Tuna is one of the best dietary sources for health and wellbeing. But how does canned tuna compare with fresh tuna? Dietitian Lock Poh Leng from Sengkang Community Hospital, under SingHealth Community Hospitals (SCH), answers this and more.
Health benefits of tuna
"Besides being a good source of protein, iodine, selenium, zinc, calcium, vitamins A and B12, tuna is a type of fatty fish which contains Vitamin D and Omega-3 fats (EPA & DHA) that offer many health benefits", shares Dietitian Lock Poh Leng from
Sengkang Community Hospital (SKCH), under
SingHealth Community Hospitals (SCH). SCH is a member of the
1. Essential for a child’s developing brain, nervous system and vision
Omega-3 fats are essential for a child’s developing brain, nervous system and vision. Fatty fish tend to have more Omega-3 fats than do other leaner ocean fish. But no one fatty fish is healthier than others. For e.g., although salmon contains higher Omega-3 fats (2.3-3.6g per 120g) than tuna (0.4g-1g per 120g), the key is to eat a variety of fish as different types of fish offer a different range of nutrients that together contribute to positive health outcomes.
2. Decrease one’s risk of cardiovascular disease
For adults, consuming 240g of seafood each week provides average consumption of 250mg of EPA and DHA daily. This amount has been shown to protect against cardiac deaths and reduced cardiovascular risks.
3. Reduce cognitive decline during old age
A 2018 study in American Journal of Epidemiology found that older adults who ate fish four or more times per week had memory scores equivalent to being 4 years younger compared to older adults who rarely ate fish. Fish with high amounts of omega-3 fats may reduce cognitive decline in the elderly.
How much tuna should you consume?
try to consume two portions of fatty fish a week such as tuna, salmon, sardine, mackerel and tenggiri. The recommended portion size each time based on age and calorie needs are as follows:
2 to 3 years old
4 to 7 years old
8 to 10 years old
11 years old and above
It is not recommended to eat tuna on a daily basis, as eating a variety of foods is important to ensure a wide range of different nutrients for good health.
My Healthy Plate by Singapore Health Promotion Board as a guide for healthful eating by incorporating all the essential food groups i.e. wholegrains, protein & calcium-rich foods, fruits and vegetables in your diet every day.
Difference between fresh tuna and canned tuna
Fresh tuna can last only about a week after leaving the water whereas canned tuna is available all year round. Fresh and canned tuna provide the same good omega-3 fats.
canned tuna can be higher in sodium, fat and calories if it is packed in brine or oil. So be sure to choose canned tuna in water to minimise the sodium and fat content.
What to look out for when buying canned tuna
Look for tuna flakes or tuna chunks in water with a natural source of Omega-3 and with no preservatives or added MSG. You should check labels for omega-3 fats content or DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) content.
Compare and choose canned tuna with higher omega-3 fats content based on per 100g serving. Omega-3 fats such as DHA and EPA from oily fish are essential fats that are required in the human diet as our body can’t produce them internally and hence must be obtained from food such as fatty fish such as tuna, salmon, mackerel, sardines and tenggiri.
Nutritional analysis of tuna
Nutrient composition for tuna based on 120g portion.
Tuna and apple sandwich recipe
Try our tasty and easy-to-prepare sandwich!
Ingredients (for 2 servings)
150g Tuna flakes in water, well-drained
2 teaspoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
100g julienned carrot
¼ teaspoon of salt
50g (1 small) chopped red onion
A pinch of pepper
150g (1 medium) chopped green apple
4 crisp lettuce leaves
2 teaspoons of Canola Oil
4 slices of whole-wheat or whole-meal breads
1. Heat the pan to medium low heat.
2. Use 2 teaspoons of Canola oil for sautéing. Sautee chopped red onion and julienned carrot.
3. Add in tuna flakes, salt and pepper. Stir the tuna well.
4. Add in chopped green apple last to keep it crunchy. Stir till thoroughly incorporated.
5. Set the tuna mixture aside. Add 2 teaspoons of extra virgin Olive oil to the tuna mixture and stir well, before dishing out to enhance the flavors.
6. Place a lettuce leave on each side of 2 slices of bread. The lettuce will keep the whole-meal bread from becoming soggy. Add the tuna mixture.
7. Cover with the second slice of whole-meal bread and cut in half.
8. Serve immediately.
Check out more tuna recipes:
Nasi Kuning (Yellow Rice) with Tuna Flakes
Tuna and Corn Sandwich
Tuna Salad with Plum Dressing by Pietro Ristorante Italiano
Tuna, Ikura, Broccoli and Quinoa Bowl
Plus, other articles on food tips:
Health Benefits of Sardines
Health Benefits of Salmon
Kai-lan: Tasty, Easy, Healthy!
Health Benefits of Spinach
How Healthy is Coconut?
How Healthy is Mango?
Tea, Is It Healthier Than Coffee?