Both canned salmon and canned tuna contain omega-3 fatty acids, the essential fatty acids that must come from your diet since your body can't manufacture them. Different types of tuna and salmon provide different amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.
These fatty acids are necessary for neurological development and are also helpful in reducing the risk of heart disease.
Include canned tuna and canned salmon for omega-3 fatty acids in your diet that your body can't make on its own. However, canned fish can also be high in a toxin called methylmercury.
Eat Omega-3 Fatty Acids
There are three main omega-3 fatty acids, including alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). DHA and EPA are the fatty acids found in seafood such as tuna and salmon. According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, adults should consume 8 or more ounces of seafood per week.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for cell health — and DHA is particularly important for maintaining healthy cells in your eyes, brain and sperm. According to Harvard Health Publishing, omega-3's have been shown to help prevent and control conditions such as eczema, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease and stroke.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the recommended amount of daily intake for omega-3 is 1.6 grams for men and 1.1 grams for women.
Tuna and Omega-3 Fatty Acids
While tuna in general contains a large amount of omega-3 fatty acids, the types of fatty acid and the amounts it contains can vary from one canned tuna type to another. Canned tuna typically contains 0.17 grams of omega-3 fatty acids per 3-ounce serving, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Try Some Canned Salmon
You can get wild salmon and farmed salmon in cans. As with tuna, manufacturers sell salmon packed in either oil or water. Canned salmon nutrition includes 0.95 grams of omega-3 fatty acids in a 3-ounce serving, according to the National Institutes of Health. Salmon contains more DHA and EPA than any type of canned tuna.
Be Aware of Methylmercury
Both canned tuna and salmon may contain methylmercury, a toxin that can accumulate in body tissues. When choosing fish for its omega-3 benefits, it's also important to consider the methylmercury content in the fish, especially if you're pregnant. Methylmercury in large amounts could harm pregnant people and young children by interfering with neurological development.
That doesn't mean that these individuals should avoid seafood altogether. On the contrary, pregnant or breastfeeding people should consume between 8 and 12 ounces of seafood per week, according to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, focusing on choices that are lower in methylmercury.
Albacore tuna contains a high level of methylmercury. Canned salmon contains just 0.008 parts per million mercury, compared to 0.350 ppm in canned albacore and 0.128 ppm in canned light fish, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: "Mercury Levels in Commercial Fish and Shellfish"
- MedlinePlus: Calcium in Diet
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Omega-3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Contribution"
- National Institutes of Health: "Omega-3 Fatty Acids Fact Sheet for Consumers"
- National Institutes of Health: "Omega-3 Fatty Acids"
- Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion: "2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans"