It’s also a fantastic source of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which protect the heart. But not all tuna in tins is created equal. Researchers examined canned tuna products in American grocery shops for a study that was published in Public Health Nutrition. When compared to tuna packed in oil, tuna packed in water had higher levels of EPA and DHA and lower omega 6: omega 3 ratios.
Asim Maqbool, MD, associate professor of clinical pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and research author, says, “I specifically advocate light canned tuna in water, which gives good omega-3 fatty acids.” Another benefit is that light tuna only has roughly half as much mercury as albacore tuna, according to Maqbool.
According to the FDA, two cans of tuna per week is a safe amount to consume because canned tuna has lower mercury levels than tuna steaks and sushi. The organization is now updating its recommendations for eating fish during pregnancy in an effort to persuade more expectant mothers and young children to do so because of its numerous nutritional advantages. Light canned tuna falls into their “reduced mercury” group at 13 mcg per 4 ounces, along with salmon (2 mcg for 4 ounces), and shrimp (less than 1 mcg per 4 ounces).
The Harvard School of Public Health’s adjunct professor of environmental health and toxin researcher Philippe Grandjean, MD, disagrees, arguing that no canned tuna of any kind should be consumed. He claims that more than one-third of the average American’s mercury intake comes from canned tuna. In coastal U.S. communities, “about one in six women have elevated mercury exposures that could harm the fetus.”
Salmon, mackerel, and shrimp have significantly less mercury than tuna, thus he advises consumers to eat those instead. Michael Gochfeld, MD, PhD, professor of environmental and occupational medicine at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at Rutgers University, concurs with this suggestion. He advises pregnant women to avoid canned white tuna and to consume it in moderation. They would do much better to choose canned salmon, which is significantly higher in healthful omega 3s and has a very low mercury content.
Not only mercury is a potential pollutant. The linings of canned foods frequently contain the endocrine disruptor bisphenol A, ant BPA. Leonardo Trasande, associate professor of pediatrics and environmental medicine at New York University School of Medicine, and author of several recent papers on the health costs of endocrine-disrupting chemicals, claims that diet is the main source of BPA exposure, particularly in children, with canned food consumption being the predominant source. According to studies, consuming more fresh food can lower BPA levels while consuming more canned food can raise them.
David Katz, MD, the head of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, maintains that the advantages of canned tuna for health still outweigh any possible contamination dangers. The presence of fish in the diet is linked to better health, according to all research contrasting its inclusion and absence from diets. “Unfortunately, those toxins exist in a world that we haven’t exactly treated well. Food that is absolutely “pure” no longer exists.”
How do Omega 3 and Omega 6 differ from one another?
Eat less fat, according to this easy piece of advice. However, did you know that some forms of fat are really better for us to consume more of?
“Essential fats” include omega-3 and omega-6. In other words, they are essential for a healthy life and cannot be produced by our bodies. When utilized in place of less nutritious fats, they both provide health advantages. Researchers are still discussing the precise ratios of each type, but in general they advise consuming more Omega-3s and substituting Omega-6s for saturated and trans fats.
Omega-3 fatty acids, which are mostly found in seafood, nuts, leafy greens, and seeds, seem to lower inflammation, which is a major factor in many chronic health issues, including cardiovascular disease, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and obesity.
Some of the finest sources of DHA and EPA Omega-3 fatty acids include oily seafood, like tuna, salmon, and sardines. According to research, persons who consume more fatty fish had reduced incidences of heart disease and stroke. DHA is also crucial for maintaining the health of the brain and eyes. (3, 4)
Plant sources of Omega 3 include nuts and seeds like walnuts, flax and chia seeds, as well as select leafy greens like kale and Brussels sprouts.
When substituted for saturated and trans fats, omega-6 fatty acids may also help lessen the risk of heart disease. They also lower bad cholesterol (LDL), are crucial for healthy growth and development, support brain function, and maintain a healthy nervous system. (5)
Omega-6 fatty acids are present in a variety of vegetable oils, including canola oil, safflower oil, soy oil, and corn oil.
