To include oily fish in your meals is essential for a balanced diet. One of the most prized fish is tuna. Very nutritious and easily accessible, this fish has many health benefits. However, its consumption should be limited, because it can also be hazardous to the health.
Fresh or canned tuna very often can be found on our tables. In a salad or sandwich, baked or sushi, this fish is easy to prepare and above all it’s delicious. Besides being affordable, tuna is also very rich in nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids and protein required for the proper functioning of the body. One could almost speak of a perfect food if it does not pose some health hazards!
Really, this fat fish with multiple benefits can also be harmful because it is contaminated with mercury, a metal very dangerous for the health, classified among the most harmful chemicals by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Mercury, health hazard
Mercury is a naturally occurring metal in nature (air, sea and land). This is a toxic and hazardous material, which can be found in different forms with varying degrees of toxicity. This metal is particularly dangerous for children, infants and pregnant women.
Also mercury can be found in different products such as batteries, lamps, dental amalgams and in some cosmetics. But we are mainly exposed when we consume foods that contain it, including fish but more specifically tuna. According to research, mercury, or methyl mercury (a methylated form of mercury), is much more present in predatory fish than in the small fish. However, in highly contaminated areas, even small fish contain much mercury.
According to a survey of the magazine with 60 million readers, fish products sold in the market contain more than just fish. Indeed, the researchers studied nearly 130 products, including 15 cans of canned tuna from different brands, to discover what they really contain, and the results were amazing!
All canned tuna cans contained heavy metals mainly mercury, arsenic and cadmium, all in different doses!
All these metals, including mercury, represent a real danger to the health if consumed in excess. These toxic substances can affect the central nervous system, immune system and increase the risk of developing cancer. Methyl mercury is particularly harmful to the fetus and children, because it can impact their neurological development. This metal can affect the memory, vision or speech.
To avoid health problems, it is important to limit consumption of canned or fresh tuna and to choose less harmful fish!
What species of tuna to consume and how much to consume?
According to various researches, light tuna has less health hazards than longfin tuna (albacore). The latter tend to contain more mercury and therefore it is more harmful to the health.
According to Consumer Reports, American association of consumers, one should limit longfin tuna consumption. For example, a person weighing 150 pounds should stick to one canned tuna per week. Light tuna, however, can be consumed a little more frequently, while not exceeding 3 canes a week. The magazine also recommends that pregnant women should avoid eating tuna in order to avoid any health problems to the fetus.
What are the alternatives?
For pregnant women or to anyone who consumes a lot of fish, it is important to choose the best types, like those fish that contain low levels of mercury. For example:
• Wild salmon
Reference: timetocleanse.com, bodyecology.com