Thursday, February 21, 2008

Brain Food - The Tuna

school of Tuna

Excerpt from U.S. Tuna Foundation
New Evidence That Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Fish, Canned Tuna Halt Mental Decline Later in Life

WASHINGTON, 7 April 2004 /PRNewswire/ -- - Research Confirms Role in Brain Development During Pregnancy

- Citing new evidence that the omega-3 fatty acids found in seafood improve brain function in middle aged people and actually lower the risk of mental impairment as people age, the U.S. Tuna Foundation (USTF) today reminded the public that canned tuna is not only good for your heart but is a tasty and affordable "brain food" for people of all ages.

The latest research comes from researchers with Utrecht and Maastricht Universities in the Netherlands and was recently published in the journal Neurology. Tracking more than 1600 Dutch men and women aged 45 to 70 over a six-year period, the researchers found those who ate fish regularly scored higher on a battery of tests for memory, psychomotor speed, cognitive flexibility, and overall cognition. Moreover, the study concluded that the specific factors contributing to better brain function were fatty fish and the consumption of two essential omega-3 fatty acids found in canned tuna, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).

Of the top 10 most commonly consumed fish in this country, salmon and canned albacore tuna have the highest levels of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Nutritional Database.

"This study offers encouragement to all Americans who consume fatty fish and especially those who worry about Alzheimer's disease," said Joyce Nettleton, D.Sc., R.D., author of Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Health and a member of the Tuna Nutrition Council, which advises USTF on nutrition and public health matters. "We know that people with mild cognitive impairment are likely to progress to dementia or Alzheimer's disease, so learning that a simple step like adding canned tuna and other types of fish to the diet is important news, especially as the number of older Americans increases dramatically."

slices of Tuna

Along with improving brain function in older people, USTF pointed to extensive research concluding that the omega-3 fatty acids in canned tuna and other types of seafood are essential for the developing brain during pregnancy and the first two years of a baby's life. According to numerous studies, DHA comprises approximately 40 percent of the polyunsaturated fatty acid content in the cell membranes in the brain and is transferred from mother to the fetus at a high rate during the last trimester of pregnancy. Along with DHA, the developing fetus uses EPA for the growth of the brain and the developing nervous system.

"It is important for pregnant and nursing women to understand that the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are essential during pregnancy and lactation," Dr. Nettleton said. "Women need to know that eating canned tuna and many other types of fish during pregnancy provides the omega-3 fatty acids that are necessary for the brain of the fetus to develop and thrive."

It is because of these important benefits that health leaders around the world are urging pregnant and nursing women to include fish, such as canned tuna, in their diets while heeding some specific advice about how to minimize the small risk to the unborn child from mercury in certain fish. Most recently, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in the United Kingdom (UK) revised its advice about the amount of canned tuna that pregnant and nursing women can safely eat, doubling the maximum amount to four cans or two tuna steaks a week.

Issued on March 24, the updated advice from the UK food safety agency is based on new guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding the levels of mercury in fish. Citing the health benefits of fish consumption for pregnant women and their developing fetuses, this UK advisory sets maximum recommended consumption levels at nearly twice the amount recommended in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in their recent advisory.


Tuna Bisque With Cheese

Tuna bisque is hearty enough to serve as an entree with a salad and bread or crackers.


1 large can (12 ounces) tuna, drained
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup minced onion
1/4 cup minced green bell pepper
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
dash cayenne
2 teaspoons diced pimiento or roasted red pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons sherry, optional


Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add onion and green pepper; sauté until tender but not browned. Blend in flour and salt. Gradually stir in the milk. Add shredded cheese and cayenne. Cook, stirring, until the mixture is thickened and cheese is melted.

Stir in tuna, pimiento, and sherry, if using.
Serves 6.

Tuna Pot Pie

This delicious tuna pie is made with tuna, homemade creamy sauce, mixed vegetables, seasoning, and pastry.


1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic and herb seasoning blend or dash garlic and dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon paprika
dash dried thyme, crumbled
2 cups milk
1 large can (12 ounces) tuna, drained and flaked, or 2 small (6 to 7 ounce) cans
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
pastry for single 9-inch pie


In a large saucepan melt butter; add onion and cook over medium-low heat until tender. Blend in flour. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, the pepper, herb seasoning blend, paprika, and thyme. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly.

Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is bubbling and thickened. Fold in the tuna, vegetables, Worcestershire sauce, and cheese. Taste and add more salt and seasoning if necessary. Pour mixture into a 2-quart baking dish.

Preheat oven to 425°. Roll out pastry to fit top of baking dish. With a sharp knife, cut several slits in the top crust. Place pastry on the baking dish; flute edges. Place the baking dish on a baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until crust is browned and mixture is bubbly. Serves 4 to 6.

Tuna Rice Salad

Tuna Rice Salad


2 cans white tuna, drained, (12 to 14 ounces total)
juice of 1 lime
1 can (2 1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
2 cups cooked long-grain rice, chilled
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons dried dill weed


In a mixing bowl, break up tuna with a fork. Sprinkle lime juice over the tuna; mix well. Fold in the sliced olives, quartered artichoke hearts, and rice. Add mayonnaise and stir in dill weed.
Serves 6.

Tuna Tomato Bites

Cherry tomatoes are stuffed with a tuna mixture, for a pretty and tasty appetizer.


1 can (7 ounces) tuna
1 small package (3 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 ripe mashed avocado
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco or similar pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 pints cherry tomatoes


Drain and flake tuna. Cream together cheese and mashed avocado. Add lemon juice, chili powder, salt, pepper sauce, Worcestershire, and tuna. Refrigerate to chill thoroughly. Wash cherry tomatoes and hollow out centers.

Turn upside-down and drain well on paper towels. Fill each tomato center with a heaping teaspoonful of tuna and cream cheese mixture.
Makes about 40 to 48 appetizers. Keep in refrigerator until serving time.

Tuna Salad with Honeydew Melon

This tuna salad recipe is made with mayonnaise, celery, and thyme, served on a honeydew melon slice.


1 large honeydew melon
2 cans (7 ounces each) tuna, drained
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 teaspoon dried leaf thyme, crumbled
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper


Peel honeydew melon; cut into circles about 1 inch thick. Remove seeds and place on beds of lettuce. Mix tuna, mayonnaise, and celery, thyme and pepper. Spoon into centers of honeydew circles. If desired, garnish with fresh parsley.
Tuna salad recipe serves 6.

Tuna Chowder with Cheese

A tuna chowder recipe with potatoes and cheese and corn.

2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
3 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, or about 12 ounces
1 can (7 ounces) tuna, drained and flaked
1 small can (8 ounces) cream-style corn
few drops Tabasco sauce
chopped green onions or parsley for garnish


Put water and about 1 teaspoon of salt in a large saucepan; add diced potato, carrot, celery, and chopped onion. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes; remove from heat and set aside.

In a small stock pot, melt butter. Blend in flour and stir until smooth. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly. Continue cooking, stirring, until smooth and thickened. Add cheese and stir until melted. Add cooked vegetables with their liquid, tuna, corn, and Tabasco. Add salt to taste and serve garnished with green onions or parsley, if desired.

Tuna Appetizer Puffs

Tuna puffs are made with party rye slices and spinach and egg.


1 can tuna in oil, about 7 ounces, drained
16 slices party rye bread
1/4 cup chopped cooked spinach
1 egg, separated
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon dried leaf basil, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice


Place 1 tablespoon of the tuna on each bread slices. In a small bowl, beat egg white until stiff peaks form. Beat egg yolk in a separate bowl; stir in chopped spinach, salt, basil, and lemon juice. Fold in beaten egg white and spoon 1 tablespoon of the spinach mixture over tuna on each bread slice.
Bake at 350° for 10 minutes. If desired garnish with slices of cherry tomatoes or ripe olives. Serve immediately.
Makes 16 appetizers.


joshuaun said...

these picture make my stomach start to sing!


TripTheLady said...

yeah, me too! it's 9:30 int he morning here and now i'm hungry ;)

thanks for the great recipes!

cube said...

Those recipes look delish!!!!

Marjie said...

Mmmmm....tuna. I love it on a sushi, I love it in a sandwich, and I love it in one of my favorite "easy to cook" tuna helper. I've eaten it so much, I have about 5 cans of it in my pantry. I'll try you marvelous recipes for other tasty treats.

Cheers always,

Haney said...

Not only that, fish oil is also good in healing scars.