If you're a fan of sushi then chances are you love the taste of tuna. With its distinctive flavor and recognizable taste, it's a staple in a variety of dishes from around the world. Tuna is a commonly used fish found in household meals today and for good reason, too. If you're new to the keto diet and want to know if tuna is keto-approved, this article is for you.
In this article we'll discuss:
- What is tuna?
- Tuna nutrition facts
- Health benefits of tuna
- Keto-friendly tuna recipes
What Is Tuna?
Tuna is a saltwater fish used mainly in Asian cuisines. There are 8 different species of Tuna all over the world including bluefin, yellowfin, albacore, and skipjack to name a few. They're relatively easy to catch and can be prepared a number of ways for a variety of different dishes including salads, burgers, steaks, entrees, and more.
While tuna is found in temperate and subtropical waters of the Atlantic ocean, it's supplied to all parts of the world to be prepared and enjoyed.
Tuna Nutrition Facts
When it comes to the question of whether or not tuna is keto-approved, the short answer is yes. Tuna can be a great protein snack or meal for individuals following the keto diet. This fish is a healthy and affordable source of protein, fatty acids, selenium, and vitamin D to name a few key nutrients.
The most common (and affordable) type of tuna you see in stores is canned tuna. While sources can differ in serving sizes, one 2 ounce serving of canned chunky, light tuna includes 50 calories, 1 gram of fat, less than 1 gram of carbs and 10 grams of protein[*]. Regardless of the type, you can count on tuna providing about 5 grams of protein per ounce.
Like most fish, tuna is very low in carbohydrates, containing almost no sugar or fiber, making it the perfect keto-friendly dish. However, the low amount of fiber found in tuna makes it less likely to fill you up so enhancing your tuna dish with some nutritious greens such as kale or spinach is always encouraged.
When it comes to healthy fats, tuna is packed with omega-3 fatty acids even though the overall fat content is low.
Health Benefits of Tuna
Some of the key health benefits of tuna include:
1. Improves Heart Health
Fish, in general, has been known to be beneficial for heart health. But why? It's mainly due to the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish such as tuna. But why are omega-3s good for your heart?
Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of unsaturated fatty acid that may help reduce inflammation throughout the body. While inflammation is a natural biological process by the body, the cause for alarm occurs when the inflammation becomes chronic. Chronic inflammation should be avoided at all costs as it's the root cause of most diseases we see today.
Omega-3 fatty acids found in tuna can benefit heart health by:
- Decreasing triglyceride count
- Improving blood pressure
- Decreasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases[*]
2. Improves Immune System Function
Like many other keto-approved foods, tuna can help improve immune system function. This is extremely important especially during this time of year when colds and the flu are most prevalent. How does it help improve immune system function? It's high in several key nutrients including zinc, selenium, and protein that are essential for a properly functioning immune system[*].
3. Improves Weight Loss
Tuna is thought to be one of the top weightloss-friendly foods. Why is that? Tuna is a low-calorie, low-carb, and high-protein food. Tuna is one of the most versatile foods eaten by keto-lovers, athletes and bodybuilders alike looking to lean out and hit their protein goals for the day. Restricting your carbs and adding in more protein can be a guaranteed way to improve your weight loss and body composition goals.
4. Strengthens Your Bones
One of the nutrients tuna provides is vitamin D. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus from the food you consume. Getting enough tuna in your diet can improve your body's ability to build strong bones as well as decrease your risk for osteoporosis and other bone disorders like rickets[*].
5. Improves Skin Health
Similar to many other keto-friendly foods, tuna can help improve your skin health big time. Tuna is an abundant source of selenium which is a substance that helps preserve protein elastin (which helps skin stay tight and smooth)[*].
Keto-Friendly Recipes Including Tuna
So now that you know tuna is keto-approved, what are some dishes you can make with it? We've gathered a few of our favorite recipes using tuna to help you satiate those taste buds while maintaining a ketogenic state.
Some of our top favorite tuna recipes include:
Simple Keto Tuna Salad
What's better than an easy keto tuna salad to throw together when hunger strikes? This keto-friendly tuna recipe takes less than 2 minutes to throw together and packs in the protein and healthy fats.
- 1 cup of canned tuna fish
- 3 Tbsp of real mayonnaise
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Combine the tuna fish and mayonnaise in a small bowl.
- Stir and taste. Season with salt and pepper as desired.
Mini Tuna Melts
The biggest mistake people make when it comes to weight loss and the keto diet is portion and calorie control. Just because you're cutting out carbs completely doesn't mean you can go crazy with your portion sizes. These mini tuna melts are perfect for individuals that tend to overdo it in the kitchen.
- 4oz tuna packed in oil, drained
- ¼ cup yellow onion, finely diced
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup sour cream
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a muffin tin with non-stick cook spray.
- Finely dice the yellow onion.
- Drain the cans of tuna until all excess liquid is removed; use a fork to break up the tuna into bite-sized pieces in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the onion, sour cream, mayonnaise, and eggs.
- Stir until all ingredients are combined to form a tuna salad consistency.
- Evenly distribute the tuna mixture into the muffin tin.
- Bake 25 minutes until lightly golden brown on top and around the edges.
Tuna cakes are a staple for a quick and easy keto-friendly dish to throw together.
- 4 5-ounce cans tuna drained
- 1/3 cup almond flour
- 2 medium green onions, chopped
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tbsp avocado oil
- In a bowl, mix together all of the ingredients except the avocado oil until well combined.
- Form into 8 patties about 3/4 inch thick.
- In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp of the avocado oil over medium heat.
- Add half of tuna patties and cook until golden brown on the bottom, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Carefully flip over and cook the other side another 3 to 4 minutes. Remove and repeat with the remaining oil and patties.
- Top with mayo and lemon zest.
Tuna Mushroom Egg Bake
Looking for a breakfast dish to try with this tasty protein source? Give this tuna mushroom egg bake a shot.
- 6 large eggs
- ½ cup of coconut milk
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp Himalayan pink salt
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2-3 large chestnut cremini mushrooms, sliced (around 1 1/2 cup yield)
- 1 bell pepper diced (around 1 cup yield)
- 2 cups spring greens (around 5 oz.)
- ¼ tsp Himalayan pink salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 can wild-caught tuna (5 oz., drained)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- For the egg mixture, crack eggs in a mixing bowl, add coconut milk and seasonings.
- Using an oven-safe pot, on low-medium heat, sauté onion and mushrooms for 5-8 minutes till onions are translucent and mushrooms are soft.
- Add bell peppers, cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Add spring greens, tuna and then eggs.
- Place the dish in the oven for 40-45 minutes, until the egg is cooked through.
The Bottom Line
Now that you have a better grasp on the nutrition and health benefits of tuna, you can safely enjoy this fatty fish without worrying about getting kicked out of ketosis.
Tuna is one of the most affordable types of fish out there so you can enjoy a satiating low-carb meal without breaking the bank.