Choosing Best Canned Fish and Seafood Types and Brands for Good Health
Health Authorities in most countries have urged everyone to eat more seafood, especially the oily species such as Mackerel and Salmon. Fish is a prominent component in the famous Mediterranean diet.
Fresh fish may not always be available locally and it can be very expensive. Fresh fish is nice, but it requires careful preparation, cleaning, de-boning and a lot of effort to cook it properly. A lot of so-called 'fresh fish', may be of doubtful origin and may the thawed imported fish from countries which don't have tight restrictions on the use of antibiotics and may be tainted by local pollution.
Virtually all fresh fish you buy has been frozen and thawed, which means it hard to buy when its cheap and store frozen for later use. Most health authorities suggest that meat and fish that has been frozen and thawed should not be frozen again.
For cost, reliable place of origin, and for convenience and minimum preparation, canned seafood can be a good choice, especially if good local fresh seafood is unavailable or is too expensive.
Tips for Choosing the Best Canned Fish and Seafood Options for Health Purposes
There are a huge wide variety of canned seafood packaging types available. Fish or seafood can be packed with water, oil, tomato sauce or various other added ingredients such as vegetables and tomatoes.
The following tips provide sensible advice:
Read the label very carefully to determine county of origin and where the fish was canned. Where the fish was caught is very important. Many countries have pollution issues, widespread chemical and antibiotic use in seafood farms and doubtful handling procedures
Only choose products from reliable companies likely to have good quality control and healthy produce. the major companies depend on maintaining their reputation and standards to sustain the value of their brands. Smaller and less well known companies may not care about their reputation.
Be very careful with 'home-brand' fish and seafood which may have doubtful origins and hygiene standards. There may be bad reasons why its cheap.
Look carefully to see how the fish is packed, especially the liquid in which it is canned. Avoid products with seafood and fish packed in oil. Seafood packed in plain water is much healthier and won't be crammed full of oil and fat.
Consider washing or rinsing fish to remove the sauce or liquid in which the fish or seafood is canned. This liquid may contain a huge proportion of fat and salt in the package. Most fish have low to moderate levels of fat, and the type of fat is healthier than the oil added to the can.
Look carefully at the ingredients list for salt, sugar, carbohydrates, flavors enhances, colors preservatives and other ingredients you may be concerned about. Make sure it contains what it should. A lot of crab meat is actually fish colored and flavored to resemble crab. Many of the so-called 'crab sticks' you buy in fish shops are actually derived from a deep sea fish too ugly to sell as whole fish.
Choose can sizes that match what you need for the meal you are preparing. Large cans may be cheaper, but once opened the fish and seafood does not keep well. It is better to buy several medium size cans and used 2 or 3 of them rather then buying one huge can and only eating half of it. Canned fish does not store well once it is opened and deteriorates quickly
Seafood in tomato sauce and with various vegetables can only be used for fishes that call or these products. It is better to buy plain fish and add the spices, herbs and vegetables that suit your taste.
Comparison of Calories and Nutrients in Fish Canned in Water, Oil and Tomato Sauce
The table below provides a comparison of how the medium in which the fish is canned affects the nutrients. The main points are:
canning in oil doubles the calories, with ten times the calories from fat
canning in oil increases the sodium, as fish canned in spring water has no added salt
canning in tomato sauce increases the calories and adds carbohydrate and sugars which are absent from the fish canned in spring water and oil