thunnus-the bluefin group and neothunnus-the yellowfin group. It is a streamlined fish with two dorsal fins on its back. These fishes are present in tropical and temperate waters and are capable of maintaining the temperature of their body above the ambient seawater(1).
The body of tuna fish has intertwined arteries and veins. Most fishes have white flesh and have muscle tissue ranging from dark red to pink. It is primarily because of myoglobin – an oxygen-binding molecule, which is present in huge quantities in tuna.
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Tuna Nutritional Facts
Tuna fish has loads of vitamins, minerals, and other organic compounds. Tuna is high in omega 3 fatty acids. But it contains only 2% of the daily recommended dosage of fats. It is also rich in vitamin D and selenium(2). The carbohydrate content of these fishes is very less as it contains almost no sugar. Here is a dietary chart that shows the nutritional composition of tuna fish for a fillet serving:
|Serving Size||One fillet|
Health Benefits of Tuna
Is Tuna healthy? Yes, Tuna fish is a superfood with high nutritional value and amazing health benefits. The biggest health benefit of eating a tuna fish is that it keeps your heart healthy. The high level of omega 3 fatty acids present in this fish, reduce bad cholesterol. In addition, the potassium present in tuna fish reduces blood pressure, thus preventing heart attacks and strokes.
There are many well-established health benefits of tuna fishes like eye care, boosting the immune system and energy levels. These fishes also possess anti-cancer properties because of the selenium present in it.
‘10’ Benefits of Tuna Fish
Let us take a detailed look about the tuna health benefits
1. Cancer Prevention
Tuna is rich in selenium that has some anti-oxidant properties and is effective in treating cancer. Some studies suggest that consuming tuna fish can reduce the occurrence of breast cancer while some suggest that it prevents kidney cancer. Omega-3 fatty acids present in tuna fish also help fight colon cancer.
2. Reduction of Inflammation
Tuna fishes contain healthy cholesterol. They also have some anti-inflammatory vitamins which reduce inflammation and treat diseases like gout and arthritis.
3. Heart Health
As mentioned earlier, these fishes are rich in omega 3 fatty acids(3). This component, in turn, reduces the omega-6 fatty acids and cholesterol in the blood vessels and arteries. It significantly helps in improving heart health.
4. Improves Blood Circulation
Tuna fishes are a great source of iron and vitamin B. These two are important in RBC formation. It can prevent people especially women from becoming anemic.
5. Helps in Weight Loss
The omega 3 fatty acids simulate a hormone known leptin that controls our body’s internal desire for food intake. So, you don’t end up overeating and have a proper dietary intake along with all its nutrients.
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6. Treats Depression
A good intake of any fish fights depression. Tuna fish oil treats depression more effectively. Consuming tuna fish 3-4 times a week helps in treating depression and is or more effective than the prescribed drug Prozac. Moreover, there are no side effects.
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7. Boosts Immune System
Tuna fishes are rich in antioxidants as they contain zinc, vitamin C and manganese. These anti-oxidants are the body’s answer to free radicals that cause chronic diseases. They also contain selenium in high quantities.
8. Cell Membrane Damage
Tuna fish is broken into peptides when cooked. On heating, they become anti-oxidants that target cell membranes and keep them healthy.
9. Energy Levels
Tuna fishes are rich in vitamin B which is vital in increasing metabolism and improving the efficiency of all organs. With regular consumption, you can increase your energy levels.
10. Growth and Development
Tuna fish is full of proteins. Its single serving constitutes 80% of the required daily protein(4). Proteins are building blocks and help in faster growth and quicker recovery from any illness or disease.
Here are some recipes that you can try for a tastier and healthier meal.
Quick Tuna Salad
It is the easiest way of eating tuna fish. It’s very simple and healthy
- Seven ounces solid white tuna
- One tablespoon pickle
- ¼ cup creamy salad dressing
- Mash tuna together with the salad dressing and serve it in a bowl.
Mediterranean Tuna Pasta
- Five-ounce cans of tuna drained and packed in olive oil.
- One tomato cut in half. Take the extra juice out.
- 1/4 cup pitted and coarsely chopped Kalamata olives.
- 1/4 cup red onion chopped.
- Two Tbsp. chopped parsley.
- One Tbsp. capers, coarsely chopped.
- Two teaspoons lemon juice.
- Two Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (more if you are using tuna packed in water)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Pinch of fresh ground black pepper
- 3/4 pound fusilli pasta, dry
- One cup Mozzarella cheese, grated
- Boil water for pasta
- Combine drained tuna with olives, tomato, onion, capers, parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, pepper, and salt.
- Add the pasta to boiling water and cook till soft.
- Drain pasta and add the tuna mixture and some cheese.
- Serve warm.
Tuna Protein Pot
- One large egg
- 80g beans
- One tomato
- 120 g tuna in spring water
- 1-1/2 to 2 French dressing
- Boil the eggs and at the same time cook green beans for 6 minutes.
- Cool both under running water and carefully quarter the egg.
- Pack the beans into a lunch pot and top it with tuna, tomato, and egg.
Side Effects of Tuna Fish
There are of course some side effects of tuna fish. Of course, only when consumed moderately!
- The high content of mercury causes a problem in coordination.
- Consumption in large quantities may increase the chances of a heart attack.
- All seafood can cause food poisoning, even tuna.
Tips and Precautions to Keep in Mind While Consuming Tuna Fish
Here are some precautions that you have to follow before consuming tuna fish
- Avoid eating tuna if you have an allergy to seafood.
- Avoid eating high mercury tuna fish types like bigeye eye tuna.
- Avoid eating tuna fish variants when you are pregnant.
Tuna fishes are highly nutritious and are low in calories. The rarest selenium is present in these fishes. So when you eat this fish, remember that you get a dose of antioxidants. Even the oil of these fishes is super powerful. There is a saying that tasty food isn’t normally healthy. Tuna fishes, in turn, prove it wrong.
There can never be a tastier way than eating a tuna o get healthy. Get healthy today, try a tuna recipe now and witness the positive changes in your body and mind.