When it comes to convenient, protein-packed meals, canned tuna is a go-to option. But with so many varieties and brands available, choosing the healthiest canned tuna can be overwhelming. In this guide, we’ll help you navigate the world of canned tuna and discover the healthiest options for you and your family.
The healthiest canned tuna is typically the one that is low in mercury, packed in water, and sustainably sourced. Light tuna, such as skipjack or tongol, generally contains less mercury than albacore or yellowfin. It’s also important to look for brands that use BPA-free cans and have clear policies on sustainable fishing practices.
Here is a helpful table for you to check the healthiest and safest canned tuna:Disclaimer:
|Canned Tuna||Health Level||Mercury Level (ppm)||Sodium Level (mg)||Sustainability|
|Wild Planet Albacore Wild Tuna||High||0.14 (Low)||70 (Low)||High|
|American Tuna||High||0.13 (Low)||75 (Low)||High|
|Safe Catch Elite Pure Wild Tuna||High||0.08 (Very low)||80 (Low)||High|
|Ocean Naturals Skipjack Chunk Light Tuna||High||0.15 (Low)||140 (Low)||High|
|365 Everyday Value Albacore Wild Tuna||High||0.14 (Low)||90 (Low)||High|
|Tonnino Tuna Fillets in Spring Water||High||0.12 (Low)||65 (Low)||High|
|Pole & Line Albacore Tuna in Water||High||0.14 (Low)||80 (Low)||High|
|Raincoast Trading Solid White Albacore||High||0.14 (Low)||100 (Low)||High|
|Sea Fare Pacific Albacore Tuna||High||0.14 (Low)||95 (Low)||High|
|Patagonia Provisions Ventresca Tuna||High||0.13 (Low)||85 (Low)||High|
|Bumble Bee Solid White Albacore in Oil||Low||0.32 (Moderate)||220 (Moderate)||Low|
|Market Pantry Chunk Light Tuna in Water||Moderate||0.25 (Moderate)||180 (Low)||Low|
|Kirkland Albacore Solid White Tuna in Water||Moderate||0.28 (Moderate)||200 (Low)||Low|
|Chicken of the Sea Chunk Light Tuna in Water||Moderate||0.25 (Moderate)||190 (Low)||Low|
|Great Value Chunk Light Tuna in Water||Moderate||0.25 (Moderate)||180 (Low)||Low|
The levels in the Mercury and Sodium columns represent approximate values and are intended for general reference purposes only. The levels are categorized as Very Low, Low, Moderate, and High, with corresponding numeric values in milligrams (mg) for better understanding. This table should not be considered a definitive source for health and dietary guidance, and it is always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice.
Understanding Different Types of Canned Tuna
Before diving into the healthiest canned tuna options, it’s essential to understand the differences between various types of tuna and their potential health impacts to know the healthiest tuna type.
Light Tuna: Lower Mercury Levels
Light tuna, which includes species like skipjack, tongol, and some smaller yellowfin, is generally lower in mercury than albacore or larger yellowfin. Mercury is a heavy metal that can accumulate in fish, and high exposure can be harmful to humans, especially pregnant women and young children. Choosing light tuna can help you minimize your mercury intake.
Skipjack is one of the most common types of light tuna found in canned products. It has a mild flavor, is relatively low in mercury, and is often more affordable than other varieties.
Tongol is another light tuna option with low mercury levels. It has a slightly stronger flavor than skipjack but still makes for a tasty and healthy canned tuna choice.
Albacore Tuna: Higher Mercury Levels
Albacore tuna, also known as white tuna, is a popular choice due to its firm texture and mild flavor. However, it contains higher levels of mercury compared to light tuna. While it’s still safe to eat in moderation, you may want to opt for light tuna if you’re concerned about mercury exposure.
Healthiest Canned Tuna Packaging
The way tuna is packaged can also play a role in determining the healthiest option. Here are some factors to consider when choosing canned tuna.
Packed in Water vs. Oil
Tuna packed in water is generally healthier than tuna packed in oil. Water-packed tuna contains fewer calories and less fat, making it a better choice for those watching their weight or fat intake. Oil-packed tuna can still be a healthy option, but be mindful of the added calories and fat.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical found in some food packaging materials, including certain cans. There’s evidence that BPA can leach into food and may be linked to health issues. Opting for brands that use BPA-free cans can help minimize your exposure to this chemical.
Sustainable Fishing Practices
Choosing canned tuna that is sustainably sourced is not only better for the environment, but it may also be healthier for you. Overfishing can lead to the depletion of fish populations and disrupt marine ecosystems, potentially affecting the quality of the seafood we eat.
Look for Certifications
Recommended Healthiest Canned Tuna
The two healthiest canned tunas are Safe Catch Elite Pure Wild Tuna and Tonnino Tuna Fillets in Spring Water. Both of these options have low mercury levels and low sodium levels. In addition, they are both sustainable choices.
On the other hand, the worst canned tuna in terms of health is Bumble Bee Solid White Albacore in Oil. This option has a moderate level of mercury and sodium, and it is not considered sustainable. If you’re looking for a healthier option, it’s best to avoid this choice and go for one of the high-health level options with low mercury and sodium levels.
Now that you know what to look for in the healthiest canned tuna, here are some brands that meet the criteria:
Wild Planet Albacore Wild Tuna Wild Planet Albacore Wild Tuna is a sustainably-caught tuna that has lower mercury levels and higher omega-3 content compared to other brands. This tuna is not only good for your health but also for the environment.
BASIC NUTRITION FACTS (per serving): 120 CALORIES, 26g PROTEIN, 0g CARBS, 1g FAT, 420mg OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
American Tuna American Tuna is another sustainably-caught option with low mercury levels. The company uses a pole-and-line fishing method, ensuring the least amount of bycatch. This tuna is also high in omega-3 fatty acids, making it an excellent choice for heart health.
BASIC NUTRITION FACTS (per serving): 110 CALORIES, 25g PROTEIN, 0g CARBS, 1g FAT, 380mg OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
Safe Catch Elite Pure Wild Tuna Safe Catch Elite Pure Wild Tuna is one of the lowest mercury tuna brands on the market. They test every single fish for mercury levels, ensuring that their product is consistently safe for consumption. The high omega-3 content also contributes to overall heart health.
BASIC NUTRITION FACTS (per serving): 130 CALORIES, 29g PROTEIN, 0g CARBS, 1g FAT, 450mg OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
Ocean Naturals Skipjack Chunk Light Tuna in Water Ocean Naturals offers a sustainable, pole-and-line caught skipjack tuna. This option is not only healthier for the planet but also for the consumer, as it is lower in mercury compared to other types of tuna. The light tuna is packed in water, reducing unnecessary calories and fat.
BASIC NUTRITION FACTS (per serving): 60 CALORIES, 13g PROTEIN, 0g CARBS, 0.5g FAT, 250mg OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
365 Everyday Value Albacore Wild Tuna In Water This Whole Foods brand offers a sustainably-caught albacore tuna packed in water. This product is low in mercury and contains a good amount of omega-3 fatty acids, supporting heart health.
BASIC NUTRITION FACTS (per serving): 110 CALORIES, 24g PROTEIN, 0g CARBS, 1g FAT, 400mg OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
Tonnino Tuna Fillets in Spring Water Tonnino Tuna Fillets are sourced from sustainably-caught yellowfin tuna. Packed in spring water, these fillets are low in calories and fat while still providing a good amount of protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
BASIC NUTRITION FACTS (per serving): 80 CALORIES, 17g PROTEIN, 0g CARBS, 1g FAT, 350mg OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
Pole & Line Albacore Tuna in Water Pole & Line offers albacore tuna that is sustainably caught using the pole-and-line fishing method. This product is packed in water, providing a lower calorie and fat option without sacrificing protein and omega-3 content.
