The question of “is it safe to eat tuna everyday” is one that has been on our minds before, because there is no post-workout protein meal that is as convenient as tuna in a can. However, as many of us know, there can be relatively high levels of mercury in tuna and salmon.
So when do the negative risks of mercury contamination outweigh the benefits of a healthy and high protein meal like tuna? This is a very good question that we haven’t heard being answered clearly until we read this very enlightening article below:
Tuna is one of the most convenient protein sources that exists, so it can easily become a guy’s go-to lunch. But is it safe to eat it every day?
The short answer: Probably. But if you’re wrong, you could end up with mercury poisoning, which can cause weird symptoms like tingling sensations and loss of balance, says Michael Gochfeld, M.D., Ph.D., a researcher with the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute.
“It would likely be safe for many men to eat tuna every day, while some men could experience symptoms of mercury toxicity from eating the same amount,” says Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman Lauren Sucher.
Here’s why it’s so complicated: You have to balance the benefits of eating fish with the risk from mercury, while taking into account a person’s weight, their sensitivity to mercury, the type of tuna, and how much risk you’re willing to take, says Dr. Gochfeld.
Nearly all seafood contains traces of mercury, according to the FDA. So the question is: At what level does mercury become poisonous?
That’s where it gets even more confusing. No one knows exactly where mercury goes from being harmless to toxic, because you’d have to poison people to find out, says Men’s Health nutrition advisor Alan Aragon, M.S.
Most experts can agree on at least two facts, though.
#1: Fish is good for you. Research has shown that it may lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, cognitive decline, depression, cancer, inflammatory disorders, and asthma, says Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., Dr.P.H., dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. Restricting your fish intake could make you miss out on all those benefits.
#2: The risks from mercury have been overhyped. Mercury can harm the developing nervous systems of fetuses and young children, according to the FDA. But when the agency warned pregnant women to limit consumption of high-mercury fish in 2004, it set off unnecessary panic for everyone else, Dr. Mozaffarian says.
Our advice: Almost all guys will be perfectly fine eating a can of light tuna four times a week. If you want to eat more tuna, or different types of tuna, you can calculate your weekly limit by following the instructions below. And if you do experience symptoms of mercury poisoning, you can usually reverse them by eating less fish or eating only low-mercury fish, says Dr. Gochfeld.
Read the full article here and instructions on calculating mercury limits in your diet