Canned Tuna Benefits, Nutrition, And Its Side Effects

canned tuna benefits

Canned tuna benefits a lot. Canned tuna is a healthful food rich in protein and contains many vitamins and minerals such as B-Complex vitamins, Vitamins A and D as well as iron, selenium, and phosphorus. Tuna also contains healthy omega-3 essential fatty acids DHA and EPA.

Canned Tuna Benefits

Source of high-quality protein

Fish is a source of high-quality protein, and canned tuna in particular offers an affordable protein source and makes a useful storecupboard staple.

Useful source of the amino acid taurine

As well as being a source of protein, seafood, including fish like tuna, is a useful source of the amino acid taurine. Studies suggest this amino acid may be helpful for protecting against heart disease.

Useful source of vitamins and minerals

Both fresh and canned tuna are useful sources of B vitamins, especially niacin (B3), which supports the nervous system and skin. Tuna also contains calcium, which supports healthy bones and muscle contractions; magnesium, required for energy; and vitamin D, which supports the immune system, bone strength, and brain function. Fresh tuna (per 100g) has double the amount of vitamin D compared to that canned tuna.

Low in fat

Tuna is low in fat, with just 1g of fat in a 100g edible portion – this is also the case for tuna canned in spring water or brine. Although once considered an oily variety of fish, the type considered beneficial for heart health, the UK’s official advice on oily fish changed in 2018, with tuna no longer counting as a good source. This is because current data shows that levels of the long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in fresh tuna are more comparable to that found in white fish.

It may help weight management

Tuna, including canned tuna in spring water or brine, is low in fat and calories, but high in protein, making it a useful inclusion in a weight loss diet.

It supports heart health

Fatty fish is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and a can of oil-packed tuna contains 14 percent of the recommended daily amount of omega-3s. Your body can’t make these essential fats on its own, according to the Cleveland Clinic, so you have to get them through your diet.

Omega-3s are linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, blood clots, and inflammation. They can also lower your blood pressure and increase levels of high-density lipoprotein, the “good” cholesterol, per the Cleveland Clinic. And that’s all good news for your heart health.

It’s tied to brain health

Getting enough omega-3s (like by eating tuna) is linked to a lower likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, per the National Institutes of Health (NIH). But more research needs to be done to confirm these findings.

It’s good for your vision

Age-related macular degeneration can cause vision loss in older adults, and some research suggests that getting enough omega-3s is linked to a lower risk of developing the disease, per the NIH. However, once a person has age-related macular degeneration, it can’t be reversed by eating more omega-3s.

It can help prevent anemia

Canned tuna is rich in vitamin B12, providing 163 percent of your daily needs. A vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to megaloblastic anemia, a condition in which your body doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. This type of anemia can cause weakness, nerve damage, weight loss, irritability, fatigue, and an increased heart rate. But eating tuna regularly can help you avoid being at risk for anemia.

It supports strong bones

Both vitamin B12 and protein — two nutrients tuna is rich in — play a role in maintaining strong, healthy bones by reducing the chances of developing osteoporosis, according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation. Canned tuna has other nutrients — such as vitamin B6, magnesium, vitamin D, and zinc — that help build bone mineral density.

It’s high in Vitamin D

A can of water-packed white tuna has 3.44 micrograms of vitamin D, which is around 23 percent of the recommended daily amount. Most Americans don’t get the suggested amount of 15 micrograms of vitamin D per day, according to the NIH. Getting enough vitamin D is to better heart and bone health.

Canned Tuna Nutrition Facts

Oil-Packed White Tuna

Canned tuna’s nutritional breakdown depends on how the fish is packed in the can. According to the USDA, a can of white tuna in oil (drained) contains:

  • ​Calories:​ 331
  • ​Total fat:​ 14.4
  • Cholesterol:​ 55.2 mg
  • ​Sodium:​ 705 mg
  • Total carbs:​ 0 g
  • Dietary fiber:​ 0 g
  • Sugar:​ 0 g
  • Protein:​ 47.2 g

Water-Packed White Tuna

A little lighter in calories and fat, but also lower in protein, water-packed canned white tuna contains:

  • ​Calories:​ 220
  • ​Total fat:​ 5.1 g
  • Cholesterol:​ 72.2 mg
  • ​Sodium:​ 648 mg
  • Total carbs:​ 0 g
  • Dietary fiber:​ 0 g
  • ​Sugar:​ 0 g
  • ​Protein:​ 40.6 g
  • Selenium:​ 205% Daily Value (DV)
  • Vitamin B12:​ 84% DV
  • ​Vitamin B3 (Niacin):​ 62% DV
  • ​Phosphorus:​ 30% DV
  • ​Vitamin B6:​ 22% DV
  • ​Vitamin D:​ 17% DV
  • ​Magnesium:​ 14% DV
  • ​Vitamin E:​ 10% DV
  • Iron:​ 9% DV
  • ​Potassium:​ 9% DV
  • Zinc:​ 8% DV
  • Copper:​ 7% DV

Canned Tuna Side Effects

Eating a lot of canned tuna, along with other foods high in sodium like canned soups, baked goods, and other processed foods and restaurant meals, raises your risk of high blood pressure, kidney disease, diabetes, and sleep apnea.

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