Do you find it easier and more convenient to buy canned foods, including fish?Â Are you worried that they might not be a as good for you as fresh food?Â Patients sometimes ask me if eating canned fish is just as good as regular fish. They may not be able to spend the money on fresh fish, or they may not get to the grocery store very often. I have good news for you if this is on your mind: canned salmon, tuna, sardines, kippered herring, and other types of fish are pretty much on a par with fresh fish.
They give you as much heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids as fresh fish, and sometimes more. These essential oils help prevent potentially deadly heart rhythms. They also work against inflammation and the formation of blood clots inside arteries. An Italian study published in 2001 found that people who ate fresh or canned fish at least twice a week were 30% less likely to have had heart attacks as those who ate fish less than once a week.
Whenever possible, choose fish packed in water. Since water and oil donâ€™t mix, omega-3 fats remain locked in the fish. When fish is packed in oil, some of the omega-3 fats intermingle with the packing oil and are lost when the oil is drained.
About the only downside of eating canned fish is the extra salt (sodium) it contains. You can get more than 300 milligrams of sodium â€” one-seventh of a healthy daily ration â€” from three ounces of canned salmon or tuna. Rinsing the fish can help a bit.
The bottom line is that itâ€™s healthy to eat canned fish.
Julie K. Silver, M.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School. She is also the Chief Editor of Books for Harvard Health Publications.
Healthy Eating for a Healthy Heart
Research shows that more than 80% of heart disease can be prevented by certain lifestyle choices, including eating a healthy diet. From Harvard Medical School, Healthy Eating for a Healthy Heart lays out practical eating guidelines based on the best science available. This special report will help you understand basics of a healthful (and tasty) diet, and also contains 40 heart-healthy, original recipes to help put you on the road to better eating.