Canned salmon is a quick and inexpensive way to get fish on the table. How does it compare to fresh salmon in terms of nutrition? Which is the healthier choice?
People are recognizing the importance of getting more omega-3 fatty acids in their diet from fatty fish such as salmon. On the other hand, not everyone has the time to get a fresh piece of salmon on the dinner table. Fortunately, grocery stores have a plentiful supply of canned salmon that’s ready to eat, but what about the nutritional benefits? Is canned salmon healthy?
Canned Salmon vs. Fresh Salmon: The Advantages of Canned Salmon
Canned salmon is more convenient for most people to prepare. The good news? It even has a nutritional advantage. When canned salmon is processed, the calcium-rich bones are left intact – giving canned salmon an edge when it comes to building stronger bones. A full four ounce serving of canned salmon has almost as much calcium as a glass of milk, and it’s also a better source of vitamin D.
When salmon is prepared for canning, some of the fat is processed out which means it’s lower in calories than its fresh and frozen counterparts. Canned salmon is also usually caught in the wild which means that it’s lower in mercury and other contaminants than farm raised fresh salmon. Fresh salmon is usually more expensive than canned and may be harder to find.
Canned Salmon vs. Fresh Salmon: The Disadvantages of Canned Salmon
Although convenient, canned salmon has a few disadvantages from a health standpoint. Because some of the fat is removed during processing, it only has about half the amount of omega-3’s that fresh and frozen salmon does. If you’re eating salmon for the omega-3’s, you may be selling yourself short using canned salmon. In addition, most cans contain BPA liners and the BPA can leech into the salmon. Canned salmon is also significantly higher in salt – which most people don’t need more of.
The Bottom Line?
Each type of salmon has its advantages and disadvantages, but, overall, fresh or frozen salmon that’s caught in the wild (not farmed) is the healthiest choice. It has twice the omega-3’s of canned salmon and lacks the added sodium. If you can find it, this is the best option. If you’re looking for convenience, canned salmon will work in a pinch, but it’s best to soak to in water to reduce the amounts of BPA from the can that may have contaminated the fish.
Wild salmon is a nutritious choice for lunch dinner – or anytime. However you choose to do it, get more wild salmon in your diet.