Which fish do we eat the most? #1 is herring – that’s what you’ll find in fish sticks and imitation crab meat, #2 is Tuna, of course – from sushi to tuna melts, and #3 is shrimp – of the all-you-can-eat shrimp buffet. Let’s talk tuna, since we’re most likely to prepare tuna ourselves. Here’s what you need to know about buying and ordering tuna, according to Cooking Light magazine:
- First if you’re buying it to make tuna fish sandwiches, pay for the white tuna, or albacore. It costs a few cents more, but it’s meatier and more satisfying. Don’t be too afraid of tuna canned in oil. The oil not only adds flavor – it contains good-for-you fat. In fact, it has five times the healthy omega-3 fat than what you’ll find in light tuna canned in water – but only 50 more calories.
- Next, ignore the term “sushi grade” tuna. It doesn’t mean much because any tuna can be used for sushi. It’s up to the chef.
- If you’re out for sushi and you order tuna, you may get what’s called “toro” – and that’s the Japanese term for super-fatty, super-succulent meat from the fish’s belly. It contains three or four times more fat than regular tuna. However, the fattier the tuna, the less mercury it has – because mercury tends to accumulate in the muscle of the fish, not the fat.
- So is the mercury in tuna a problem? If you ate tuna every day, yes. If you eat it once or twice a week, don’t worry about it. The health benefits of eating tuna far outweigh the risks. The fish with the highest mercury levels are shark and swordfish.
- So what about Ahi tuna? It sounds fancy, but Ahi is just the Hawaiian word for yellowfin tuna. In fact, if you made your kids a tuna fish sandwich using “light” canned tuna, you’d be feeding them Ahi, or yellowfin tuna - which contains less mercury than other tuna species.
- Here’s a quick health warning for you. If you’re ever eating fresh tuna and it has a peppery taste, put down your fork. It’s a sign of scombroid poisoning. That’s a build up of toxins from improperly handled fish – and it accounts for 40% of food poisoning cases from seafood. It won’t kill you – but the symptoms are scary-strong – so get to a doctor.