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Mackerel vs Tuna - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Elen Khachatrian by Elen Khachatrian | Last updated on May 21, 2022
Education: Nutrition & Microbiology at YSU
Mackerel
vs
Tuna

SUMMARY

Tuna contains 15 times more Vitamin A and 12 times more Vitamin B1, calcium, iron, and copper, while mackerel is high in Vitamin B12, folate, Vitamin D, and phosphorus. Tuna is also lower in sugars and saturated fats.

Introduction

As the most commonly used marine food, fishes are also delicious with many health benefits. In this article, you can find the main nutritional differences between mackerel and tuna also their impact on human health.

Varieties

The term "mackerel" refers to several different species of pelagic fish. Mackerels are primarily members of the Scombridae family and live near the bottom of oceans or lakes. These fish are blue-green in color and average 30 cm in length.

Tuna, also known as a tunny, is a member of the Scombridae family's Thunnini tribe. Tuna is related to mackerels and kingfish in this family.

Appearance

Raw tuna tends to be darker in color when compared to raw mackerel due to the higher level of myoglobin and iron. Raw mackerel has grey and greasy colors. When cooked, mackerel and tuna lose coloring, becoming different light pink or white shades.

NUTRITION

Calories

Mackerel contains more calories than tuna. This fish contains 305 calories per 100g, whereas tuna contains 184 calories per100 g. Both are considered low calories food.

Vitamins

Tuna contains 15 times more Vitamin A and 12 times more Vitamin B1 than mackerel.

It also has more Vitamin B6, Vitamin B2, and B3. Tuna falls in the range of the top 12% of foods as a source of Vitamin B3 and Vitamin A. One serving of tuna covers half of your daily Vitamin B3 recommended intake. Mackerel is high in Vitamin B12, folate, Vitamin D, Vitamin K, and Vitamin E. Two ounces of mackerel contains your daily B12 requirement.

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
:
6
Tuna
Contains more Folate +650%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +10.3%
Contains more Vitamin A +1505.1%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +1290%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +61.1%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +219.4%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +28%
Equal in Vitamin B12 - 10.88
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 10% 48% 756% 0% 5% 44% 62% 0% 95% 12% 1500% 20%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 152% 0% 0% 0% 70% 71% 198% 83% 122% 2% 1361% 0%
Contains more Folate +650%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +10.3%
Contains more Vitamin A +1505.1%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +1290%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +61.1%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +219.4%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +28%
Equal in Vitamin B12 - 10.88

Minerals

Mackerel contains more calcium, zinc, and potassium.

The level of calcium in mackerel is five times higher than in mackerel.

On the other hand, tuna is higher in phosphorus and lower in sodium. Both fishes have equal amounts of iron, magnesium, and copper.

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
:
4
Tuna
Contains more Calcium +560%
Contains more Potassium +61%
Contains more Zinc +42.9%
Contains more Phosphorus +28.3%
Contains less Sodium -98.9%
Equal in Iron - 1.31
Equal in Magnesium - 64
Equal in Copper - 0.11
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 20% 53% 43% 109% 46% 581% 30% 34%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 3% 50% 46% 140% 29% 7% 22% 37%
Contains more Calcium +560%
Contains more Potassium +61%
Contains more Zinc +42.9%
Contains more Phosphorus +28.3%
Contains less Sodium -98.9%
Equal in Iron - 1.31
Equal in Magnesium - 64
Equal in Copper - 0.11

Fats

The fat content of mackerel is higher than that of tuna. Mackerel has 25.1g of fats per 100g, falling in the range of the top 10% of foods as a source of fats.

Tuna contains four times less fat: 6.28g per 100g.

Carbs

Both tuna and mackerel have no carbs.

Cholesterol

Mackerel contains two times more cholesterol than tuna. Mackerel has 95mg per 100g, while tune contains 45g per 100g. Those, who have any cardiovascular problems, should consume these fishes in moderation, as cholesterol can have harmful effects.

Protein

Tuna provides more protein than mackerel does. Tuna falls in the range of the top 4% of foods as a source of protein, containing 29.91g per 100g.

Mackerel has 18.5g of protein per 100g. Both of these fishes are excellent sources of this micronutrient.

Glycemic Index

According to the International Tables of Glycemic Index, the glycemic indexes of both mackerel and tuna are equal to 0.

HEALTH IMPACT

Both tuns and mackerel are good sources of healthy nutrients, from omega-3 fatty acids to Vitamin D and proteins.

Cardiovascular Health

According to research, omega-3 fatty acids may help balance blood pressure and lower the risk of developing heart disease. To avoid cardiovascular problems, researchers recommend eating two servings of fatty fish per week to avoid cardiovascular problems, equivalent to 250 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids also have anti-triglyceridemic, hemostatic, and anti-atherogenic properties, which may improve the hearts' structure and function.

Tuna and mackerel have high levels of gamma-tocopherol (gT), which has anti-inflammatory properties and is beneficial to the cardiovascular system [1] [2].

Diabetes

First of all, these fishes have no carbs, which means they will not raise your blood sugar levels after eating.

Besides, research suggests that fish oil may reduce the risk of impaired glucose tolerance and hepatic steatosis. Because of their positive effects on lipoprotein concentrations, omega-3 fatty acids from fatty fish and omega-6 fatty acids from linoleic acid are recommended for patients with type 2 diabetes. Incorporating fish oil into your daily meal or diet can help improve metabolic features associated with type 2 diabetes [3] [4].

