Salmon – The Most Amazing Seafood on Earth
Salmon is the common name for several species of ray-finned fish in the family Salmonidae. Other fish in the same family include trout, char, grayling and whitefish. Salmon are native to tributaries of the North Atlantic and Pacific Ocean.
Salmon contains a specific type of unsaturated fat called omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids lower your risk of dying from heart disease, according to Mayo Clinic. The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon help keep your heart healthy by protecting the health of your blood vessels.
The largest (and often most expensive), the king or chinook, is prized for its high fat content and buttery texture and is rich in omega-3s. Sockeye, an oilier fish with deep red flesh, is also high in heart-healthy omega-3s but has a stronger flavor and stands up well to grilling.
Salmon Nutrition Facts
- Vitamin B12 (236% daily recommended value)
- Vitamin D (127%)
- Selenium (78.3%)
- Vitamin B3 (56.3%)
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids (55%)
- Protein (53.1%)
- Phosphorus (52.1%)
- Vitamin B6 (37.6%)
- Iodine (21.3%
- Choline (19.2%)
- Vitamin B5 (18.4%)
- Biotin (15.1%)
- Potassium (14%)
1. Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Salmon is one of the best sources of the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.
A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) portion of farmed salmon has 2.3 grams of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, while the same portion of wild salmon contains 2.6 grams.
Unlike most other fats, omega-3 fats are considered “essential,” meaning you must get them from your diet since your body can’t create them.
Although there is no recommended daily intake (RDI) of omega-3 fatty acids, many health organizations recommend that healthy adults get a minimum of 250–500 mg of combined EPA and DHA per day.
EPA and DHA have been credited with several health benefits, such as decreasing inflammation, lowering blood pressure, reducing the risk of cancer and improving the function of the cells that line your arteries.
A 2012 analysis of 16 controlled studies found that taking 0.45–4.5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids per day led to significant improvements in arterial function.
What’s more, studies have shown that getting these omega-3 fats from fish increases levels in your body just as effectively as supplementing with fish oil capsules.
As for how much fish to eat, consuming at least two servings of salmon per week can help meet your omega-3 fatty acid needs.
2. Whole Body Wellness
Containing more than a day’s worth of vitamin D in just one serving, eating wild-caught salmon helps maintain optimal health in a variety of ways. This is important, as vitamin D deficiency is been linked to everything from cancer to multiple sclerosis to rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease. D. Alexander Parker, PhD, associate professor of epidemiology and urology at Mayo Clinic in Florida, suggests that one-quarter of Americans suffer from low levels of vitamin D. This stresses the need for all of us to supplement or eat vitamin D-rich salmon on a regular basis. Another study by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that 7.6 million children across the U.S. were vitamin D deficient. This is defined as less than 15 ng/ml of blood.
3. Bones & Joints
Researchers recently found that regular omega-3 consumption can help keep osteoporosis at bay. In fact, using records spanning 15 years from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), Ohio State University researchers observed that women with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood experienced fewer hip fractures. Inflammation contributes to bone resorption, a process in which bone tissue is broken down. Since omega-3-rich salmon is a natural anti-inflammatory food, eating this delicious fish on a regular basis is a great way to keep your bones strong.
4. Brain and Neurological Repair
Omega-3 rich foods are shown to increase the efficiency of various brain functions, including improved memory. Additionally, the vitamin A, vitamin D and selenium in salmon protect the nervous system from age-related damage and can even act as an antidepressant. Studies suggest that long-term omega-3 supplementation can help prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s symptoms.
5. Heart Health
Being rich in omega-3 fatty acids, regularly eating salmon can help reduce systemic inflammation and the risk of developing atherosclerosis, hypertension and stroke. Regarding dosage, a recent study published by the School of Medicine and Pharmacology (University of Western Australia) reports:
“Health authorities currently recommend an intake of at least two oily fish meals per week for the general population which equates to approximately 500 mg per day of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid [two key omega-3 fatty acids]. In patients with coronary heart disease the guidelines recommend 1 g daily supplements and in hypertriglyceridemic patients up to 4 g per day.”