In a society abundant with convenience foods, it is all too easy to consume high levels of sodium. Canned goods, bagged snacks and fast food all contain salt, which can quickly exceed healthy levels. You don't have to completely avoid salt, but there are measures you can take to lower the amount you eat. Most canned tuna is loaded with sodium, but rinsing it in water reduces the quantity that it contains.
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest that you consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. If you are over 51, black or have health concerns such as high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease, the recommended limit decreases to 1,500 milligrams. The average can of drained light tuna in water contains 558 milligrams of sodium. One can of drained light tuna packed in oil has 605 milligrams of sodium.
A study from the "Journal of the American Dietetic Association" tested the effects of three minutes of water rinsing on several high-sodium foods. The results indicated that the sodium content of canned tuna was lowered by 80 percent after the rinse. Iron content was not affected, but calcium content decreased by 50 percent. Researchers concluded that rinsing canned tuna in water clearly reduced salt levels.
You can choose to purchase low-sodium canned tuna. One can of drained light tuna in water without salt contains 82 milligrams of sodium. There are 86 milligrams of sodium in a can of drained light tuna in oil without salt. This means you get approximately 85 percent less sodium in the no salt added varieties versus the salted cans. Calcium levels appear unchanged with the low-sodium options. Nutrients will vary by brand, so always read the nutrition label on the package to know what it contains.
Reducing Salt Elsewhere
While rinsing canned tuna or opting for low-sodium tuna are healthy options, it is wise to take a look at the other foods you are consuming throughout your day. This can help determine if there are other ways that you can cut down on your salt intake. Eating more fresh foods, using herbs and spices in place of salt for flavoring, reducing the amount of salt called for in recipes and selecting lower sodium versions of your favorite packaged foods are several ideas to consider.
- Mayo Clinic: Sodium: How to Tame Your Salt Habit Now
- PubMed: Effect of Water Rinsing on Sodium Content of Selected Foods
- USDA National Agriculture Library: Fish, Tuna, Light, Canned in Water, Drained Solids
- USDA National Agriculture Library: Fish, Tuna, Light, Canned in Oil, Drained Solids
- USDA National Agriculture Library: Fish, Tuna, Light, Canned in Water, Without Salt, Drained Solids
- USDA National Agriculture Library: Fish, Tuna, Light, Canned in Oil, Without Salt, Drained Solids