A tuna salad sandwich is a cheap, easy, delicious and nutritious lunch or light dinner option. Tuna is filled with essential nutrients that support your health, and if you use whole-wheat bread and choose low-fat condiments to mix it with, you’ll maximize the benefits of your sandwich.
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Many young women suffer from iron-deficiency anemia because they don’t consume enough iron in their diets. Iron-deficiency anemia can make you feel tired, because iron is used to carry oxygen in your blood. If oxygen isn’t being transported, then your muscles, organs and brain become fatigued. You get 8 percent of your daily iron intake from one serving of light tuna, canned in water. Take a tuna salad sandwich for lunch a few times a week to increase your iron intake.
A 3-ounce serving of tuna contains 22 grams of protein. The amount of protein you need depends on your age, sex and activity level. Adult women need roughly 46 grams of protein a day. One serving of tuna provides about half that amount. While most Americans don’t lack protein in their diets, it is important to choose lean protein sources, such as tuna. Other protein sources, such as red meat, are high in saturated fat, which can lead to weight gain and health problems. Protein is necessary to build muscle, bone, cartilage and skin. It's also an excellent source of energy.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
With heart disease listed as the No. 1 killer of Americans, you may benefit from adding tuna to your diet. Tuna contains omega-3 fatty acids. According to the Mayo Clinic, omega-3 fatty acids may decrease triglycerides and cholesterol, or fat in your blood, lower blood pressure, reduce blood clotting, enhance immunity and ease arthritis symptoms. Consume one to two servings of fish per week, such as tuna salad, to reduce your risk for heart disease.
The bread you use to make your tuna salad sandwich with contains many nutrients. The B vitamins found in bread release energy in your body and keep your immune system healthy. Another B vitamin, folate, forms red blood cells and prevents birth defects. Bread also contains iron, which transports oxygen in your blood. Make your tuna salad sandwich using whole-wheat bread, which contains more fiber than white bread. Fiber may reduce blood cholesterol levels and your risk for heart disease, obesity and Type 2 diabetes. It also keeps you feeling full longer and reduces constipation, which are key pieces to maintaining or losing weight.
Avoid mayonnaise when making your tuna salad sandwich to decrease the calories and fat of your meal. If you prefer mayonnaise, choose a lower fat variety. Opt for other condiments, such as Greek yogurt, olive oil or Dijon mustard. Mix in finely chopped carrots or celery to your tuna salad and add lettuce and tomato to your bread for more vegetables and nutrients. Fish may contain toxins, such as mercury. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says mercury in fish is not a risk for most people, except small children and pregnant and breast-feeding women. If you're concerned about mercury in tuna, choose canned, light tuna instead of albacore, as the latter has a higher mercury concentration.
Michelle Fisk began writing professionally in 2011. She has been published in the "Physician and Sports Medicine Journal." Her expertise lies in the fields of exercise physiology and nutrition. Fisk holds a Master of Science in kinesiology from Marywood University.