You are currently viewing The Health Benefits of Adding Tuna to Your Diet 

The Health Benefits of Adding Tuna to Your Diet 

While fresh tuna can knock a dent in your pocket, its canned counterpart is relatively affordable and widely available.

Tuna has long been considered a staple in many households around the world and it’s not hard to see why. It’s important to note that certain species of tuna contain a high mercury content, which can be harmful to pregnant and breastfeeding women.  

It’s recommended that pregnant and breastfeeding mothers limit the amount of tuna they eat to no more than two tuna steaks (weighing about 140g when cooked or 170g raw) or four medium-sized cans of tuna a week (with a drained weight of about 140g per can). 

Apart from tuna’s delicious meaty taste and texture, it’s an extremely filling and versatile meal ingredient. On top of that, it’s an excellent source of vitamin B12, which is vital to formulating DNA. We take a deep dive into the health benefits of consuming tuna and explore some quick and easy snacks to make for work or at home. 


Health benefits  

Lower your risk of heart disease 

Tuna contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which help to lower triglyceride levels. Too much triglyceride in your body can raise your risk of atherosclerosis, when the arteries are clogged with plaque, which could lead to a heart attack or stroke.  

Since our bodies can’t produce omega-3 fatty acids naturally, we must get them through eating oily fish like salmon and trout, avocado, chia seeds and walnuts.  

Prevent vision problems 

Omega-3 fatty acids are good for your eyes too. They can help to prevent dry-eye syndrome, a common eye condition where your eyes don’t produce enough tears.  

Reduce your risk of cancer and autoimmune diseases 

The omega-3 fatty acids present in tuna are said to reduce chronic inflammation and slow the growth of tumor cells that contribute to cancer. 

Low in fat 

Tuna is a great low-fat protein option for those who are health-conscious or want to watch their intake of saturated fat due to a lifestyle disease. 


Cooking with tuna

Fresh tuna 

Fresh tuna can be used in a multitude of ways. Usually sold in fillets, or ‘steaks’, fresh tuna can be marinated in olive oil and spices and cooked in a grill pan or on the braai. You could also use tuna steaks in place of beef patties to make delicious gourmet tuna burgers or simply serve with roasted vegetables or a side salad.  

Canned tuna   

Canned tuna is incredibly versatile. Here are some ideas to get you started: 

  • Tuna salad bowl – combine canned tuna with red onion, a little bit of mayonnaise or plain yoghurt and arrange in a bowl with lettuce leaves, tomato, cucumber and avo for a light but filling lunch. 
  • Puttanesca pasta sauce – make a traditional Italian marinara sauce using onions and tomatoes and add some kalamata olives and capers for a kick. Serve the puttanesca sauce with your favourite pasta. 
  • Tuna melts – combine tuna with mayonnaise and spring onion and spread over wholewheat or sourdough bread. Top with cheese and grill in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbling. 
  • Tuna fish cakes – combine tuna with mashed canned cannellini beans, parsley, breadcrumbs and an egg. Shape into patties and shallow fry until golden brown.  


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