Looking at all those cans of tuna on the fish aisle at the local grocery store, it’s understandable if you get confused, we would too.
The Paleo diet might allow fish, but can you eat tuna on Paleo, Canned tuna especially?
On top of that, the whole mercury poisoning talks out there scared people into thinking they might become mermaids if they have a bite of tuna.
But fear not, we’re here to answer those exact questions.
We’ll cover some interesting topics today as a whole lot of misinformation is out there, and people are getting more confused.
Related Post: How Long Does Tuna Salad Last In The Fridge?
Can You Eat Tuna On Paleo?
Yes, you can eat tuna on the Paleo diet.
Not much surprise there; more or less, all fish is allowed on Paleo.
Now, what kind of tuna you should eat, that’s a whole different story.
There are a lot of options, and you should avoid quite a few for various reasons that we’ll go over in this article.
Before we do, though, let’s see what nutritional value tuna has to offer.
- Cooked bluefin tuna(100g)
- Canned white tuna(100g)
Since we assume you can’t always find the time to cook, we included the canned variety of tuna as well.
The cooked tuna is the healthier option, no doubt, but the canned one doesn’t fall too far behind.
That being said, there’s been a lot of talk of mercury poisoning caused by eating too much fish, especially tuna.
Let’s see why that isn’t something you should worry about if you’re buying the right kind.
Consuming or inhaling mercury can lead to your nervous, digestive, and immune systems breaking down.
Also, it can be fatal to your lungs and kidneys.
It’s corrosive to your skin, eyes, and gastrointestinal tract.
If too much is ingested, it can be highly toxic to your kidneys.
Mercury has been proven to affect IQ levels as well.
Since it can be found in air, water, soil, and of course, food, it’s safe to say you can’t avoid it.
Does tuna contain mercury? It sure does; most, if not all, fish do.
But there’s an element in the fish that keeps you from being harmed by mercury; this is what we’ll cover next.
Selenium is a metal we humans can’t live without; it’s not as popular as iron, for example, but it’s just as essential for our well-being.
Our body can’t produce it, which means it has to be obtained through diet.
Some of its characteristics are:
1. An Antioxidant
Oxidative stress can be caused by smoking, alcohol use, or just plain stress.
Oxidative stress damages healthy cells and can cause various chronic diseases.
Selenium protects your cells from oxidative stress.
So next time you start chugging beer, remember, selenium is there to make sure you survive.
2. Makes You Less Forgetful
Some studies have shown that people with Alzheimer’s disease have lower levels of selenium in their blood.
Diets that are rich in selenium can prevent the development of diseases like Alzheimer’s.
3. Thyroid Gland
Selenium protects your thyroid gland from the oxidative stress we mentioned a bit earlier.
This is especially important for our topic as mercury tends to impair thyroid function.
4. Immune System Helper
Besides reducing inflammation, it also enhances immunity.
Selenium deficiency can cause slower immune responses.
If you find yourself getting sick often, vitamin C deficiency might not be the only possible reason.
5. Breathe In, Breathe Out
Asthma patients also suffer from oxidative stress and inflammation.
Selenium can help reduce the possibility of asthma, but it can also help patients that already have the condition.
Takes Two To Tango
Mercury, without selenium, can wreak havoc on your body.
However, with the adequate presence of selenium, you can protect yourself from any harmful effects of mercury.
The selenium binds to mercury, which neutralizes its harmful effect.
But, after bonding, selenium is no longer available to perform some of its other functions.
Basically, the more mercury we have, the more selenium we need to ingest.
This brings us to the most important thing to look out for when buying fish.
Make sure it has more selenium than mercury; it’s that simple.
If, for some reason, you can’t find, consume other selenium-rich foods, within reason, of course.
The recommended daily intake would be around 1mg.
Cooked vs. Canned tuna
You can eat canned tuna on Paleo.
It isn’t ideal, though, and there are several things to be aware of when choosing what to buy.:
- Oils: If you don’t have a lot to spend, find the one preserved in water and not oils. The packaging might say ‘olive oil’ but if there’s an allergen warning for soy on the label as well, avoid it. Plus, the water-packed tuna has more omega-3s compared to the olive-packed ones.
- Soy: again, look at the label. You want to avoid soy on Paleo at all costs as it just doesn’t go well with this diet.
- Other unnecessary things: if there’s anything extra in the can besides the fish, you don’t need it, if you want something with the fish, add it yourself like tomato sauce, for example.
Buying fresh tuna, though, is a whole other story.
It’s more nutritious, it’s healthier, and it’s definitely more Paleo.
Some people like rice with their fish. Click here to see can you eat rice on Paleo?
Fish, even fresh fish, isn’t that expensive nowadays, and it’s a great source of omega 3s.
Sure, we get omega 3s from things like nuts, but tuna and fish, in general, might be irreplaceable.
Omega 3S In Nuts Vs. Fish
There are several types of omega-3 fatty acids.
The ones in the nuts are the same as the ones in fish.
This means you need to eat both of these to get the healthy amount required.
However, the omega-3s found in fish are better absorbed by our body than those in nuts.
So don’t forget to eat fish a few times a week; it’s literally saving your life.
The High Amount Of Protein And Fat
Tuna is considered fatty fish.
If fish that you’re eating has more than 5g of fat, it’s considered fatty.
Don’t let that scare you, though.
This type of fish is always loaded with omega-3s.
Plus, we said on numerous occasions, fat isn’t unhealthy.
But the star of the show has to be the protein count.
Cooked bluefin tuna has around 30g of protein, which is insane.
If you’re a gym nut and need a healthy source of protein, tuna might be your choice.
Can You Eat Tuna On Paleo – Conclusion
As expected, we fully encourage you to eat tuna on Paleo.
The mercury problem has mostly been debunked.
As long as you buy tuna that has more selenium than mercury, you should be good.
The omega-3s that tuna provides you with is essential for your overall health. Plus, it’s full of protein.
As we said, we prefer fresh tuna over the canned variety.
However, it’s fine if your only option is canned; just make sure it’s water-packed.