Tuna has long been recognized as one of the ‘oily fish’, packed with beneficial Omega 3 fats. However, recently these benefits have come into question due to potential contamination with mercury. The reality is that we are living in an increasingly industrialized and toxic world and complete avoidance of toxins is impossible. However, certain measures, such as food choices, can assist the body detoxify these substances and we can minimize toxin exposure. For this reason it is important to be aware of sources. Mercury levels vary amongst species of tuna, oceans from which they are fished and depths of water in which they are caught. The tuna we have used in this recipe is fresh yellow fin tuna, line caught off the coast of Queensland and fished from sustainable sources. Whilst it is expensive, we prefer to have this fish less often (for it’s higher nutritional value, reduced possibility of mercury exposure whilst incurring less adverse environmental impact) than to consume an inferior product more often. It is worth asking your fish seller where your produce is sourced.
To further address the issue of mercury, recent research (Yamashita et al, 2010) has revealed the presence of a powerful anti-oxidant selenium compound, called selenoneine, within tuna meat. The particular significance of this compound is that it is thought to reduce mercury toxicity. (Selenium is a trace mineral often used in toxic metal chelation).
In addition to this promising research, established benefits of tuna include:
- Excellent source of protein, containing all essential amino acids
- Cardiovascular, circulatory and anti-inflammatory benefits, due to excellent source of both EPA and DHA omega 3 fatty acids
- Good source of some B group vitamins, particularly Vitamin B3 (niacin), B12 and B6, as well as good source of Vitamin D
- Source of minerals including magnesium, potassium and phosphorus as well as trace mineral, selenium, as already mentioned.