Tuna sandwich is the ultimate post-workout snack for athletes! It’s more than protein. It’s packed with compounds that build muscle mass, prevent soreness, and fight exercise-induced inflammation, substantially improving athletic performance! For instance, tuna sandwich is an excellent dietary source of omega-3s, iron, zinc, selenium, vitamin B12, vitamin D, niacin, and many more!
Protein in tuna sandwich builds muscle mass
Above all, a tuna sandwich is a great post-workout snack because it’s particularly high in protein. A typical tuna sandwich has between 20 and 30 grams of protein.
Tuna is the main protein source. It has about 19 grams of protein per 100g. A typical 3-oz serving has 16 grams of protein. Most noteworthy, tuna is a highly bioavailable protein source.
Bread has a decent amount of protein as well. It has between 10 and 13 grams of protein per 100g, depending on the variety and processing methods. Two medium slices of bread provide more than 5 grams of protein.
We can increase the total protein content of tuna sandwich by adding protein-rich foods, such as egg, cheese, avocado, or seeds!
Supports a lean body
Additionally, athletes who train for a lean body could benefit by consuming a tuna sandwich after strenuous exercise because it regulates total energy intake.
A tuna sandwich reduces hunger for many hours with only a few calories. The combination of fiber and protein has a huge satiety effect. They delay digestion, take a lot of space in the stomach, and stimulate the synthesis of satiety hormones.
How to eat tuna sandwich for weight loss?
However, it’s vital to avoid canned tuna in oil if you’re on the cutting phase. It has almost 200 calories per 100g, while tuna in water has only 85 calories!
Vegetable oils are calorie-dense foods, as they’re almost 100% fat. Just a tablespoon has 125 calories!
Moreover, athletes who want a lean body should prefer eating whole grain bread. It has significantly more fiber than white bread.
In fact, tuna sandwich without fattening sauces is good for weight loss.
Athletes have high Iron requirements
Furthermore, athletes should eat a tuna sandwich after a workout because it’s an excellent dietary source of iron. Tuna is one of the richest fish in iron. Bread contains decent amounts of iron as well.
A typical tuna sandwich has about 3.5 mg of iron. This is 19% of the Daily Value.
However, you can prepare your tuna sandwich with egg, avocado, dried fruits, or certain seeds to skyrocket your iron intake. A tuna sandwich can provide more iron than 30% of the DV.
Athletes should consume lots of foods high in iron, as they have increased risk of iron deficiency. Especially women.
Low levels of iron can have detrimental effects on athletic performance, as it’s involved in oxygen transport and energy metabolism.
Eat tuna sandwich after exercise, as it’s high in Zinc
Eating a tuna sandwich after exhaustive exercise can replenish zinc. It provides about 1.44 mg of zinc, which is 13% of the Daily Value.
Zinc is an essential mineral for muscle growth. In fact, one in every ten human proteins is a zinc protein. Also, zinc is involved in energy metabolism, immunity, and antioxidative processes of the body.
Athletes should eat foods high in zinc after demanding workouts. Exercise-induced oxidative stress may cause zinc deficiency, which can have detrimental effects on sport performance!
Tuna is high in vitamin B12
Normal levels of vitamin B12 are crucial for athletes. Vitamin B12 deficiency may cause muscle pain, weakness, or fatigue.
As there aren’t many foods high in vitamin B12 and athletes have increased vitamin B12 requirements, low concentrations of vitamin B12 are pretty common.
Athletes who work out for muscle growth and strength should regularly consume foods with vitamin B12.
Tuna has about 2.5 mcg of vitamin B12 per 100g. A tuna sandwich provides about 90% of the recommended daily intake!
Tuna is one of the richest foods in vitamin B12. In fact, many fish are great dietary sources of vitamin B12.
The importance of Vitamin D for athletes
A high percentage of athletes as well as the general population is deficient in vitamin D.
Firstly, there aren’t many foods with vitamin D. Only fish and eggs are good dietary sources of vitamin D. So, many people get vitamin D from sun exposure, supplements, or fortified foods.
However, it’s vital for athletes to have healthy levels of vitamin D. Among other benefits, vitamin D may prevent injuries, promote injury recovery, reduce the risk of infections, improve athletic performance, enhance muscle growth, and many more!
There is no wonder why athletes have increased vitamin D requirements.
Tuna sandwich provides about 7% of the recommended daily intake.
Hard-training athletes require more selenium
Moreover, tuna is one of the best dietary sources of selenium. It has about 68 mcg of selenium per 100g. A typical 3-oz serving of tuna has slightly more selenium than the Daily Value.
Bread is also high in selenium, providing about 26 mcg per 100g.
Hence, a tuna sandwich has approximately 71 mcg of selenium, or 130% of the Daily Value!
Athletes who perform exhaustive workouts may require higher selenium intakes than the general population. Chronic high-intensity and high-volume training may deplete selenium from the muscles, leading to exercise-induced oxidative stress.
