Opening a can of tuna can be a quick and easy dinner-saving operation, but with dangerous consequences for our health
With the heat that is doing these days and that does not seem to give us respite, getting into the stove and cooking something hot seems like a crazy undertaking. Here then it folds up on cold pasta, hummus or more practical salads based on raw vegetables, enriched with proteins of animal origin.
Canned tuna is one of the protagonists of summer dishes. It is a ready-to-eat food that can be used to enrich wraps, sandwiches, rice or pasta salads and, of course, raw vegetable bowls.
Furthermore, since it is fish ready for consumption, it allows us to introduce a portion of fish into our diet without having the stress of having to clean, bone and cook it correctly. But eating canned tuna often is not very healthy and poses risks to our health. Here are the mistakes you shouldn’t make when it comes to canned tuna.
Eat it too often
A first precaution is related to excessive consumption of canned tuna. It is first of all a processed food that, before arriving on our plate, has undergone various transformation processes that have made it immediately usable for us.
Then there is another problem, connected to the presence of mercury in tuna. Consider that the consumption of fish and crustaceans accounts for more than the largest percentage of human exposure to heavy metal. But where does all this mercury come from?
This metal ends up in lakes, rivers and oceans as a consequence of human productive activities and thus enters the life cycle of aquatic organisms, ending up accumulating in the organism of fish – in particular of the largest predators, those that feed on smaller fish (in turn exposed to mercury contamination).
Also Read: Is There Really Mercury in Canned Tuna? Here’s what the studies say
Buy it in a can
If we really can’t do without ready-made tuna, we prefer the one packed in glass to that in cans: tuna preserved in cans, in fact, has high rates of bisphenol Aa chemical used among other things to produce packages and packaging.
A test recently conducted by the magazine The Lifebuoy analyzed six cans of tuna in oil of various brands, detecting traces of this chemical in all products (even if below the limits allowed by law). The same tuna, preserved in a glass jar, has a much lower bisphenol contamination.
Don’t read the label
We always reiterate the importance of reading the label before purchasing a product, but when it comes to canned fish, attention must be double. The European law on food labels is clear: on each package the fish species must be clearly indicated, whether it is caught or farmed fish, the origin and the tools used for fishing – in addition of course the expiry date and possible presence of allergens.
It is not uncommon to encounter misleading or incomplete labels, which do not carry all the required information. Among the most frequent irregularities are the presence of only the commercial name of the fish (and not the scientific one), the absence of indications relating to the fishing method or the origin of the fish.
Reading labels well makes us consumers more aware of what we buy and bring to the table. For example, knowing the fishing method used, we can choose to buy a product with a lower environmental impact; or, we can evaluate the origin of the fish to choose a tuna closer to our areas.
Read also: How to correctly read the labels of canned tuna and fresh fish
Eat it when you are pregnant
It is, as we have said, a fish with a high contribution in terms of mercury, a heavy metal potentially harmful to the mother and the fetus. This is why pregnant women should avoid eating tuna (fresh or canned) during pregnancy.
As for future mothers, the consumption of all carnivorous and large fish should be avoided – not only tuna therefore, but also cod, pike, dogfish, swordfish. Mercury, in fact, tends to accumulate in predators that absorb it from the smaller fish they eat and thus end up becoming richer.
Read also: Canned tuna: to be avoided during pregnancy because it is too rich in mercury
Throw the oil down the sink
Many of us are used, when we open a can of tuna, to drip the product directly into the sink and thus throw the excess oil down the domestic drain. This is a serious mistake that does not only concern cans of tuna, but all foods preserved in oil (aubergines, artichokes, mushrooms …), and which has very harmful consequences for the environment.
Dispersed in the environment, used vegetable oil can be very polluted for the subsoil, flora and waterways. In addition, this substance also damages our pipes, creating blockages and problems in the sewer pipes. The solution? Drain our tuna in a tray designed to collect the used vegetable oil, which we will then take to the ecological oasis or to a waste oil collection center.
Recycle the oil
While many of us have no qualms about throwing away the tuna preservative oil, many others wonder if it is not a good idea to reuse it in the kitchen – perhaps precisely to dress the salad in which tuna is one of the ingredients. But is it wise to do this?
It depends. It is generally good quality vegetable oil, enriched with omega-3 fatty acids thanks to the presence of tuna. So, using it is not a bad idea: we will certainly reduce food waste by avoiding throwing away oil that is edible and usable in the kitchen.
However, as our nutritionist explained to us in this articlewe avoid consuming tuna oil if we are following a controlled diet, because it would bring a surplus of calories and fats not included in the diet: in this case, the nutritionist recommends buying natural tuna, without adding oil.
Then there is another problem connected to the tuna conservation oil. It may not be olive oil, but simple vegetable oil of lower quality and of non-Italian origin: to know this, you just have to read the product label carefully.
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