Bone Health

Vitamin D and calcium supplements are essential nutrients for bone health.

Mackerels are high in calcium, providing about one-third of the daily requirement for the average person in each serving. They are also high in Vitamin D, which is essential for this process because it allows your body to absorb calcium [5].

Good Eye Health

One study shows [6] that omega-3 fats may reduce inflammation, improve dry eye symptoms, and reduce abnormal vessel growth in those with diabetic retinopathy. Similar studies have found that the high antioxidant content of sardines reduces the risk of age-related macular degeneration [7].

SIDE EFFECTS

Sodium

Although sodium is an essential mineral needed by our body, it is better to control sodium intake to less than 2,3 mg per day. Too much o it may raise blood pressure, and high blood pressure is a significant risk factor for heart disease and stroke; also, it can cause kidney stones.

Mackerel contains a high amount of sodium: 4450mg per 100g, so be mindful of mackerel consumption [8].

Allergy

Research indicates that 0.4% of adults in the United States are allergic to marine food. Most fish muscles contain the protein parvalbumin, which can cause allergies. Hives, skin rashes, headaches, diarrhea, and difficulty breathing are common symptoms. Both mackerels and tunas have omega-3 fatty acids, which can cause gastrointestinal upset and a fishy aftertaste. However, this is dose-dependent, and it is better to consume them in moderation to avoid allergic reactions [9].

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4278211/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3712371/
  3. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/94/1/26/4597878
  4. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0089845
  5. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0009912012002391
  6. https://www.aafp.org/afp/2004/0701/p133.html
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16111433/
  8. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2589537021000304
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27613460/
Article author photo Elen Khachatrian
Education: Nutrition & Microbiology at YSU
Last updated: May 21, 2022

Infographic

Mackerel vs Tuna infographic
Infographic link

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the most right column. It shows the amounts side by side, making it easier to realize the amount of difference.
Mackerel Tuna
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Cholesterol ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in glycemic index Equal
Lower in price Equal
Rich in minerals Equal
Rich in vitamins Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Mackerel Tuna Opinion
Net carbs 0g 0g
Protein 18.5g 29.91g Tuna
Fats 25.1g 6.28g Mackerel
Carbs 0g 0g
Calories 305kcal 184kcal Mackerel
Starch g g
Fructose g g
Sugar 0g g Tuna
Fiber 0g 0g
Calcium 66mg 10mg Mackerel
Iron 1.4mg 1.31mg Mackerel
Magnesium 60mg 64mg Tuna
Phosphorus 254mg 326mg Tuna
Potassium 520mg 323mg Mackerel
Sodium 4450mg 50mg Tuna
Zinc 1.1mg 0.77mg Mackerel
Copper 0.1mg 0.11mg Tuna
Vitamin A 157IU 2520IU Tuna
Vitamin E 2.38mg mg Mackerel
Vitamin D 1006IU IU Mackerel
Vitamin D 25.2µg µg Mackerel
Vitamin C 0mg 0mg
Vitamin B1 0.02mg 0.278mg Tuna
Vitamin B2 0.19mg 0.306mg Tuna
Vitamin B3 3.3mg 10.54mg Tuna
Vitamin B5 mg 1.37mg Tuna
Vitamin B6 0.41mg 0.525mg Tuna
Folate 15µg 2µg Mackerel
Vitamin B12 12µg 10.88µg Mackerel
Vitamin K 7.8µg µg Mackerel
Tryptophan mg 0.335mg Tuna
Threonine mg 1.311mg Tuna
Isoleucine mg 1.378mg Tuna
Leucine mg 2.431mg Tuna
Lysine mg 2.747mg Tuna
Methionine mg 0.885mg Tuna
Phenylalanine mg 1.168mg Tuna
Valine mg 1.541mg Tuna
Histidine mg 0.88mg Tuna
Cholesterol 95mg 49mg Tuna
Trans Fat g g
Saturated Fat 7.148g 1.612g Tuna
Monounsaturated Fat 8.32g 2.053g Mackerel
Polyunsaturated fat 6.21g 1.844g Mackerel

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Mackerel Tuna
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet Equal
Low Calories diet ok
Low glycemic index diet Equal

People also compare

Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores

The summary score is calculated by summing up the daily values contained in 300 grams of the product. Obviously the more the food fulfills human daily needs, the more the summary score is.
Vitamin Summary Score
212
Mackerel
171
Tuna
Mineral Summary Score
114
Mackerel
41
Tuna

Macronutrients Comparison

Macronutrient comparison charts compare the amount of protein, total fats, and total carbohydrates in 300 grams of the food. The displayed values show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of food.
Protein
111%
Mackerel
179%
Tuna
Carbohydrates
0%
Mackerel
0%
Tuna
Fats
116%
Mackerel
29%
Tuna

Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Sugar?
Tuna
Tuna is lower in Sugar (difference - 0g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Tuna
Tuna contains less Sodium (difference - 4400mg)
Which food is lower in Cholesterol?
Tuna
Tuna is lower in Cholesterol (difference - 46mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Tuna
Tuna is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 5.536g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
?
The foods have equal glycemic indexes (0)
Which food is cheaper?
?
The foods are relatively equal in price ($7)
Which food is richer in minerals?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.
Which food is richer in vitamins?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.

References

The source of all the nutrient values on the page (excluding the main article the sources for which are presented separately if present) is the USDA's FoodCentral. The exact links to the foods presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Mackerel - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168149/nutrients
  2. Tuna - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/173707/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000 calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.