30 Apr 2018

Is Tuna Good for You?

World Tuna Day, established by the United Nations (UN) on May 2, will be observed tomorrow to raise awareness about the importance of tuna and to promote more sustainable fishing practices.

Let us, on this occasion, find out more about this fish which several countries rely upon for its nutritional and economic value.

Most of us love tuna. It’s a great dinner treat or a healthy, flavour-filled snack – tuna mayonnaise sandwiches and salads – in minutes.

There’s the small matter of mercury. More on that later, but first, why has tuna found its way so emphatically into our hearts and stomachs?

Is tuna good for you?

No question, tuna is rich in all kinds of things we humans need. For a start, it’s full of high-quality proteins and contains almost no fat; great for dieters and the health-conscious alike.

All the essential amino acids we need for growth and to promote lean muscles can also put their hands up; they’re all present. Oh, and if you’re feeling like a big boost of heart-happy omega-3 fatty acids, whip open a tin of tuna. A 150 grams serving of tuna contains 300-400 milligrams of marine-sourced omega-3s (EPA and DHA). Yes, it’s not just fresh tuna; canned tuna is good for you too.  Or is it?

Mercury in fish

According to extensive research, tuna, like other large fish, contain traces of mercury, an element that tends to affect the nervous system. Yet, even in its most mercury-filled state, tuna poses no real threat to most of us if we exercise a little moderation.

That said, there are certain people who should avoid tuna. Pregnant women and nursing mothers should not touch tuna throughout pregnancy and while breastfeeding as the developing nervous system in the unborn baby is particularly sensitive to mercury. Likewise, babies and young children may not react well to tuna’s mercury content, so it is better to keep it out of their diet. Or at least limit it.

Mercury can be toxic to a young child’s nervous system. The more tuna your children eat, the greater the risk becomes. Suffice to say, it pays to err on the side of caution.

Is canned tuna healthy?

When it comes to tuna, there are a few basic tuna guidelines for the rest of us.

Many experts suggest that two servings of fish per week is a good rule of thumb. If that fish happens to be tuna, perhaps make one of the steak variety and one of the tinned variety just to keep the mercury at bay.

Last year, Greenpeace Australia Pacific published a canned tuna guide which distinguished among the various Australian canned tuna brands. Find out which canned tuna brand is the best one for you here.

Is tuna good for your diet?

There’s no question of that. Tuna is a wonderful addition to any diet. It’s full of goodness and extremely low in fat. As with any diet addition, the key is moderation, especially with the added mercury considerations.

If you mix tuna in with a varied diet of lean meat – chicken and other forms of fish – as well as fruit and vegetables, you’re on the right track to a leaner you.

Take your love for healthy eating and practicing good nutrition to the next level with our 10967 NAT Diploma of Nutrition courseEnquire now and speak to one of our Careers Advisors for more information.

Get in touch with AIPT today.

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