MY TAKE ON TUNA AND CANNED FOODS

Eating clean not only means avoiding consumption of chemicals in food, but also includes avoiding cooking/heating foods in PLASTIC (chemical!) as well as avoiding canned foods because of BPA content. Tuna is another topic because while it’s technically “clean” because it’s simply tuna and nothing else, most conventional tuna is not good for you. Tuna is very high in mercury, which most of you probably know, and consumption of mercury leads to toxic mercury buildup in the body. That is why it’s important to purchase pole caught/line caught tuna (IF you must eat tuna)! I will tell you why, as well as why avoiding canned foods most of the time is ideal.

  • POLE CAUGHT TUNA IS SMALLER/YOUNGER, THEREFORE LESS MERCURY. Tuna is actually a HUGE fish! Pole/line catching gets the tuna when the fish is younger so it has had less time to build up toxic levels of mercury. (1)
  • Not only is pole caught tuna healthier, but it also helps save other species of fish. Most canned tuna is caught with “FAD’s” (fish aggregating device) which scoops up anything and everything in its path, often killing and harming turtles, sharks, and many other types of fish. Pole/line caught is much more selective. Better for you AND the environment. (2)
  • Regarding BPA and canned foods in general, it’s best to limit consumption of anything in a can. It’s hard to know exactly how much BPA you are ingesting, so I do recommend purchasing BPA free cans when possible as they are now making these more often. It can be difficult to find BPA free cans at most grocery stores, but, if you have a Whole Foods in your town it’s always a safe bet! BPA is a chemical used to harden plastics and just about all of us have BPA in our bodies right now. This is why I choose to only use glass containers for my food – at least the food that goes in the microwave. I NEVER heat plastic anymore nor do I use a plastic water bottle (Hydro Flask all the way). I recommend you reduce your exposure to BPA and purchase glass containers, which can be found at Target and Walmart. Reducing BPA exposure will reduce the overall toxin load in your body, which will reduce your risk of developing certain cancers. BPA can also act like a hormone in the body and disrupt your hormone levels. (3) I know they make BPA free plastic water bottles, but, I decided that because I carry a water bottle with me everywhere I go and because I am constantly (literally) drinking water on a daily basis, that I should put said water in a stainless steel, harmless water bottle (HYDRO FLASK!).

While I do consume canned tuna on occasion, it is ALWAYS pole/line caught and USUALLY BPA free. I am not going to say that I never consume a canned item (e.g., coconut milk) without BPA because that’s not true. I do, however, do my best to purchase canned items (when I need them) that are BPA free. (I also never purchase conventional tuna – ever – I will only eat pole/line caught.) We can’t be perfect 100% of the time and a little bit of canned foods with BPA won’t kill you, however, I avoid them as often as I can. If I am going on a vacation/trip and need to pack some clean food, sometimes I choose canned pole caught tuna because it’s high in protein, easy to grab and go, and packs well. I don’t eat tuna on a monthly basis so it’s probably OK if it’s not a BPA free can (canned tomatoes are actually the worst because of the acidity-causing the BPA to leach out more!), although I have seen BPA free pole/line caught tuna at Whole Foods (it’s about $1 more than the WF brand of pole caught tuna) and I do buy this brand often. At the end of the day, the choice is yours and it’s your body to put in it what you wish. I am only here to share information and thoughts, and hopefully inspire you to make healthier choices. All the way down to your BPA free canned items and water bottles 🙂

REFERENCES:

  1. http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/food/healthy-fish
  2. http://www.greenpeace.org/australia/en/news/oceans/Top-6-reasons-to-choose-pole-and-line-tuna/
  3. http://www.webmd.com/children/environmental-exposure-head2toe/bpa?page=2
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