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tuna vs salmon

The world of salads is an interesting one with opinions from average Joes, nutritionists, and chefs.

However, two salads continue to compete against each other to win a place in your heart. These would be none other than the salmon salad and tuna salad. Which one do you prefer? Which one is better for your body?

In general, the American Heart Association has stated, it’s best to eat a fish serving at least two times a week. Their findings show fish sources to provide wonderful amounts of omega-3 fats, which are seen in both tuna and salmon.

Of course, this doesn’t mean both options are equals. It’s important to understand the pros and cons of each because the contaminants can ruin the value of a specific type of fish.

Let’s dig deeper and end this battle on which salad is best.

Nutritional Breakdown of Salmon & Tuna

sockeye salmon

Starting with a traditional serving of skipjack tuna (3 oz.), it provides 24 grams of protein, minimal fat, 278 milligrams of omega-3 fats, and 110 calories.

In comparison, a serving of wild Atlantic salmon provides 22 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat (2 grams of saturated fat), 1,564 mg of omega-3 fats, and 160 calories.

With this in mind, it’s easier to note how tuna is a leaner fish with minimal saturated fats. However, tuna also doesn’t have the same amount of healthy omega-3 fats compared to salmon.

This should set the stage for the research that’s been done into each type of fish.

It’s important to recognize this nutritional breakdown because it highlights what makes each source a unique option for your salad.

Since the goal is to find the better option, here’s more on what differentiates these two from each other.

Vitamins

a pile of tuna

Beginning with the vitamins, a serving of wild Atlantic salmon is going to offer a greater amount of vitamin B-12 (45% of the recommended value) compared to skipjack tuna (30% of the recommended value).

Along with vitamin B-12, wild Atlantic salmon also provides a greater amount of riboflavin (25% of the recommended value) compared to skipjack tuna (6% of the recommended value).

In addition to these vitamins, wild Atlantic Salmon has a larger amount of thiamine (15 of the recommended value) compared to skipjack tuna (2% of the recommended value).

Continuing with the details, wild Atlantic Salmon is packed with a larger amount of folate (6 % of the recommended value) compared to skipjack tuna (2% of the recommended value). However, skipjack tuna does have more niacin (80% of the recommended value) compared to wild Atlantic salmon (45% of the recommended value).

With vitamin B-6, there’s a tie between the two fishes with both coming in at 40% of the recommended value).

Please note, all recommended values are based on an average adult’s daily dietary intake. This information is important in determining which option is best for you.

Remember, the right fish source can also vary depending on other meals being consumed at the same time or throughout the day.

You want to get the right amount of each vitamin, which will depend on what’s consumed in other meals.

Minerals

sushi made from salmon and tuna

What is another important factor when it comes to comparing these fish sources?

The mineral breakdown is just as essential as the nutrients or vitamins found in both tuna and salmon. Therefore, it’s time to take a look at these minerals to see how each fish source holds up when compared to each other.

With a serving of wild Atlantic salmon, you are going to get a greater amount of phosphorus (20% of the recommended value) compared to skipjack tuna (8% of the recommended value).

With zinc, you are going to see it in a larger amount with wild Atlantic salmon (8% of the recommended value) compared to skipjack tuna (6% of the recommended value).

The same numbers apply to the amount of iron found in both fish sources.

However, skipjack tuna does provide more magnesium per service with (25% of the recommended value) in comparison to the wild Atlantic salmon (10% of the recommended value).

It also has a greater amount of calcium per serving (8% of the recommended value) compared to wild Atlantic salmon (4% of the recommended value).

With all of these details in mind, it’s clear there’s a better collection of minerals in one serving of skipjack tuna compared to wild Atlantic salmon.

Potential Contaminants

A salmon steak sitting on the table

This is where things start to become clearer in terms of which salad is best for your needs.

Contaminants are a real worry when it comes to certain types of fish (see our list of the worst offenders here). Tuna has been noted for being one of the more common sources of mercury among fish options.

While wild Atlantic salmon is on the opposite end of the spectrum and is noted for not being as contaminated.

This is essential for those eating tuna/salmon on a regular basis.

While mercury isn’t going to be an issue for those eating tuna here and there, it can start to add up if you buy from the wrong supplier. Keep this in mind while making your salad!

Final Thoughts

a tuna fish sitting on the dock after being caught

With all of these details in mind, it’s time to take a look at which direction is best for your needs.

In general, you should look to use salmon as it is the higher quality fish with more vitamins, a better nutritional profile, and fewer contaminants.

However, if you prefer the taste of tuna (which is common), you are more than welcome to go with the right type of tuna, which would have to be skipjack. Do not eat bigeye tuna as that is noted for having higher amounts of mercury per serving.

Anyone that is looking to steer clear of these contaminants is recommended to focus on using salmon and eating salmon salads.

However, just like tuna, you want to make sure natural sources are located because farmed tuna can have toxins such as PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls.

This type of contamination is bad for the body. Therefore, wild salmon has to be your go-to option for salads!

Sources:

  1. https://www.seafoodhealthfacts.org/seafood-choices/description-top-commercial-seafood-items/salmon
  2. https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/finfish-and-shellfish-products/4146/2
  3. https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/tuna-salmon-healthier-2882.html

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