Tuna Nutrition Facts

Calories, Carbs, and Health Benefits of Tuna

tuna nutrition facts and health benefits

Photo: Alexandra Shytsman

 

Tuna is a healthy and affordable source of omega-3 fatty acids that is a smart addition to your diet. 

Tuna Nutrition 

Tuna Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 2 oz chunk light, canned in water, drained
Per Serving% Daily Value*
Calories  50 
Calories from Fat  10 
Total Fat   1g2%
Saturated Fat  0g0%
Polyunsaturated Fat  0g 
Monounsaturated Fat  0g 
Cholesterol 25mg8%
Sodium  180mg 8%
Potassium   100mg2%
Carbohydrates  <1g2%
Dietary Fiber <1g2%
  
Protein 10g18%
Vitamin D 6% · Vitamin B6 6%

Vitamin B12  15% · Iron 4% · Selenium 60%

Fresh tuna is packed with nutrition. However, when you evaluate tuna nutrition facts, it is important to keep your preparation method in mind. Many restaurants and home cooks sear tuna in oil which will add fat and calories to the fish. It is also common to add seasoning mixes that will increase the sodium content of the dish.

Health Benefits 

The omega-3 fatty acids found in tuna are known to promote good heart health. These essential fats can help decrease triglycerides in the blood, lower the risk of arrhythmia (irregular heartbeats), and slow the buildup of plaque in the arteries. 

Tuna has been found to be high in two types omega-3 fatty acids: 

  • Omega-3 EPA (a fatty acid that inhibits cellular inflammation)
  • Omega-3 DHA (a fatty acid which promotes eye and brain health) 

Different varieties of tuna have been found to contain different amounts of fat. In order from most to least fatty: fresh bluefin canned white albacore tuna, canned light tuna, fresh skipjack tuna, and fresh yellowfin tuna.

 

Common Questions 

Is it healthy to eat a tuna salad? One of the most popular ways to prepare canned tuna is to make a tuna salad. While delicious, the ingredients contained in most recipes undermine many of the nutritional benefits of the fish. To lower the fat content in your tuna salad, either replace the mayonnaise with a reduced-fat mayo or, alternately, mix 30 percent mayonnaise with 70 percent plain yogurt for a fresh, slightly sour taste.

Is it better to eat fresh or canned tuna? The answer depends on your budget and your taste preference. Many healthy eaters prefer the taste of fresh fish. Other smart shoppers appreciate the fact that canned tuna is more economical, easy to store, stays fresh longer, and is easy to pack when you're eating on the go. While most people will assume that fresh tuna is better than canned tuna when it comes to nutrition facts, that is not always the case with such a fatty fish so compare the labels carefully.

Recipes and Preparation Tips

There are countless ways to incorporate tuna into a heart-healthy diet. If you're feeling particularly creative, here are some fun and healthy recipes you can try at home:

You can combine tuna with tomatoes, salad greens, cooked green beans, and boiled sliced potatoes for a classic salad Niçoise. You can stir a can into a pot of corn chowder for a delicious tuna bisque. You can even make a delicious cold pasta salad with tomatoes, celery, canned kidney beans, and black olives. Be mindful of the other ingredients you are using, when considering the nutritional benefits of tuna.

 

Allergies and Interactions 

Tuna allergies can be fairly common, however some people find that the processing involved in canning tuna lessens the impact of the allergy. Talk to your doctor before experimenting, particularly if your allergies are severe.

Tuna is sometimes found to be contaminated by toxic heavy metals, so be mindful of your source. 

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