Canned tuna is a classic pantry staple — and for good reason! Not only is it easy on your wallet, it makes it extremely easy to add protein to just about any savory dish, from fresh salads to cozy casseroles and so much more. We’re big fans in the First for Women test kitchen. And beyond being convenient, canned tuna is good for you too. Keep reading to see just what it can do for your health, then scroll on for our best-ever canned tuna recipes that come together in a snap.
4 health benefits of canned tuna
More than a convenient way to get meals on the table fast, canned tuna can help boost your health too. Here are just some of the benefits:
1. Increases fat burn
Your liver is essential for clearing toxins and burning fat. But when it gets bogged down with too much fat, you can get stuck in a cycle of accumulating more fat while not being able to burn off what we already have stored. To the rescue: Canned tuna, which contains 11 mg of the B vitamin niacin in just 3 oz. of the fish. German researchers report that boosting levels of B vitamins by that amount can help lower liver fat by 37%. Turns out, niacin blunts the action of an amino acid that stimulates fat formation in the organ. (Click through to learn more about the benefits of niacin.)
2. Enhances mood
Our bodies produce the hormone serotonin to keep us feeling bright and cheery. Plus, keeping your levels elevated also dials back carb cravings, improve immunity, energy and more. And eating canned tuna can help ensure your serotonin levels stay high. That’s because the fish is rich in vitamin B-12, a building block of serotonin. While low levels of B-12 can increase your risk for depression by 51%, Canadian researchers say shoring up your levels can double serotonin levels. (Click through to learn more about how white spots on your skin could signal a vitamin B-B-2 deficiency and serotonin boosting foods.)
3. Revitalizes the thyroid
Your thyroid works hard year-round to keep mood, energy and fat-burning at its peak. But factors like cold weather, nutrient deficiencies and stress can cause slowdowns in the organ. The upside: Canned tuna is rich in the mineral selenium, which aids in the production of energizing thyroid hormones. Indeed, research shows that fueling up on selenium-rich foods may help boost thyroid function 84% within 12 weeks. (Click through to learn more about selenium for thyroid health.)
4. Protects the heart
Enjoying meals with canned tuna twice a week can help notably lower your risk for heart attacks, according to research published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Credit goes to the omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce blood clotting and normalize heart rhythm, both key risk factors for heart attacks. (Click through to learn more about omega-3 fatty acids.)
10 canned tuna recipes that couldn’t be easier
Delicious meets nutritious in these quick, budget-friendly canned tuna recipes that are sure to become regulars on your table.
1. Tuna, Vegetable and Grain Salad
Make this tasty toss up to a day ahead, cover and chill — the flavors get better the longer it marinates.
2. Ranch Pasta Tuna Salad
Creamy ranch dressing adds the perfect tang to this portable pasta meal.
3. Tuna Orzo Salad
Just as tasty warm or at room temperature, this toss gets a kick from Kalamata olives and a boost of protein from flaky tuna.
4. Tarragon Tuna Niçoise Cups
Our sophisticated salad-in-a-cup is a snap to make with convenient frozen puff pastry, bottled salad dressing and flaked tuna.
5. Tuna Penne Casserole
We mixed riced cauliflower in with the crumb topping for a lightened-up spin on a classic pasta bake.
6. Oven Quesadillas
A splash of green Tabasco adds a zesty kick to these toasted treats.
7. Tuna Salad Stuffed Tomatoes
A splash of olive brine adds zing to the filling in these juicy orbs.
8. Lemony Tuna Burgers
White beans combine with canned tuna in these meaty patties that cook up fast on the stovetop.
9. Creamy Tuna Noodle Bake
Canned soup and seasoned breadcrumbs make it a snap to toss this flavor-packed meal together.
10. Mediterranean Veggie Salad
A garlicky dressing adds zest to this salad made hearty with pasta and tuna.
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