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One Major Effect of Eating Canned Tuna, Says Science

That little can of fish can do a lot for your body's health!

There's truly nothing like biting into a crispy, salty, cheesy tuna melt. The toasty bread, the savory fish, the melty cheese—it's like heaven on earth in one sandwich. And while eating fish from a can may not seem like the healthiest thing in the world, in fact, canned tuna is one of the best (and cheapest) sources of lean protein you can buy at the grocery store. Along with having a long shelf life (meaning you can indulge in your tuna melt craving any time it hits), there's another major effect of eating canned tuna that your body absolutely loves, and that's the boost of omega-3 fatty acids that the fish is full of.

Here's why eating omega-3 fatty acids is good for your overall diet, and for even more healthy eating tips, be sure to read up on our list of The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.

According to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, omega-3 fatty acids are a source of polyunsaturated fat that can give your body's health a much-needed boost. The omega-3s can help with your eye health and brain health, and can even supply your body with all-day energy. Omega 3-s contain eicosanoids, which are molecules that help with the structure and function of your body's cardiovascular, pulmonary, immune, and endocrine health.

Harvard Health points out how omega-3 fatty acids cannot be produced by the body alone. They are an essential fat that the body needs in order to function, which you can get from foods like fish (like canned tuna), vegetable oils, nuts, flax seeds, flaxseed oil, and leafy greens.

Omega-3 fatty acids also help with the cell membranes in your body which, according to Harvard Health, result in hormones that can help regulate "blood clotting, contraction and relaxation of artery walls, and inflammation." Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory, meaning they can help with preventing cardiovascular diseases as well as lupus, eczema, rheumatoid arthritis, and even cancer in some cases.

But isn't eating fat bad for you? Don't believe that toxic diet myth! Dietary fats are an essential part of your diet because it helps with digestion and your body's fullness, while also providing your body with energy throughout the day. The American Heart Association (AHA) says that regularly eating good fats (like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) is important for supporting cell growth and regulating hormones—especially ghrelin, the hunger hormone.

While having small amounts of saturated fat in your diet isn't bad for you (which typically come from dairy and animal products), focusing on ways to increase these other healthy fats in your diet can help with your overall health and weight loss.

Canned tuna is obviously a great source of omega-3 fatty acids that you can add to your diet for a relatively cheap price. An article published by the USDA Agricultural Research Service says it's important to eat at least 250 milligrams of omega-3's per day, which equates to 2 grams of omega-3's a week. This amount of omega-3 fatty acids has been linked to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. According to Cleveland Clinic, a 3-ounce serving of albacore tuna contains 1.5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids. If you're eating at least one canned tuna a week, you'll be getting all the omega-3 fatty acids you need.

So take this as a sign to make a toasty tuna melt for dinner. Or how about whipping up one of these 13 Healthy Recipes to Make With Canned Tuna!

Kiersten Hickman
Kiersten Hickman is a freelance health and nutrition journalist. Read more about Kiersten
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