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Tuna Dark Meat Color, Flavor and Nutritional Value

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Tuna Dark Meat Color, Flavor and Nutritional Value

As a seawater fish, the tuna comes in many varieties of meat which can range from light to dark color meat. It is different from other fish which mostly have white meat; tuna dark meat comes from its muscle tissue which also ranges in color from light pink color that almost looked white to dark red color.
What is Tuna Dark Meat Difference with White Tuna?
Usually tuna meat is canned and you can find two main variations of canned tuna in the market which different in both quality and taste. The first variation is white tuna which is made from albacore tuna. The albacore tuna has meat that is almost completely consist of white color with hint of light pink color, which is why this type of tuna is most suitable to be canned. The second variation is light tuna which is made from many kinds of tuna such as yellowfin or skipjack. Both of those fishes have tuna dark meat, because the meat color is darker which is varied from light tan toward dark red color.
When canned, while tuna will be soak using oil while the light tuna will be soak using water. This is what makes the two variations of canned tuna in the market is different. Because light tuna is soak using water, then it is considered to be healthier variation of the two. From the flavor, white tuna is lighter with mild fishy flavor which similar to chicken breast and the texture is firm. On the other hand light tuna which consist of dark meat has more flavorful, but do not be afraid since the texture is soft which is similar to chicken thigh. However in regards of taste, many preferred white tuna offer tuna dark meat because they do not like the strong flavor that the dark meat has.
The pink or red color in tuna which also called as tuna dark meat is actually muscle which is very rich in hemoglobin and myoglobin. Hemogoblin itself is a type of protein or pigment in the red blood cell with function to carries oxygen from lungs to the muscle and tissue as well as carries back the carbon dioxide from the muscle and tissue back to the lungs. While the myoglobin itself is a type of protein or pigment in the muscle with functions to carry the oxygen and usually used by heart and muscle in the process of physical exertion. This pigment is the same pigment that contains iron which also the one that creates red color in red meat.
The muscle tissue that has dark red color means they also have more capillaries with higher hemoglobin content. Fish that lives in the ocean like tuna will be very active and use their muscle to swim continuously. However those muscle tissues that have dark red color only make up around twenty percent of the total muscle tissue in tuna. The market quality of a tuna, it is determined by a lot of factor and one being the muscle color. The highest grade of tuna quality has dark and clear bright red color meat with firm texture and has no fat. While the lowest grade of tuna quality has light and brown color meat with soft texture.
Intensity of tuna dark meat color will depend on the amount of hemoglobin and myoglobin contained inside the meat muscle. The darker the tuna meat is, meaning they have more hemoglobin and myoglobin inside while the lighter the tuna meat is, meaning they have less hemoglobin and myoglobin inside.
From the nutritional view, the white tuna has higher calories and fat which is why it also contains more Omega 3 fatty acids compared to light tuna with dark meat. However, you should be aware that all fish that comes from the sea will contain mercury including tuna. As we know mercury is considered dangerous for human. When seen from the mercury level contained inside the meat, it is known that light tuna is safer compared to white tuna because it contained less mercury than white tuna. In fact white tuna is known to contain three times more mercury compared to light tuna. Generally, both white tuna and tuna dark meat has similar properties so it will depend on your preference which one that you like the most.


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