Tuna fish and Lithuanians

Fresh and soft canned tuna. @ Maxima

Fish lovers across the world will commemorated the International Tuna Day on 2 May. Tuna fish really deserves its own day – it is one of the most popular fish species in the world, and the most popular in the European Union. On average, each European consumes 2.78 kg of tuna per year. According to data from the Lithuanian retail chain Maxima, Lithuanians are enjoying this fish and like it more and more in comparison to its relative mackerel fish. So what are the benefits of tuna fish? And why should they be included in your diet plans?

Vilma Drulienė, Commerce Manager of the Lithuanian retail chain Maxima, says that the popularity of tuna fish in Lithuania, like fish in general. It is most probably determined by the desire of Lithuanians to eat healthier foods, to pay more attention to their diets, and to diversify their menus.

Let’s say that last year, the sales of tuna products were up by 10 percent compared to 2017. The most popular tuna products among buyers last year were chopped tuna fish in oil and in its own juice, as well as dried tuna, and tuna for sandwiches with Mexican and Italian spices. Truth be told, fresh tuna fish is less popular among Lithuanians.

Drulienė said that: “Lithuanians prefer canned tuna to fresh tuna fish products. Tuna preserved in its own juice or in oil is especially popular. Dried tuna, tuna pâtés and tuna spreads are also becoming increasingly popular. When choosing the latter, Lithuanians are not afraid to try new flavours – they are buying tuna with quinoa and lemon, with spices from different countries, and with olives or peas. In addition, our citizens are increasingly choosing organic canned tuna and pâtés. Sales of tuna fish products have been growing sharply before the major holidays of the year, but buyers are also increasingly choosing these products for their everyday diet.”

Benefits of tuna fish

According to nutritionists, tuna fish is a really useful fish with many substances needed by the human body. Tuna is rich in omega 3 and in 6 fatty acids that reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. This fish also has a high content of B vitamins. These vitamins are important for healthy skin, as well as strong hair and nails. Tuna also contains microelements such as iron, manganese, phosphorus, calcium and selenium that are necessary for the human body. In addition, this fish also has a high iodine content, which is a microelement essential for thyroid functions.

It has been shown that tuna can help reduce the risk of cancer, has a positive effect on the central nervous system, helps prevent depression, and also has a beneficial effect on the blood vessels and blood. In addition, tuna fish is a low-calorie fish and is therefore suitable for those who want to lose weight. 100 g of fresh tuna amounts to only about 140 kcal, while canned tuna amounts to even less.

Not only tuna fish, but also other types of mackerel such as Atlantic mackerel, have similar nutritional properties. According to Drulienė, Lithuanian sales of mackerel fish have also increased recently. “Sales of fresh mackerel grew by 26 percent last year compared to 2017. Our citizens bought more cold smoked mackerel, marinated mackerel and canned mackerel. In general, the sales of mackerel and mackerel products increased by about 5 percent in a year. The favourite choice of the population in this category is canned mackerel fillets in tomato sauce, while a lot of cold smoked mackerel has also been purchased. By observing the growing demand for these products, it can certainly be said that fish is becoming an increasingly important part of the diet of Lithuanians,” said Drulienė.

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