Tuna is a saltwater fish that belongs to the genus Thunnus in the mackerel family (Scombridae) which also includes bonitos, albacore, and mackerels. However, tuna belong to a tribe, called Thunnini. This “tribe” consists of 15 species of tuna, most of which are appreciated around the world in some sort of culinary tradition.
The fish are distributed throughout the world from tropical to temperate oceans of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian. Their delicious taste, global availability, and healthy components make them an ideal replacement for red meat or for those who like to add some healthy variety to their diets. Japan is the highest consumer of fresh tuna, while the US is the highest consumer of canned tuna. Other common species of tuna are bluefin, ahi, albacore, and big eye. Japan, Indonesia, and the Philippines are the top tuna catchers. The taste of tuna fish makes it perfect for eating as a tuna steak, in “burger” form, as a spread with mayonnaise on crackers or bread, in tuna salad, or any number of other varieties.
Tuna Nutrition Facts
This nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1 can (165g) of light tuna, packed in water (without salt) and drained.1
- Calories: 191
- Fat: 1.4g
- Sodium: 83mg
- Carbohydrates: 0g
- Fiber: 0g
- Sugar: 0g
- Protein: 42g
Nutritional Importance Of Tuna
Tuna is a popular type of fish that is known for its high protein and nutrient content. It is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for maintaining heart health and reducing the risk of certain chronic diseases. Tuna is also a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B12, niacin, and selenium.
One of the main nutritional benefits of tuna is its high protein content. Protein is an essential nutrient that is necessary for building and repairing tissues, as well as for maintaining muscle mass. Tuna is a particularly good source of protein for those following a vegetarian or vegan diet, as it is a complete protein that contains all nine essential amino acids.
In addition to its protein content, tuna is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and are thought to help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. They may also be beneficial for brain health, as they have been shown to improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of depression and anxiety.
Tuna is also a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B12, which is important for maintaining healthy nerve function and the production of red blood cells. Niacin, another nutrient found in tuna, is important for maintaining healthy skin and proper digestion. Selenium, a trace mineral found in tuna, is important for maintaining healthy immune function and may help to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.
Overall, tuna is a nutritious and tasty addition to any diet. Its high protein and nutrient content make it an excellent choice for maintaining good health and well-being.
Tuna doesn’t contain any carbohydrates, fiber, or sugar.
Tuna is high in omega-3 fatty acids, but low in overall fat, containing less than 2 grams per can for ” light” tuna. Different varieties of tuna, however, have different amounts of fat.2 The following common varieties are listed in order from most to least fatty: fresh bluefin, canned white albacore tuna, canned light tuna, fresh skipjack tuna, and fresh yellowfin tuna.
Tuna is very high in protein. A can of tuna provides 42 grams of complete protein with all of the essential amino acids.
Vitamins and Minerals
Tuna has calcium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, B vitamins, selenium, and choline. Like other canned foods, tuna can be high in sodium. Compare food labels to find low-sodium products or ones with no salt added.
Glycemic Index Of Tuna
The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly a food raises blood sugar levels. Foods with a high GI are rapidly absorbed and can cause a rapid increase in blood sugar, while foods with a low GI are absorbed more slowly and cause a slower increase in blood sugar.
Tuna is a type of fish that is low on the glycemic index, with a GI value of 0. This means that it does not cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels and is a good choice for people with diabetes or other conditions that require a low-GI diet.
One of the main reasons that tuna has a low GI is that it is high in protein and low in carbohydrates. Protein and fats both slow down the absorption of carbohydrates and help to regulate blood sugar levels. Tuna is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of insulin resistance.
In addition to its low GI, tuna is also a good source of nutrients that are important for maintaining good health. It is high in protein, which is necessary for building and repairing tissues, as well as maintaining muscle mass. Tuna is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and may help to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Overall, tuna is a healthy and nutritious food that is low on the glycemic index and can be a good choice for people with diabetes or other conditions that require a low-GI diet. Its high protein and nutrient content make it an excellent choice for maintaining good health and well-being.
Health Benefits of Tuna
The health benefits of eating tuna include:
1)Lower Risk of Heart Disease
The high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in tuna fish may help to reduce the level of omega-6 fatty acids and LDL cholesterol that can accumulate inside the arteries of the heart. Studies have shown that eating more omega-3 is associated with reduced rates of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks.
2)Prevent Vision Problems
The omega-3s in tuna also seem to have a positive effect on eye health. In a study of 40,000 female health professionals, women who ate multiple servings of tuna per week had as much as a 68% lower risk of developing dry eye. Omega-3s are also thought to contribute to the overall health of the retina.
3)Reduced Risk of Cancer
Tuna’s omega-3 fatty acids are also believed to slow the growth of tumor cells and reduce inflammation in the body. This is important because many types of cancer are correlated with chronic inflammation.
4)Support Weight Loss
Tuna is lean meat. It’s relatively high in protein, but low in calories, which means that it keeps you full longer and stops you from eating more. In one study, adolescents who regularly ate lean fish like tuna for several weeks lost an average of two pounds more weight than the control group that didn’t eat fish
5)Helps in controlling blood sugar levels-
Tuna is free of carbohydrates and provides beneficial nutrients for diabetes management. The American Diabetes Association has listed fish high in omega-3s, including albacore tuna, on their list of top 10 superfoods. They officially recommend eating fish twice per week to help manage diabetes
6)Helps prevent anemia-
Tuna contains folate, iron, and B12. A deficiency in any of these micronutrients can lead to various types of anemia. Symptoms of anemia can include muscle weakness, disturbed vision, extreme tiredness, along a host of more serious complications, like infertility. Tuna helps provide a good nutritional basis for the prevention of anemia resulting from nutritional deficiencies.
Because of its potentially higher mercury content, pregnant women and young children should consult with a doctor before eating tuna. Canned tuna contains less mercury than fresh tuna because of the smaller-sized fish used for canning.
The FDA recommends about two or three servings per week of light tuna and only one serving per week of white tuna. This is because of the higher mercury content in white tuna.
The serving size of tuna for a typical adult is about 4 ounces.
Pat fresh tuna dry with paper towels and put it in a heavy-duty zippered plastic bag. Place the bag on top of a bowl of ice cubes or cracked ice and refrigerate. Cook the fish the day you buy it. If you must wait, you can keep it no longer than 24 hours. Freezing degrades the texture and flavor of fish somewhat, but if you must freeze tuna, place it in a freezer-weight plastic bag and freeze it for up to 1 month. Defrost in the refrigerator. You may keep Unopened canned tuna indefinitely.
How to Tuna to your daily diet schedule-
One of the most popular ways to prepare canned tuna is to make a tuna salad. While delicious, the ingredients contained in most recipes undermine many of the nutritional benefits of the fish. Be mindful of the amount of mayonnaise you use and add in vegetables for extra crunch, vitamins, minerals, and fiber such as onions, green peppers, or celery.
There are countless ways to incorporate tuna into a heart-healthy diet. You can combine tuna with tomatoes, salad greens, cooked green beans, and boiled sliced potatoes for a classic salad Niçoise. Stir a can of tuna into a pot of corn chowder for a delicious tuna bisque. You can even make a delicious cold pasta salad with tomatoes, celery, canned kidney beans, and black olives.
Fresh tuna can be grilled or roasted with butter and lemon. If you prefer raw or undercooked tuna, be sure to go to a well-reputed sushi restaurant. There is always some risk of foodborne illness when consuming raw seafood.
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