Many people enjoy a can of tuna as a high-protein lunch or snack option. It’s easy to prepare, since you just open the can and toss the fish between a couple slices of bread for a tasty sandwich or on top of a bed of lettuce for a salad.
However, is canned tuna safe for your renal diet? Can you continue to enjoy the convenience seafood once you’ve been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease?
Nutritional Benefits of Canned Tuna
Tuna is a quality protein for anyone to consume. Depending on your stage of CKD, you may be limited in the amount of protein you can consume on a daily basis. For dialysis patients, tuna is a great choice for the protein they need since some is lost during the dialysis process.
For those at a lesser CKD stage, you will most likely still benefit from consuming tuna as your source of protein…you will just want to make sure you don’t exceed your dietary restrictions when enjoying the fish.
Tuna is also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been found to help decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke. Studies have also shown that omega-3’s can help reduce oxidative stress and improve cholesterol levels in patients with CKD.
A note-worthy study on the benefits of tuna for CKD patients with diabetes was discussed by WebMD in 2008. The study found that consuming at least two servings of fish per week helps to “decrease protein in the urine, increase glucose tolerance, decrease fats in the blood, and lower blood pressure.” All of these benefits are great for people dealing with both medical conditions.
Potential Dangers of Canned Tuna on your Renal Diet
Sodium is a common concern for those wishing to consume canned tuna when on a renal diet. Manufacturers often add salt to improve the fish’s flavor. Since sodium helps to retain fluid and make it harder on your kidneys, you must limit your intake and stay within renal diet guidelines.
To combat this, many brands offer a “low-sodium” or “no salt added” variety of their canned tuna products. Starkist, for example, has a low-sodium option that has only 120 mg of sodium per serving.
As mentioned earlier, protein intake is another concern for those consuming canned tuna. Make sure you don’t go over the limits for protein within your renal diet when enjoying tuna for lunch or a snack.
Nutritional Facts of Canned Tuna
Canned tuna nutrition facts may vary depending on the canning method and brand name. On average, a 3 oz. can of tuna contains the following:
- 70 calories
- 5 g. fat
- 320 mg. sodium
- 16 g. protein
- 190 mg. potassium
Fish is a great protein option for those following a renal diet. There are some things you should be aware of when consuming canned tuna, but for most CKD patients, it’s safe to have in moderation!