Many health experts contend that we consume too much, despite the fact that the majority of Americans have no trouble obtaining enough of these fats. The main line is that these fats are an essential component of the diet and have significant health advantages when they are substituted for less healthy fats and consumed in moderation.
- Consume seafood in a variety of dishes at least twice every week. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish like tuna, salmon, and sardines are particularly beneficial.
- Serve salads, grains, cereal, or veggie dishes with nuts.
- When making salad dressings or cooking, use minimal amounts of liquid oils, such as canola or olive oil.
- You can top your salad with flaxseeds, chia seeds, or sesame seeds, or you can put them into smoothies, soups, or porridge.
- Eat plenty of other fruits and vegetables in addition to leafy greens a few times per week.
- To reap the full benefits of these fats on your health as well as other nutrients your body requires to be healthy, adopt a Mediterranean diet.
- American Heart Association Journal, 2:e000506, 2013.
- 2005; 46(1):120-124 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
- 2007;369(9561):578–585 in the Lancet.
- 2008; 87(3):548-557 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
- 2009;119:902-907 in Circulation
*Omega 3 fatty acids can be found in great quantities in tuna. When EPA and DHA are combined, the amount of Omega 3s in various types of tuna can range from 80 mg to 240 mg per serving.
Mayonnaise is heavy in saturated fat, so do moderate your quantities. However, a tablespoon contains 5.4 grams of omega-6 and also contains some omega-3. Mix it with some canned tuna — an excellent source of omega-3s — to help meet your day’s fatty acid requirements.
Almonds and other nuts are good for the heart in part because they contain fatty acids. 24 almonds or 3.7 grams of omega-6s are contained in one ounce of them. However, nuts contain a lot of calories per serving, so eat them in moderation to prevent undesirable weight gain.
Are Salmon and Tuna in Cans Good Omega-3 Sources?
Omega-3 fatty acids, which must come from your food because your body cannot make them, are present in both canned salmon and tuna. Omega-3 fatty acids are present in varying levels in different varieties of salmon and tuna.
These fatty acids help lower the risk of heart disease and are important for neurological development.
Is tuna an omega-3 or omega-6?
Patients without a history of heart disease are advised by the American Heart Association to consume at least two servings of fish per week (a total of 6-8 ounces). This should include a variety of fish. Omega-3 fatty acids are abundant in cold-water wild fish species such mackerel, tuna, salmon, sardines, and herring. To choose fish with a high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, consult the list above.
Your doctor could advise that you consume one gram of EPA + DHA each day if you have heart problems. Consult your doctor about taking a fish oil supplement if you are having problems obtaining this amount from meals alone.
Even if you take medicine to lower your triglyceride levels, if you have high levels, you may need to eat additional foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Additionally, your doctor could advise taking a fish oil supplement. In general, people with elevated triglyceride levels should take 2-4 grams of EPA + DHA daily. It has been demonstrated that this dosage can reduce triglyceride levels by 25 to 35%.
Salmon or tuna, which is better for omega-3s?
Salmon and tuna are both very nutrient-dense foods. They include a wealth of vitamins and minerals as well as a lot of protein.
Salmon has a moist texture and an oily flavor in large part because of its fat level, but tuna has a leaner meatiness due to its higher protein and lower fat content.
The following table contrasts the nutritious contents of raw 3-ounce (85g) servings of wild salmon, farmed salmon, and tuna:
Because salmon is a fattier fish than tuna, it has more calories. Though majority of the fat is from beneficial omega-3s, don’t let that stop you from enjoying it (5, 6).
Additionally, salmon has more vitamin D per meal than tuna does. The fact that this nutrient isn’t naturally found in most foods causes some people to struggle to acquire enough of it (5, 6, 8).
On the other hand, tuna is the undisputed champion if you’re seeking for a food that’s high in protein and low in calories and fat (7).
Although they are both very nutritious, salmon is superior since it contains vitamin D and beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. If you’re seeking for more protein and less calories per serving, tuna is the winner.