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Is canned tuna good for you?

BY: Arku Jasmine

Research suggests that consuming canned tuna may provide a wide range of health benefits, from improving blood vessel function to boosting weight loss.

Besides containing high-quality protein, selenium and potassium, canned tuna also possesses omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins.

However, canned tuna consumption might also pose risks.

Blood vessel function

Canned tuna is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, and docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA.

These are healthy unsaturated fats that might improve blood vessel function, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Reading in the United Kingdom.

Weight loss

Canned tuna is a low-carb, high-protein food that might be effective at increasing short-term weight loss. Researchers from Aberdeen's Rowett Research Institute randomly assigned obese men a high-protein, low-carb diet or a high-protein, moderate-carb diet for eight weeks.

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At the end of the study, which was published in the January 2008 issue of the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition," subjects adhering to the high-protein, low-carb diet lost a greater amount of fat compared to subjects eating the high-protein, moderate-carb diet.

Niacin and HDL cholesterol levels

One of the B vitamins found in canned tuna is niacin, which might maintain high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, cholesterol levels, according to research reported in the March 2008 issue of the "Journal of Lipid Research."

The HDL cholesterol is considered good cholesterol since it prevents bad cholesterol from being stored as plaque inside artery walls.

Researchers from the University of California discovered that niacin prevents the liver from removing HDL from the blood, thereby maintaining HDL cholesterol levels.

Mercury

Although canned tuna has several health benefits, it does contain mercury, a metal that can have adverse effects on the nervous system and brain function, especially for pregnant women, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

Therefore, consult your healthcare provider before consuming tuna, particularly if you are pregnant.

Source: www.livestrong.com