Are You Eating Too Much Tuna?
We all know that fish is great for us…it’s full or protein and healthy fats like omega-3’s. But we also know that some fish such as tuna contains high levels of mercury which isn’t too great. So how do we find the right balance? Here’s what we know.
For one thing, how much mercury is too much varies from person to person. Factors like body weight play into how we metabolize things, but we also have different sensitivities to mercury so what’s too much for you might not be too much for your buddy. Strangely, no one actually knows how much mercury causes issues because there is no way to test it without making people sick on purpose.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the first warnings about mercury in tuna weren’t actually meant for the general public. The first warnings were for pregnant women, since mercury might lead to some developmental issues with fetuses is some cases. The risks might be lower than we actually think unless were eating excessive amounts of high mercury fish. (And by the way, all seafood contains some mercury, not just tuna.)
Most men would be totally safe eating four cans of tuna a week. Plus, you would probably know if you were developing mercury poisoning, and generally the symptoms can be reversed by not eating more of it. The symptoms of mercury poisoning are pretty out of the ordinary, such as loss of balance and tingling feelings in the body.
What we know for certain is that fish is incredibly good for us most of the time, and that anyone can work it into their diet without harm when it’s within reasonable amounts. Eating fish for every meal might not be the best idea, although some cultures eat a whole lot more fish than the average American so who knows.
Need some motivation to eat more? Research has shown that eating fish might help lower the risks of obesity, heart disease, inflammatory diseases, depression, and keep your brain healthy and strong. Fish is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids which helps to reduce inflammation in the body. The less inflammation we have the better our immune systems work and lower the chance we have of developing any long term or serious diseases.
Not to mention the fact that it can make you happier. The brain is actually highly sensitive to inflammation, which cuts down on proper nerve signaling in the brain. The only thing that will reach the brain and reduce inflammation is having plenty of EPA’s in your blood.
You can also get omega-3’s through a supplement, but fish is a great food for anything watching their calories and heart health. It’s high in protein while being relatively low in calories, so it will fill you up and cut down on cravings between meals. When fish is prepared in healthy ways you can swap it for other meat sources and get more benefits with fewer calories. Plus, it’s delicious.
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About Kate Ferguson Kate Fergus is a Los Angeles local and freelance writer for a variety of blogs and online magazines. When she's not writing, the UC Davis graduate is focused on pursuits of the entertainment industry, spin class, and hot sauce.