In fact, selenium has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Above all, it’s involved in the synthesis of one of the most powerful antioxidants in the body; the enzyme glutathione peroxidase. This enzyme fights free radicals in the body.
Improved defense mechanisms are beneficial for faster training recovery and improved athletic performance.
The role of Omega-3s in bodybuilding
Also, tuna is a good dietary source of omega-3s. Especially in DHA and EPA, which the body can easily utilize.
Omega-3s have beneficial effects on muscle growth. They’re involved in protein synthesis, recovery. Also, they fight soreness and inflammation!
But, there is no need to depend on fish for omega-3s. You can add certain seeds containing omega-3s to your favorite post-workout snack to skyrocket your daily intake of omega-3s.
Niacin in post-workout meal is good for endurance athletes
Tuna sandwich is a great dietary source of niacin as well. It contains about 10.65 mg of niacin. This dose is 67% of the Daily Value!
A diet high in niacin may improve endurance performance. Niacin plays a key role in muscle fiber composition and energy metabolism.
However, extremely high doses from supplements may have detrimental effects on physical performance.
How long after exercise should athletes eat a tuna sandwich?
Actually, the first snack after strenuous exercise should be high in easily digested carbs to replenish muscle glycogen stores. This process is important for faster muscle recovery.
Therefore, it’s preferred to eat a carbohydrate-rich snack after a workout. In fact, the best time to eat white bread or sugar is right after exercise.
Hence, tuna sandwich better be the second post-workout snack. Especially if it’s prepared with whole grain bread. Fiber in whole grain bread delays digestion of carbs.
Can athletes eat a tuna sandwich every day?
Although tuna is a great food for athletes, it’s healthier to eat it once or twice a week, rather than daily.
Above all, tuna may be contaminated with mercury. In fact, the daily consumption of tuna is rather likely to increase mercury levels in the body.[6,7]
Moreover, canned tuna is high in sodium. It can have more than 400 mg of sodium per 100g. This is 26% of the ideal limit.
Cutting down sodium can significantly improve blood pressure and heart health. Only long distance endurance athletes may have higher sodium needs due to large losses from sweating.
Either way, it’s healthier for you to eat a wide variety of foods. There are too many alternative post-workout snacks.
Tuna, chicken or turkey sandwich for athletes?
Other popular post-workout snacks are chicken and turkey sandwiches. They help build muscle mass and promote recovery, as they’re also packed with protein, and necessary vitamins and minerals for physical performance.
But, these common meat-based sandwiches have significantly less vitamin B12 than tuna, while they have no vitamin D!
Another great post-workout snack is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It supports muscle recovery, as peanut butter and berries are the best dietary sources of resveratrol.
Moreover, athletes could eat a cup of fruit salad after strenuous exercise. Fruits are nutrient-dense foods. They contain dozens of compounds that promote muscle hypertrophy, strength, and recovery.
Athletes should incorporate all of these great post-workout snacks into their diet routine. Eating a wide variety of foods is good for health as well as physical performance.
How to prepare the ultimate tuna sandwich for muscle growth?
Actually, there are many recipes for tuna sandwich. But, you should add certain foods that are particularly beneficial for muscle growth and recovery.
Above all, athletes who want a lean body should use only light mayo. Regular mayonnaise has too many calories. On the contrary, a tuna sandwich with light mayo supports weight loss.
Moreover, you could add 1–2 slices of avocado to your post-workout snack. Avocado is one of the most beneficial foods an athlete can eat after strenuous exercise. It’s a nutrient powerhouse.
Also, you could add seeds to your tuna sandwich. Many of them are high in essential minerals and omega-3s. For instance, hemp seeds are rich in protein and omega-3s, while pumpkin seeds are particularly high in iron and magnesium!
Furthermore, you could prepare your tuna salad with an egg. Egg is one of the best foods for an athlete. It’s a good dietary source of protein, vitamin B12, vitamin D, iron, calcium, and even omega-3s!
Last, but not least, you could prepare your favorite tuna sandwich with lettuce in order to boost your fiber intake. Also, you could try preparing it with spinach or kale. These are two of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat!
What’s the best time of the day to eat a tuna sandwich for a lean body?
Certainly, eating a tuna sandwich after a workout is good for a lean body. However, any time of the day is suitable for tuna consumption.
For instance, consuming a tuna sandwich in the morning promotes the feeling of fullness for hours and stimulates the synthesis of satiety hormones. It helps us consume fewer calories in a day without feeling hungry!
Additionally, a tuna sandwich is a great snack before bed. It supports a good night’s sleep, which is crucial for maintaining a healthy body weight and building muscle mass.
Don’t eat tuna sandwich before a workout
On the contrary, the worst time of the day to eat a tuna sandwich is before a workout. It isn’t easily digested. Therefore, it can cause discomfort, bloating, or even gas, negatively affecting physical performance.