Is canned tuna healthy to eat? Yes, canned tuna can be a healthy choice, as it is a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for brain health and heart health. However, there are some factors to consider when choosing canned tuna.
One healthy factor to consider is the added ingredients in canned tuna. Some brands may add extra salt or oil, which can increase the sodium and calorie content. Look for canned tuna that is packed in water and has no added salt for the healthiest option.
Is Canned Tuna Fish a Healthy Food Choice?
Fresh fish is good for you and tuna is one of the world’s most popular choices. But is canned tuna fish healthy?
Tuna is an oily fish rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent heart disease. But is canned tuna a healthy option, when experts suggest avoiding processed foods? Is fresh tuna better than canned? Let’s take a look.
As an excellent, low-fat source of protein, tuna helps with cell renewal and tissue repair. It also helps build and maintain muscle mass. Every part of the body — including the hair and nails — needs a good protein source to stay healthy and strong.
Tuna has antioxidant properties that protect your body from damage by free radicals. Antioxidants help prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, hormonal conditions and some cancers.
Tuna is rich in omega-3 fatty acids — unsaturated fats that help improve cardiovascular function. According to recent research, eating the right amount of tuna can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart failure and stroke.
However, there is a danger in consuming large amounts of canned tuna. It may contain unhealthy levels of mercury, which can induce mercury poisoning, which in turn may lead to brain damage and kidney failure. This is more of an issue in young people, the elderly, and pregnant women.
Albacore tuna, also known as white tuna, tends to have higher levels of mercury than other types of tuna, such as skipjack or yellowfin. Mercury is a toxic substance that can accumulate in the body over time, so it’s important to limit your intake of high-mercury fish.
Check the labels on cans — skipjack tuna is significantly lower in mercury than albacore.
Conversely, many of the warnings about mercury poisoning have been over-hyped. For you to be exposed to dangerous mercury levels, you would have to eat more than the recommended amounts of canned tuna for a healthy diet. The secret to limiting your exposure to mercury from tuna is moderate consumption.
Another concern about canned tuna is the presence of Bisphenon-A (BPA). This is a chemical used for lining cans, and there are concerns about its use, since it has caused pre-cancerous changes in the bodies of some animals, as well as causing abnormalities in the reproductive system. Look for BPA-free packaging to limit the risks, although there is no conclusive evidence that BPA has the same effects on humans.
All canned foods are higher in sodium content, and tuna is no exception. Canned food needs preservatives, and salt or sodium is an excellent choice, particularly for fish. However, too much sodium or salt in your diet can lead to the development of heart disease. Therefore, avoid tuna canned in brine and go for fish in spring water or olive oil.
Of course, you cannot remove salt from your diet entirely, as it has health benefits. Salt helps regulate blood pressure and maintains the balance of fluids in your body. If you have a problem with sodium levels in your body, choose light tuna or tuna with no added sodium.
Be selective when shopping for canned tuna. Canned tuna is healthy, but check the nutritional facts on the can to ensure it contains the recommended levels of nutrients, with no excessive fat or sodium. Like all foods, canned tuna is best consumed in moderation as part of a healthy, varied diet.
Fish is good for you, and eating canned tuna fish in moderation is the key to making sure you maximize the health benefits without increasing the risks. While there are risks with eating canned tuna, its benefits outweigh those risks. Importantly, canned tuna is more affordable than fresh, so if that’s the only way you can afford to include tuna in your diet, go for it!
Learn How to Make A Super-Easy and Delicious Tuna Salad! Best Tuna Fish Salad with Egg and Celery
Healthiest Canned Tuna Brand
Determining the healthiest canned tuna brand depends on several factors, such as the type of tuna, the fishing methods used, and the presence of additives. However, some brands have taken measures to prioritize sustainability, quality, and healthfulness in their products. Here are a few canned tuna brands that are generally considered to be healthier options:
Wild Planet: This brand offers a range of canned tuna products, all of which are sustainably caught using pole and line methods. They do not add any extra oils or fillers to their products, and their tuna is lower in mercury compared to some other brands.
American Tuna: This brand sources their tuna from pole and line fishing boats in the North Pacific, and their products are available in several varieties, including albacore and skipjack. Their canned tuna is packed in its natural juices, and they do not add any extra oils or fillers.
Safe Catch: This brand tests every single fish for mercury and is committed to sourcing sustainably caught tuna. Their products are also free from additives, fillers, and preservatives.
Ocean Naturals: This brand uses pole and line methods to catch their tuna and is committed to sustainable practices. Their products are also free from additives, and their canned tuna is available in several varieties.
There are many delicious ways to enjoy canned tuna fish. Here are some ideas:
- Tuna salad – Mix canned tuna with some mayonnaise, diced celery, diced onion, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve on top of a bed of lettuce or in a sandwich.
- Tuna melt – Mix canned tuna with some mayonnaise and place on top of a slice of bread. Top with cheese and broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Tuna pasta salad – Mix cooked pasta with canned tuna, diced cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and a vinaigrette dressing. Chill in the refrigerator and serve cold.
- Tuna patties – Mix canned tuna with breadcrumbs, egg, diced onion, and some spices. Form into patties and pan-fry until crispy and golden brown.
- Tuna poke bowl – Mix canned tuna with soy sauce, sesame oil, diced avocado, diced cucumber, and some sesame seeds. Serve over a bed of rice or greens.
- Tuna Nicoise salad – Arrange canned tuna, hard-boiled eggs, cherry tomatoes, olives, and boiled potatoes on a bed of lettuce. Drizzle with a vinaigrette dressing.
- Tuna and white bean salad – Mix canned tuna with canned white beans, diced red onion, diced celery, and some lemon juice. Serve as a side dish or as a topping for crostini.
Learn how to make your own healthy mayonnaise for your tuna salad.
How Much Protein is In a Can of Tuna?
The amount of protein in a can of tuna can vary depending on the size of the can and the brand of tuna. On average, a 5-ounce can of tuna packed in water contains approximately 20-25 grams of protein. However, some brands may have more or less protein per serving depending on the specific product. It’s always a good idea to read the nutrition label to determine the exact amount of protein in a can of tuna.
How Long Does Canned Tuna Last in Your Pantry?
The shelf life of canned tuna varies depending on the type of tuna, storage conditions, and packaging. In general, canned tuna can last for a long time if stored properly.
Unopened canned tuna, whether it’s packed in water, oil, or any other liquid, typically has a shelf life of 2 to 5 years from the date of production when stored in a cool, dry place. Some canned tuna manufacturers may print a “best by” or “use by” date on the can to give you an idea of when the quality might start to decline, but the product is often safe to consume past that date if it has been stored properly.
It’s important to note that the quality of the tuna may deteriorate over time, and the taste, texture, and nutritional value might not be as good as it was when first canned. If you notice any signs of spoilage, such as a foul odor, strange appearance, or an off taste, it’s best to discard the canned tuna.
Once the can is opened, the tuna should be consumed immediately or refrigerated and consumed within a few days. Always follow any specific storage and handling instructions provided by the manufacturer for the best results.
Remember to store canned tuna away from direct sunlight and sources of heat, as exposure to high temperatures can accelerate the deterioration process. Additionally, avoid using cans that are visibly damaged, dented, or leaking, as this can compromise the safety and quality of the tuna.
Delicious Recipes with Tuna Fish
Overall, canned tuna can be a healthy choice as long as you choose the right type and read the label carefully to avoid added salt or oil. It’s also a good idea to vary your protein sources and not rely solely on canned tuna for your protein needs.