is tuna fish acidic or alkaline

Is Tuna Fish Acidic or Alkaline? A Complete Guide

Eating healthy involves being aware of how different foods impact your body’s pH balance. When it comes to fish, many people wonder – is tuna fish acidic or alkaline? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll examine the acidity and alkalinity of tuna fish to help you make informed dietary choices.

What Determines If A Food Is Acidic or Alkaline?

The acidity or alkalinity of a food is determined by the ash residue it leaves behind when digested. Foods containing higher levels of minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sodium tend to be more alkaline. Meanwhile, foods with higher sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine, and iodine leave an acidic ash residue.

To measure a food’s pH level, the potential hydrogen (pH) scale ranges from 0 to 14. A lower pH value (0-6.9) means more acidic while a higher value (7-14) indicates more alkaline. A neutral pH is around 7.

When we eat, our digestive system breaks down foods into waste to be excreted. The remaining mineral content forms an ash residue that can be either acidic, alkaline, or neutral. Because our bodies need both acid and alkaline foods in balance, it’s ideal to have a slightly alkaline-leaning dietary pH.

What Is The pH Of Tuna Fish?

Fresh tuna has a moderately acidic pH around 6.0. Processed canned tuna is more acidic with a pH of 3.5. So tuna fish is mildly acidic in its fresh form, and more strongly acidic after canning and processing.

Compared to other meats, tuna’s acidity falls mid-range:

  • Red meats like beef are highly acidic with a pH around 4.5-5.0
  • Poultry like chicken is mildly acidic with a pH of 6.0-6.5
  • Fish like tuna range from acidic to neutral with a pH of 6.0-7.0

Within the broader fish category, tuna is more acidic than white fish which tend to be neutral But tuna is less acidic than salmon with a pH around 50-6.0.

Why Tuna Fish Is Acidic

As a high protein food, tuna contains amino acids that break down into acidic metabolites in our bodies. Specifially, the amino acids in tuna convert to sulfuric acid, phosphoric acid, and nitric acid upon digestion.

Tuna also contains purines which metabolize into uric acid, contributing to the food’s overall acidic load. Fats in tuna consist of acidic saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids.

Finally, the canning process lowers tuna’s pH substantially by altering its nutritional composition. Canned tuna becomes more acidic primarily due to:

  • Oxidation of omega-3 fats into acidic byproducts
  • Degradation of proteins into individual amino acids
  • Loss of alkaline minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium

Health Impact Of Tuna’s Acidity

Eating tuna fish supplies valuable nutrients like protein, omega-3s, selenium, vitamin B12, and niacin. However, tuna’s acidity can also have negative health effects if consumed in excess. Potential concerns include:

  • Increased calcium loss from bones when buffering tuna’s acid load
  • Higher risk of kidney stones or gout from increased uric acid
  • Digestive issues like acid reflux when eating canned tuna
  • Excess intake of mercury and other heavy metals more likely in acidic environment

Despite these risks, tuna fish offers nutritional benefits and can be part of a balanced diet. Focus on moderation, eat more alkaline foods like vegetables to balance acidity, and choose lower mercury fish like skipjack or tongol tuna.

Lowering Tuna’s Acidic Impact

If you want to eat tuna but reduce its acidity, here are some tips:

  • Opt for fresh tuna over canned – fresh has a higher pH of 6.0 vs canned at 3.5 pH
  • Grilling, baking or poaching tuna instead of frying – cooking methods preserve more nutrients
  • Pairing tuna with alkalizing foods like broccoli, spinach, kale, carrots, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, etc
  • Choosing tuna packed in water over oil – less oxidation of delicate omega-3 fats
  • Limiting acidic seasonings like soy sauce, lemon juice, vinegar, tomatoes, etc
  • Consuming tuna in moderation as part of a varied diet

Testing Your Body’s pH Levels

To see how specific foods impact your pH levels, you can test your urine using strips or litmus paper. First thing in the morning is best. Optimally, you want a slightly alkaline urinary pH between 7.0-7.5. If tuna fish is making you too acidic, cut back and focus on more alkalizing foods to better balance your pH.

