Canned albacore tuna -- also known as canned white tuna -- is a convenient way to add fish to salads and sandwiches. But convenience isn't the only reason to choose canned albacore tuna. Albacore tuna is a healthy food that's rich in important nutrients, including dietary protein, omega-3 fatty acids and the antioxidant mineral selenium. Understanding the nutritional value of canned albacore tuna may have you reaching for a can of this nutrition powerhouse for your next meal.
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Calories and Fat
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a 3-ounce serving of albacore tuna canned in water contains only 109 calories. Low-calorie foods like tuna are a healthy choice for people looking to lose weight. Additionally, tuna is a rich source of dietary protein, with 20 grams per serving. A serving also provides 2.5 grams of dietary fat. However, the type of fat in canned albacore tuna is primarily the health-boosting omega-3 variety.
Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy forms of fat found in abundance in plant foods such as flaxseeds and soybeans and in marine life, for example tuna and salmon. Unlike plants, fish contains two particular forms of omega-3s -- known as docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid -- that are particularly well utilized by the body. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the many benefits of regularly consuming omega-3 fats include boosting low "good" high-density lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol levels, reducing risk of heart disease, improving symptoms of arthritis, aiding in asthma relief and combating certain forms of cancer. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends consuming omega-3-rich fish two or three times per week. A single serving of canned albacore tuna contains approximately 350 milligrams of omega-3 fats.
Selenium is an antioxidant mineral your body needs in small amounts to combat cellular damage. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, adult men and women should aim for 55 micrograms of selenium per day. A single serving of canned albacore tuna contains more than 55 micrograms of selenium.
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin made by your body when your skin is exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D's many roles in the body include bone building and promoting the activity of immune cells. A serving of canned albacore tuna contains approximately 10 percent of your daily vitamin D needs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports.
Although healthy, tuna is abundant in the toxin mercury, which may be harmful to certain populations when consumed in large amounts. The Food and Drug Administration advises pregnant women and children to limit their intake of albacore tuna to 6 ounces or less per week.