BASIC NUTRITION FACTS (per serving): 90 CALORIES, 19g PROTEIN, 0g CARBS, 1g FAT, 400mg OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
Raincoast Trading Solid White Albacore Tuna Raincoast Trading is committed to sustainable fishing practices, and their Solid White Albacore Tuna is no exception. This tuna is Ocean Wise recommended, meaning it’s a responsible seafood choice. High in omega-3 fatty acids and low in mercury, this tuna is a healthy option for consumers.
BASIC NUTRITION FACTS (per serving): 110 CALORIES, 24g PROTEIN, 0g CARBS, 1g FAT, 400mg OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
Sea Fare Pacific Albacore Tuna Sea Fare Pacific’s Albacore Tuna is sustainably caught and hand-packed to ensure the highest quality. This tuna is low in mercury and high in omega-3 fatty acids, providing consumers with a healthy and environmentally friendly option.
BASIC NUTRITION FACTS (per serving): 120 CALORIES, 25g PROTEIN, 0g CARBS, 1g FAT, 420mg OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
Patagonia Provisions Ventresca Tuna Patagonia Provisions offers a sustainably-caught Ventresca Tuna that is hand-cut and packed. This tuna is not only low in mercury but also high in omega-3 fatty acids, making it a heart-healthy choice for consumers.
BASIC NUTRITION FACTS (per serving): 130 CALORIES, 27g PROTEIN, 0g CARBS, 1g FAT, 450mg OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
Not So Good Canned Tuna Brands
Bumble Bee Solid White Albacore in Vegetable Oil Bumble Bee’s Solid White Albacore Tuna is packed in vegetable oil, which adds unnecessary calories and fat to the product. Additionally, the company has faced sustainability concerns in the past.
BASIC NUTRITION FACTS (per serving): 190 CALORIES, 24g PROTEIN, 0g CARBS, 11g FAT, 250mg OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
Market Pantry Chunk Light Tuna in Water Market Pantry’s Chunk Light Tuna in Water may seem like a healthy option at first glance, but the brand has been criticized for lacking transparency regarding their fishing practices. This raises concerns about sustainability and potential bycatch issues.
BASIC NUTRITION FACTS (per serving): 90 CALORIES, 20g PROTEIN, 0g CARBS, 1g FAT, 200mg OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
Kirkland Albacore Solid White Tuna in Water While Kirkland’s Albacore Tuna is packed in water, the brand has faced criticism over their lack of transparency in terms of sustainability and fishing practices. This makes it difficult to assess the potential environmental impact of this product.
BASIC NUTRITION FACTS (per serving): 110 CALORIES, 24g PROTEIN, 0g CARBS, 1g FAT, 360mg OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
Chicken of the Sea Chunk Light Tuna in Water Chicken of the Sea’s Chunk Light Tuna in Water may have a low calorie and fat content, but the brand has faced scrutiny over its fishing practices and commitment to sustainability. This raises concerns about the environmental impact of their tuna products.
BASIC NUTRITION FACTS (per serving): 90 CALORIES, 19g PROTEIN, 0g CARBS, 1g FAT, 240mg OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
Great Value Chunk Light Tuna in Water Great Value’s Chunk Light Tuna in Water may be an affordable option, but there are concerns about the brand’s transparency regarding their fishing practices and sustainability commitments. This makes it difficult to assess the potential environmental impact of this product.
BASIC NUTRITION FACTS (per serving): 80 CALORIES, 18g PROTEIN, 0g CARBS, 0.5g FAT, 210mg OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
In conclusion, when choosing canned tuna, it’s essential to consider both the nutritional content and the environmental impact. The healthiest canned tuna options are those that are sustainably caught, low in mercury, and high in omega-3 fatty acids. On the other hand, the worst canned tuna options are those that lack transparency in their fishing practices, raising concerns about their commitment to sustainability.