Canned tuna is one of the most common foods found in a modern house, but most people are unaware of its true nutritional benefits.
There are many tuna varieties, in general however tuna is considered an excellent source of protein, and low in fat and calories.
Whether tuna is water-packed or oil-packed, it can affect its nutritional value. Canned tuna packed in oil is higher in calories and fat when compared to water-packed canned tuna.
All in all, canned tuna is higher in sodium than fresh tuna. However, the number of calories and the amount of total fat and saturated fat depends on whether tuna is water-packed or oil-packed.
The nutritional value can be different from canning company to canning company, depending on the canning method, so you should check the label.
Water-packed tuna can also be higher in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is very important for the health of the brain and the eyes.
Both fresh and canned tuna are good sources of necessary vitamins and metals, like Vitamin D, Selenium, and Iodine.
There are many benefits to consuming canned tuna.
Specifically, it's a cheap source of protein with a longer shelf-life. Some canned tuna companies make canned tuna that can last for 2–5 years in the pantry.
If you want to lose weight, canned tuna is a good choice, as it has low calories but it's high in protein. A diet that's high in protein has been shown to help weight loss.
Despite being low fat, canned tuna is still a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 acids are necessary for weight loss and are beneficial to the health of the heart, the eyes, and the brain. Fish are generally considered an excellent source of healthy fats in one's diet, though you can also get omega-3 from plant sources.
Consuming canned tuna is a great way to get more omega-3 in your diet. The types and amounts of omega-3 fatty acids can be different depending on the canned tuna you choose, so read the labels and compare them.
Finally, even though they are canned, many canned tuna companies process the tuna minimally, and some products contain only tuna, salt, and water or oil. Some brands might add spices or broth for additional taste.
The most important concern regarding tuna is mercury content. There are some more drawbacks related the tuna's fat and sodium content, as well as the safety of the can itself.
Mercury is a heavy metal that is often found in fish because of water pollution. High exposure to mercury can create significant health issues to humans, including damage to the central nervous system.
Since tuna eats other smaller fish that might already be infected with mercury, this metal can accumulate in high concentrations in tuna. So, tuna tends to have more mercury than other fish.
The mercury content depends on the tuna species. Generally, larger tuna species, like bigeye and albacore, have more mercury.
Given that canned tuna is usually made with younger and smaller tuna species, it's usually lower in mercury than frozen or fresh tuna fillets.
Studies have shown that people who consume fish with high mercury content at least once a week, are more likely to feel fatigued.
People must limit their consumption of canned tuna from the albacore species to a portion of 113gr per week, as this species is the one with the most mercury.
Research has shown that exposure to mercury is incredibly toxic for the central nervous system of a developing child. For this reason, canned tuna should be limited to infants and children.
According to the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA), children aged 2–10 can eat up to 28gr of low-mercury fish, including low-mercury canned tuna, two to three times a week.
The health authorities don't traditionally suggest infants that are under one-year-old eating fish. However, research has shown that controlled exposure at a young age is connected to a lower danger of asthma and eczema.
For now, there are no suggestions for the consumption of canned tuna by infants. So, it's best you ask your pediatrician about how much-canned tuna you can safely give to your children, and at what age.