The Ultimate Tuna vs Salmon Showdown: Which is Better for You?

Asian people eating sashimi set in Asian restaurant. Hirame sashimi,salmon sashimi and tuna sashimi dish. Japanese food concept _ Salmon vs Tuna | featured-ss

Salmon and tuna are two of the most popular types of fish that people eat. They are both high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, but which one is better for you? This article will compare Tuna vs. Salmon and help you decide which one is the best choice for your diet.

Related: Which Essential Fatty Acid Is Responsible for Lowering the Risk of Coronary Heart Disease?

The Ultimate Tuna vs Salmon Showdown


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Tuna Vs Salmon | fresh raw salmon and tuna fish pieces on wooden plate




Salmon is a type of fish high in protein and omega fatty acids. It is also a good source of vitamin D, B vitamins, selenium, and potassium. You can eat salmon grilled, baked, or smoked.

  • Form and build: Long and slender, sharp-angled head, little to no spots
  • Size: Ranges from 2 ft 6 in (Pink salmon) to 4 ft 11 in (Atlantic and Chinook salmon)
  • Taxonomy: Belongs to the family Salmonidae
  • Natural Home: Salmon is “anadromous.” It lives in both fresh and saltwater


Tuna is another type of fish high in protein and omega fatty acids. Tuna is usually eaten raw or canned in oil.

Tuna comes from fish like mackerel, swordfish, and bluefin tuna. But, most people eat canned tuna, processed into small pieces for convenience.

Unfortunately, tuna also contains high concentrations of mercury that can be harmful to your health if consumed regularly over time.

  • Form and build: Round body, robust, elongated, two dorsal fins, crescent or fork-shaped tail, marked with spots
  • Size: Ranges from 1.6 ft (Bullet tuna) to 15 ft (Atlantic bluefin tuna)
  • Taxonomy: Belongs to the Thunnini tribe of the Mackerel or Scombridae family
  • Natural Home: Saltwater

Tuna vs Salmon

  • Tuna contains high levels of mercury that can be harmful to your health over time.
  • Salmon is a good source of vitamin D, B vitamins, selenium, and potassium.
  • Tuna is usually eaten raw or canned in oil. You can eat salmon grilled, baked, or smoked.

Tuna vs Salmon Culinary Differences

Person Slicing Meat on White Chopping Board | Tuna vs Salmon

Tuna and salmon both have a dark color and solid texture. They're unlike lean white fishes, flaky-textured, and mild taste.

They make for great protein substitutes for poultry and meat. You may add them to tacos, sandwiches, burgers, pasta, and salads.


They may be served raw, grilled, poached, roasted, pickled, skewered, seared, smoked, or canned. However, tuna and salmon may have different flavors based on cooking.

Tuna tends to be flakier and milder than salmon, and salmon tends to be oilier and richer than tuna.


Due to myoglobin's protein, tuna's color ranges from pink to dark red. But when cooking tuna, this protein breaks down, making the fish look grayer.

Here are some of its varieties:

  • Longfin tuna or albacore: Also known as “white tuna,” this type is usually in pouches or cans.
  • Bigeye: Also called “ahi,” is known mainly as a sashimi fish.
  • Bluefin is the fattiest and darkest among tuna varieties and is used mainly for sushi dishes.

Tuna is generally cooked to medium-rare to keep its moisture. However, overcooking it can make it too dry.


On the other hand, salmon's color varies from pink to reddish-orange due to its crustaceans diet. In addition, this type of fish is rich in a red pigment called astaxanthin. Heat cannot quickly destroy astaxanthin, helping salmon maintain its reddish color, unlike tuna when heated.

Here are some varieties of salmon:

  • Sockeye: Probably the most flavorful salmon, this type has fatty dark meat and is a favorite in restaurants.
  • Chinook: the “King Salmon” since it's the heaviest and most prominent family member.
  • Pink: If we have the most significant salmon, we also have the smallest one. It's one of the tastiest too, next to Sockeye.
  • Coho: This is known as the “Silver Salmon.” It has a reputation for being the most potent and most hard-headed variety of salmon.
  • Chum: This is perhaps the underdog among salmon species due to its not-so-good taste.

Note: Canned tuna or salmon may not be as nutritious as fresh ones since they undergo processing before canning. Canned tunas might have already lost some of their vitamins and minerals with the processing.

Which Is Healthier?


Both fishes are rich in nutritional value. But let's check the facts and see how they perform in a tuna versus salmon face-off.

Below is the nutritional breakdown of both fishes weighing 4 ounces:


  • Tuna: 0.5 g
  • Salmon: 8.4 g

Winner: Tuna

Vitamin B-12

  • Tuna: 2.4 mcg
  • Salmon: 4.2 mcg

Winner: Salmon


  • Tuna: 124
  • Salmon: 174

Winner: Tuna


  • Tuna: 44 mg
  • Salmon: 51.6 mg

Winner: Tuna

Omega-3 fats

  • Tuna: 121 mg
  • Salmon: 1,493-2,840 mg

Winner: Salmon


  • Tuna: 0 g
  • Salmon: 0 g

Winner: It's a tie!

Vitamin D

  • Tuna: 1.9 mcg
  • Salmon: 12.24 mcg

Winner: Salmon


  • Tuna: 28 g
  • Salmon: 23 g

Winner: Tuna

As you may notice, tuna and salmon still differ in many ways. Salmon has more calories and cholesterol than tuna, primarily due to its fat content. However, worry not, as these are still healthy fats from omega-3s. Additionally, salmon is richer in vitamins, particularly vitamins D and B12, than tuna.

On the other hand, tuna is a better option if you're looking for lower fat and higher protein content.

Tuna Vs Salmon Benefits


Tuna Benefits

Eating more tuna can provide a wide range of health benefits, including:

However, it's important to note that tuna has more mercury content than salmon.

Mercury is an element that may have dangerous effects on your health. Therefore, the food and Drug Administration or FDA recommends pregnant, breastfeeding women and children to limit their consumption of Albacore tuna to one serving weekly and canned light tuna up to three servings per week.

Salmon Benefits

Salmon is with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins, which can help you achieve:

Tuna Vs Salmon: Which One to Choose?


There's no doubt that tuna and salmon are both healthy food choices.

Choosing between tuna versus salmon boils down to your health goals, specific nutritional needs, and taste preference.

For instance, if you want to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, the omega-3 fatty acids from salmon can boost your heart health. Meanwhile, if you're losing weight, the lean protein and low fat from tuna can help you shed pounds.

Here's an infographic guide that you can use. Feel free to download, save and share it with your loved ones:
Tuna vs Salmon

What's essential is you meet the recommendation of the American Heart Association, which is two servings of fish per week.

Check out this video by The Cooking Foodie to learn how to make a salmon dish with lemon butter sauce:

Fish is an essential part of a balanced diet, as it provides significant health benefits.

Tuna and salmon are two excellent options to add to your meals. Both tuna and salmon are full of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Additionally, they're flavorful and easy to prepare.

If you can't decide between the two, you may want to consume them alternately. With this, you can get the best of both worlds!

Which of these cooking methods do you prefer for your tuna and salmon meals?

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How about you? Which do you prefer–tuna or salmon? Please share your thoughts with us in the comment section below!

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