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Is Canned Salmon Healthy?

Canned salmon is every bit as nutritious as fresh salmon. Canned salmon contains a variety of key nutrients, including protein, calcium, vitamins B & D, and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fats promote healthy brain development in babies and may lower your risk of heart disease.

By now, the health benefits of salmon are well-known. It’s high in protein, vitamins, and healthy fats, and its rich flavor makes it a reliable favorite—even for people who don’t usually like fish. But, you may wonder, what about canned salmon? Is it as healthy as fresh? 

The answer is yes. Canned salmon and fresh salmon may not taste exactly the same, but they’re almost identical from a nutritional standpoint. In fact, canned salmon is actually more nutritious than fresh because it’s higher in calcium. That means you don’t have to pay a premium price to get all these great health benefits.

Health benefits of canned salmon

As we all know, fresh salmon offers a wide range of nutritional benefits. Canned salmon does, too. Just like fresh salmon, it’s a fantastic source of multiple essential nutrients, making it an excellent (and budget-friendly!) addition to any diet. Here are the key benefits:

Build your muscles, skin, and bones with lean protein.

Canned salmon is an excellent source of lean, complete protein. One 85-gram serving of canned salmon contains 20 grams of protein, 2 grams of fat, and 0 grams of saturated fat. Chicken, beef, pork, and other animal proteins typically contain similar levels of protein per serving, but also have more fat—especially saturated fat. 

Lower your risk of heart disease with healthy Omega-3 fats.

Nearly all of the fat in canned salmon is unsaturated, and it contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. The two main types of omega-3s in salmon are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Research has shown that these compounds may lower blood triglycerides and blood pressure, and generally reduce the risk of heart disease. 
Depending on the serving size and the origin of the fish, canned salmon can contain between 1 and 2 grams of DHA and EPA per serving. That’s a lot of omega-3s: According to the National Institutes for Health (NIH), adults should aim for 1-1.6 grams per day. Eating salmon a few times a week is an easy, delicious way to meet that need.

Keep your bones and immune system strong with Vitamin D. 

Canned and fresh salmon both contain high levels of essential vitamins, including B-3 (a.k.a. niacin), B-12, and even Vitamin D. Not many foods are naturally high in Vitamin D—most people get theirs from sun exposure or fortified foods. 

The NIH guidelines for adults recommend about 15 micrograms or 600 International Units (IU) of Vitamin D per day. Single 142-gram salmon pouches contain 110% of the recommended daily amounts of Vitamin D.

Canned salmon has more calcium than fresh

In some ways, canned salmon is actually more nutritious than fresh because it’s higher in calcium. The canning process softens calcium-rich pin bones so thoroughly that you can eat them right along with the meat. 

Some canned salmon is skinless and boneless, so if you’re looking for an extra dose of calcium, be sure to choose a variety that includes some bones. One 85-gram serving of canned red or pink salmon contains around 15% of the daily recommended amount of calcium for adults.

How to cook with canned salmon

Canned salmon isn’t just nutritious—it’s also shelf-stable, affordable, and easy to add to a wide variety of meals. With a wide range of canned salmon recipes, ranging from light salads to indulgent mac and cheese, you’re sure to find something delicious to add to your repertoire.

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