Tuna is a finfish that belongs to the genus Thunnus in the mackerel family (Scombridae). This fish are distributed through out the world from tropical to temperate oceans of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian.
There are eight common species of tuna, including Albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga), Yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares), Blackfin tuna (Thunnus Atlanticus), Bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus), Longtail tuna (Thunnus tonggol), Northern bluefin (Thunnus thynnus), Pacific bluefin (Thunnus orientalis), and the Southern bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii). The most popular and widely consumed species are Albacore and Bluefin tuna.
Tuna fishes are available both fresh and canned. However, only about one percent of these fishes are sold fresh in the American market, while the rest is sold canned.
Tuna is a very popular ingredient in some cuisines. In American cuisine, canned tuna is eaten in sandwiches, salads, and pickles. In Japanese cuisine, fresh tuna is served as sashimi or used on sushi. It is also popular in coastal regions where the fish made by frying, grilling, currying or skewering the fish meat.
Tuna, either fresh or canned, are rich in protein, vitamins, and omega 3 fatty acids that provide a range of health benefits.
Health Benefits of Tuna
- Maintain cardiovascular health
Tuna is an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids which have been shown to support cardiovascular health. It can help promote cardiovascular health by increasing the concentration of good (HDL) cholesterol in the body. The experts believe that HDL removes excess cholesterol from the blood, preventing the build up of plaque which can clog the arteries.
- Prevent stroke
Since tuna can help prevent blood clots and improves blood flow, it can help prevent the risk of stroke. Eating 1-3 servings of tuna a week is enough to lower your chance of getting stroke.
- Control blood pressure
Fresh tuna is naturally high in potassium but low in sodium, and research has suggests that a diet high in potassium and low in sodium can help control blood pressure. The omega 3 fatty acids found in tuna are also play a role in keeping your blood pressure within the normal range.
- Supports eye health
The high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in tuna is also beneficial for the eye health as they can help prevent age-related macular degeneration and dry eyes.
- Cancer prevention
Studies have shown that eating fish high in omega 3 fatty acids such as tuna may protect against certain cancers such as breast cancer, colon cancer, and kidney cancer.
Other studies have found that consumption of tuna can significantly lower the risk of leukemia as well. The studies show that tuna is a remarkable fish for reducing the risk of leukemia, multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
- Increase cognitive function
Tuna is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which is known to support cognitive function by promoting a healthy blood supply to the brain and lowering inflammation, aiding the transmission of electrical signals in the brain, and thereby reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Improve mood
Tuna is a good source of selenium which is responsible for mood and appetite levels. A lack of selenium will cause unhappy and anxious feelings. The omega 3 fatty acids in tuna are also helps in improving mood levels.
- Aid the detoxification process
Selenium along with omega-3 contained in the tuna, are essential elements for the production of gluthathione peroxidase, an important antioxidant which is critical for a healthy liver, an organ that is responsible for clearing toxins from your body.
Although tuna is a nutrient-dense food, pregnant women and young children should avoid or consume it with caution because the high mercury content in tuna can pose some health risks to their unborn babies and toddlers.