Alkaline Fish Options Besides Tuna

If tuna is too acidic for you, some more alkalizing fish options include:

  • Mackerel: fresh pH of 7.0, canned pH of 5.0
  • Salmon: pH of 5.0-6.0
  • Sardines: pH of 5.0-6.0
  • Cod: pH of 6.0-7.0
  • Flounder: pH of 6.0-7.0
  • Sole: pH of 6.0-7.0

Again, always balance fish intake with plenty of alkaline fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and legumes. For even more alkaline options, incorporate plant-based seafood like kelp noodles and algae products.

The Bottom Line: Is Tuna Fish Acidic or Alkaline?

When determining if a food is acidic or alkaline, we look at the ash residue left after digestion. Tuna fish has an acidic pH around 6.0 when fresh and 3.5 when canned.

Tuna’s acidity comes from its high protein and purine content metabolizing into sulfuric acid, phosphoric acid, uric acid and other acidic byproducts. Canning further acidifies tuna by degrading nutrients and allowing fat oxidation.

While tuna provides beneficial nutrition like protein, vitamin B12 and selenium, its acidic load can potentially leach calcium from bones, increase kidney stone risk, and cause digestive issues if consumed in excess.

For those seeking to follow a more alkalizing diet, fresh tuna in moderation remains an option. But emphasize balancing tuna intake with ample amounts of alkalizing fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes. Testing your first morning urine pH can help gauge if your body is maintaining a healthy balance between acidity and alkalinity.

5 of The Healthiest Fish to Eat and 5 to Avoid


Is tuna ok on an alkaline diet?

Meat and cured meats like bacon are also good to eat less of as is poultry, and canned sardines and tuna. Go slow on eggs, refined grains, alcohol, soda, caffeine, and artificial sweeteners.

Is tuna ok for acid reflux?

Baked or grilled lean meats, such as skinless chicken and turkey, are great protein choices that shouldn’t provoke heartburn. If you’re a seafood enthusiast, go ahead and enjoy grilled fish like salmon or tuna.

What is the pH of canned tuna fish?

Their results showed that the pH of fresh fish was 5.62 and canned fish was 5.83. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the nutritional value and the heavy metals levels in the canned tuna fish compared to the fresh tuna fish.

What fish is low in acid?

White fish is a great option (think Mahi Mahi, halibut, or tilapia), but other fish, like salmon or tuna, will also keep acid reflux low. Aim to eat it regularly in the week, along with some green veggies!

Is tuna acidic or alkaline?

The pH of fresh Tuna, both broiled and baked, ranges from 5.2 to 6.1. Canned Tuna, on the other hand, has a pH of 5.9-6.2. A pH of 7 is regarded as neutral. Anything with a pH of 7 or higher is alkaline, while anything with a pH of 7 or lower is acidic. Tuna has a pH that is close to neutral, making it less acidic.

Is tuna fish good for health?

1) Tuna is loaded with omega 3 and 6 fatty acids which help in reducing cholesterol. 2) Tuna is rich in potassium which is known to reduce blood pressure. Omega 3 fatty acids in combination with potassium bring an anti inflammatory effect and promotes heart health. 3) Tuna is rich in various vitamins and minerals like manganese, zinc, vit C and selenium which help in strengthening immune system. They help in reducing free radicals and protect the body from cancers. 4) Vit B that is present in tuna helps in strengthening bones. 5) It improves skin health as it is rich in vitamin B complex.

What is the pH of tuna?

Once digested, tuna has a pH of 6.0 when it’s fresh and 3.5 when it’s canned. An acidic food category is fish. Food is consumed and decomposes into an ash deposit that may be neutral, acidic, or alkaline.

Are all foods acidic or alkaline?

Different foods have different levels of acidity. Foods that are highly acidic are called “acidic” foods, and those that are not acidic at all are called “alkaline.” Some refer to alkaline foods as basic. The acidity or alkalinity of foods are measured by their pH, and it is measured on a scale of 0 to 14.

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