Eating canned salmon is a convenient way to add protein to your diet without adding a lot of fat, and may also provide you with some heart-health benefits due to the essential omega-3 fats it contains. However, you don't want to eat very large amounts of fish, since it may increase your chance of getting harmful contaminants like mercury.
Recommended Fish Intake
The American Heart Association recommends you consume fatty fish, like canned salmon, at least twice a week to lower your heart disease risk, with each serving consisting of 4 ounces of fish. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans also recommends eating at least 8 ounces of fish per week to help you get enough of the essential omega-3 fatty acids.
A 3-ounce serving of canned salmon contains about 999 milligrams of the omega-3 fats DHA and EPA, which is almost twice the recommended minimum consumption of 500 milligrams per day. A serving of canned pink salmon has 138 calories, and a serving of canned sockeye salmon has 167. Each of these types of salmon provides about 23 grams of protein and more than 10 percent of the daily value for vitamin B-12, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, phosphorus and selenium per serving.
Risk of Contamination
When choosing fish, you need to take into consideration the risk of mercury contamination. Some types of fish are likely to be highly contaminated with this dangerous metal, which others, including canned and fresh salmon, are among those fish that are likely to have the lowest levels of mercury contamination. You can safely eat up to 12 ounces of canned salmon per week, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Because of the low levels of contamination, the American Pregnancy Association notes that even pregnant women can safely consume this amount of canned salmon.
While canned salmon is relatively nutritious and safe, it is high in sodium, with about 400 milligrams per 3-ounce serving. This is about 17 percent of the recommended daily limit for sodium. Fresh salmon would be a healthier option, since getting too much sodium can increase your risk for high blood pressure and heart disease.
- Nutrients: Issues of Fish Consumption for Cardiovascular Disease Risk Reduction
- HealthAliciousNess.com: Nutrition Facts Comparison Tool
- American Pregnancy Association: Mercury Levels in Fish
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: What You Need to Know about Mercury in Fish and Shellfish
- Colorado State University Extension: Omega-3 Fatty Acids