Ahi tuna is a widely used seafood that many of you have eaten several times throughout your life, most likely without even realizing it. This high protein superfood is the most common type of tuna you’ll find in the supermarket canned variety.
You might be under the impression that “ahi” is a specific breed from the tuna family of fish, but it’s not. In fact, ahi is an interchangeable term, especially when you visit a sushi bar. The “ahi” label can include: bigeye, skipjack, and yellowfin varieties of tuna.
The following benefits don’t apply to canned tuna, as the manufacturing process can destroy most of the nutritional benefits from consuming ahi.
8 Health Benefits of Ahi Tuna:
1. Protein: A serving (6-ounces) of ahi packs a wollop in the protein department: 40 grams in fact. This is comparable to the protein content found in the same amount of steak (45g), chicken (43g), along with other fish species such as salmon (44g), and halibut (45g). Cooking degrades the amino profile. Ahi can be eaten raw to preserve its nutritional value, whereas animal meat cannot (source).
2. Selenium: A single serving of ahi offers 3 times the RDA of selenium at 154mcg. Selenium is very important to us and easily destroyed in the cooking process. Selenium preserves our DNA, grows/repairs cells including spermatozoa, ensures blood vessels stay flexible, and is vital to nearly every hormonal process in our bodies.
3. Omega-3 Oils: Ahi provides nearly 300mg of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 protects our circulatory system, lubricating the walls of our heart and arteries. It also works as an antioxidant, driving dangerous free radicals out of our body. These essential fats are also used in the creation and maintenance of skin, hair, teeth and bones.
4. Vitamin D: 6-ounces of ahi gives us one-fifth our RDA of vitamin D (117 I.U.) It’s a secosteroid we need in order to absorb essential minerals: iron, calcium, zinc, magnesium, and phosphate. The most common form of this important vitamin is from a conversion process that takes place inside our bodies when our skin is exposed to sunlight. Many of us are deficient in this nutrient due to working indoors while the sun is out.
5. Vitamin B-12: A serving of ahi offers up 3.5mcg of B-12; one and a half times our RDA. B-12 is needed for nerve and neurotransmitter activity. Our bodies run on electric impulses that travel from every cell in our body – to and from our brain. B-12 is the main component in myelin: a substance used to conduct those impulses across our cells.
6. Phosphorous: One serving of ahi provides us with over 60% the daily dose of phosphorous our bodies need. Phosphorous is used to produce ATP (Adenosine Trisphosphate) which our bodies use for metabolic functions like nerve impulses that control muscle contraction (ie., breathing, moving, blinking, etc.) Phosphorous is also a key component in tooth enamel and bone marrow.
7. Potassium: A serving of ahi provides us with 16% of the RDA for potassium. Without this electrolyte, we’d be dead. A shortage of potassium will result in hypokalemia; a condition where respiration slows to a halt, the heart stops beating, and alkalosis (when the naturally acidic pH levels in our blood becomes neutral and exceeds 7.45 pH.)
8. Choline: Ahi is an excellent source of choline, providing us with 10% the RDA per 6-ounce serving. Choline is converted to acetylcholine in our body and is used to build and fortify every single cell. Choline is the most important element in all cognitive functions, as well as healthy liver and kidney function.
It’s important to be aware that all types of fish contain levels of mercury, due to irresponsible waste-dumping from industry, and individuals often unknowingly dumping mercury-laden waste in our oceans.
However, no two tuna species are created equal.
Yellowfin tuna is the type of ahi you’re after if you’re watching your mercury intake (buy canned tuna).
While tuna farming and a variety of other conservation efforts show promise for restoring tuna populations worldwide, it’s important that we all take steps to buy canned tuna on this species of predatory ocean fish.