Fish and shellfish are some of the most nutritionally diverse proteins available, but despite America’s increasingly health-conscious culture, their consumption has plateaued, and in the case of canned fish, declined. Compared to fresh fish, canned seafood is much less expensive, has a shelf life of at least a year, is easy to prepare, and has minimal odor. Unfortunately, the public perception is that canned foods are somehow inferior or nutritionally inadequate, and this notion has stifled its acceptance among consumers.
The fact is that while some canned seafoods are prone to contain higher levels of mercury or sodium than their fresh counterparts, the majority are perfectly safe and incredibly healthy. Based on an analysis by Consumer Reports, canned fish is as rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids as fresh or frozen fish. A U.S. Department of Agriculture study found that the omega-3 fatty acid levels in canned salmon even exceeded the amount found in fresh salmon.
Canned seafood goes way beyond just tuna and salmon, with each different variety providing its own specific flavor, texture, and nutritional benefits. Canning gives customers access to foods that might otherwise be hard to find, such as clams, oysters, and even octopus. By mixing a can of clams into a nutritionally barren pasta dish, or topping a protein-less salad with some flaked salmon, you can greatly enhance your nutritional intake and improve your health.
Here are the 10 healthiest and unhealthiest canned seafoods.