Is Tuna a Healthy Protein Source? We Look at the Facts

Is Tuna a Healthy Protein Source? We Look at the Facts

Canned or fresh, raw or pan-seared, tuna is incredibly popular throughout the world. We look at its key health benefits.

Tuna is rich in potassium.

As one of seven essential macrominerals, potassium is necessary for bodily function. Experts recommend a minimum intake of 100mg of potassium each day to support key biological processes. In addition to tuna, other foods rich in potassium include bananas, sweet potatoes, milk, and orange juice.

Potassium helps lower blood pressure. It balances the negative effects of salt. Experts have established that potassium can lower the risk of stroke. It preserves bone density, protecting muscle mass. Potassium reduces the risk of kidney stones. Researchers estimate that a diet high in potassium can reduce the overall risk of mortality by as much as 20 percent.  

Tuna contains vitamin C, zinc, manganese and selenium.

Each one of these antioxidants boosts the immune system.

Antioxidants neutralize free radicals. These are unstable molecules, which left unchecked can cause oxidative stress, harming cells and impairing important biological processes. Studies show that oxidative stress can cause or contribute to a variety of conditions, including immune deficiency, inflammatory and respiratory disease, stroke, heart disease and cancer.

Antioxidants act as free radical scavengers, boosting overall health and immunity. In people who are older, studies show that the effects of macular degeneration can be slowed with antioxidant supplements.

Tuna is a source of iron.

Iron is integral to the production of red blood cells that transport oxygen to tissue and organs throughout the human body. It also plays an important role in the immune system. We need iron in our daily diets.

People with iron deficiencies may experience hair loss, extreme fatigue, compromised immunity, and even strange cravings for non-food substances, like dirt, chalk, or clay. Of course, eating non-food substances can be harmful, and can actually impede the body ability to absorb iron.

Other healthy sources of iron include meat; spinach, broccoli, and other green vegetables; nuts; dried fruit; and whole grains.

Tuna is low in saturated fat and high in protein.

Protein helps build lean muscle. It is an essential part of a healthy diet, playing a key role in metabolism. Studies show that a protein-rich diet can help with weight loss, helping burn more calories and keep hunger in check. By maintaining a leaner body, we burn more fat.

Tuna is an important source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Nutritionists have observed for some time the beneficial effects of omega-3 fatty acids. They are good for our joints, our hearts, and our moods. Studies suggest that omega-3 aids sleep, lowers blood pressure, soothes the skin, and can even boost memory.

A team of Spanish scientists discovered that omega-3 supplements can help ease eczema and psoriasis. It helps the body create important hormones, such as melatonin, which is vital to a good night’s sleep.

Omega-3 fatty acids help blood vessels dilate, reducing the amount of work the heart needs to do to pump blood around the body. This lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke. Omega-3 is also beneficial to people with diabetes.

Research suggests that DHA contained in omega-3 fatty acids aids communication between nerve cells in the brain. This may sharpen thinking and improve memory. Studies show that by taking omega-3 supplements for six months, patients can experience a tangible improvement in cognitive function.

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Tuna contains vitamin B.

It contains particularly high concentrations of vitamin B12, an important nutrient that keeps blood and nerve cells healthy. How much vitamin B12 a person needs largely depends upon their age. The National Institutes of Health currently recommend that adults consume around 2.4mcg of vitamin B12 per day.

People who do not consume enough vitamin B12 can develop a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia. It causes chronic weakness and fatigue. Vitamin B12 deficiency can also cause numbness and/or tingling in the hands or feet, impaired appetite and weight loss, balance problems, poor memory and confusion, and soreness in the mouth or tongue.

Other foods rich in this important nutrient include meat, other types of fish as well as other seafood, and dairy products. Some breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamin B12, as well as several other key nutrients.

A collaboration between British and Norwegian scientists recently indicated that vitamin B could have a positive impact on Alzheimer’s disease. In a two-year study, researchers found that by administering large, daily doses of vitamin B, they could slow or even halt progression of Alzheimer’s disease, effectively halving the rate of daily brain shrinkage.

Canned tuna is an inexpensive source of key nutrients.

The tuna canning industry dates back over a century. In the US alone, we eat around a billion pounds of preserved tuna every year. With almost a quarter of us eating tuna at least once a week, it ranks a close second to salmon as America’s most popular fish.

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