A tuna sandwich contains healthy fats.
Your tuna sandwich may be more exciting than you think. Eating tuna and other fish can help your brain function better, keep your memory sharp and reduce your risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least twice a week. Both fresh and canned tuna are convenient ways to get your weekly amounts of this nutrient-rich food. Choosing low-sodium and low-fat seasonings and whole-grain bread is the healthiest way to make a tuna sandwich.
Fish such as tuna contain essential fats called omega-3 fatty acids. These acids are also called eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, and docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA. A study published in "Psychology Today" notes that these fats can help to preserve brain function and even reduce the risk of memory-related disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer's. Eating tuna and other foods that contain healthy fats is important because these fats help to maintain the cells of your brain and nervous system. According to Tufts University, a 4-ounce can of tuna contains 0.3 gram of omega-3 fatty acids, helping you reach the recommended amount of 7 to 11 grams of these acids each week.
Choosing the right bread makes a difference in how healthy your tuna sandwich is. A sandwich made with whole-grain bread contains 6 grams of fiber as well as other essential nutrients such as B-vitamins and the minerals selenium, potassium, and magnesium. The Mayo Clinic notes that whole-wheat breads contain unrefined grains that haven't had their nutrient-rich bran or germ layer removed through milling. White bread is made from refined, polished grains that have had the outer fiber layer removed. Enriched breads have some nutrients artificially added back, but they do not contain the dietary fiber that is found in whole-grain breads.
A tuna sandwich typically contains mayonnaise and mustard or salad dressing to make it creamy, add flavor and keep the bread and tuna moist. However, these rich dressings contain fats that add hidden calories to your sandwich. Only 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise can add 49 calories and 4.9 grams of fat. The Mayo Clinic recommends using fat-free mayonnaise or sandwich spread. Other healthy alternatives to make your tuna sandwich creamy include hummus, which is made from pureed chickpeas, or guacamole, which you can make by mashing up a piece of avocado.
Canned tuna provides the healthy benefits of eating fish and is convenient to store and prepare. However, some varieties are packed in vegetable oil and contain excess salt. The Mayo Clinic recommends using low-sodium, canned tuna that is packed in water. If you are using fresh tuna, ensure that it is properly cooked by grilling or baking; avoid frying the tuna and adding excess salt.
A traditional tuna sandwich contains lettuce and other vegetables for more flavor and a crispy texture. Adding vegetables such as lettuce, celery, tomatoes, cucumber, onions or avocados also adds dietary fiber and nutrients. The Mayo Clinic recommends making a tuna salad sandwich by placing canned tuna in a bowl and flaking it with a fork. The mayonnaise, dressing, mustard, pepper and other seasonings are then added. You can mix in the chopped vegetables to the tuna mix or layer them on the sandwich separately.