Is canned fish the ideal source of calcium?

sardine_can_icon_by_yamshing-d578pmy[1]In a Nutrition Diva podcast on the best sources of calcium, I wrote:

“Fish such as sardines and canned salmon are great sources of calcium because they contain tiny bones that are so soft you’d never notice them but are rich in calcium. As a bonus, these fish are also among the few natural food sources of vitamin D [which helps your body absorb and use that calcium.]”

A 3 oz can of salmon or sardines can provide up to 25% of your daily calcium requirement and 100% of your vitamin D–not to mention a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids.

But not always.

Not all canned fish is high in calcium

As Allyson recently emailed me, “When I look at the nutrition facts on the pouches of salmon that I buy, it lists 0% for calcium. Do you know why this is the case?”

Canned salmonTraditionally, salmon and sardines are canned bones and all. For the most part, the high heat processing used to sterilize the cans softens the bones to the point that they can easily be chewed. But many processors also offer boneless salmon in cans or pouches–because some consumers prefer it. And once the bones have been removed, the calcium content is reduced to next to nothing.

If you’re interested canned fish as a source of calcium, steer clear of the boneless varieties and check the nutrition facts label for the calcium content before making your selection!

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