Salmon: Health Benefits and Facts

Salmon

If you’re like most of the population the first thing that probably comes to your mind when you hear about this vibrant-pink fish is Omega-3’s. But how does this “omega-3 fatty acid” buzzword translate to your health and what can do for you?

 

Super Fish

Omega-3 is a type of fatty acids that the human body cannot produce on its own. These fats are essential to the body and therefore must be consumed primarily in the diet. There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids: ALA, EPA and DHA [i]. Dietary EPA and DHA are the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids and can be found in marine sources such as salmon [ii].

Omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon and other marine animals can be help control triglyceride levels and cardiovascular health, maintain healthy eyes and even offer some protective effects against breast cancer [iii]. Although most famously known for its content rich in Omega-3’s, salmon had much more to offer! Salmon provides a fatty-acid rich source of protein, contains a variety of vitamins including phosphorus, selenium, iron and calcium along with great flavor [iv].

 

Salmon and Cancer

The results of a 2014 study conducted by a cardiovascular researcher at Saint Luke’s Mid American Health Institute contradicted many claims going against the benefits of fatty fish consumption. DiNicolantonio found that the consumption of fatty fish in the right amount can help to prevent the development of cancerous tumors called adenocarcinomas that are commonly seen in the colon, prostates and breasts [v]. Although more research needs to be done to pinpoint the most beneficial quantity to consume, the findings highlight just one of the benefits of this fabulous fish!

 

The Perfect Catch

If you’re looking for a fish high in omega-3 fatty acids:

  • Try Wild Salmon: Wild salmon is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and is also free of contaminants that can be found in farmed salmon.

 

If you’re looking for salmon that is high in calcium:

  • Try Canned Salmon: Next time you purchase canned salmon try eating the bones, they’re soft and easy to chew and contain a great source of calcium and vitamin D [iv].

 

If you’re trying to mix it up:

  • Try Cooking Your Salmon In Parchment Paper: Tired of the usual grilled, pan-seared or baked salmon? Baking salmon in parchment paper allows the salmon to be steamed adding moisture and a melt-in-your-mouth texture. You can also add your choice of vegetables to the parchment paper pouch to complete the meal [vi].

 

If you want to treat yourself:

  • Try Chinook (King) Salmon: While it is higher in fat content and price and not the most practical for frequent consumption, king salmon’s luxurious texture and rich flavor is perfect for a special occasion [vii]!
References
[i] “Omega-3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Contribution.” Obesity Prevention Source, Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health, 4 June 2018, www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/fats-and-cholesterol/types-of-fat/omega-3-fats/.
[ii] Indivero, Victoria M. “Nothing Fishy about Health Benefits of Plant-Based Omega-3 Fatty Acid.” Penn State University, 14 Nov. 2014, news.psu.edu/story/335002/2014/11/17/research/nothing-fishy-about-health-benefits-plant-based-omega-3-fatty-acid.
[iii] “Office of Dietary Supplements – Omega-3 Fatty Acids.” NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 8 June 2018, ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-Consumer/.
[iv] Boehlke, Julie. “The Health Benefits of Salmon.” LIVESTRONG.COM, Leaf Group, 3 Oct. 2017, www.livestrong.com/article/117686-health-benefits-salmon/.
[v] . (2017) Food properties and dietary habits in colorectal cancer prevention and developmentInternational Journal of Food Properties 20:10, pages 2323-2343. 
[vi] “Seafood Health Facts: Making Smart Choices.” Seafood Handling and Storage | Seafood Health Facts, Delaware Sea Grant, 2018, www.seafoodhealthfacts.org/seafood-choices/description-top-commercial-seafood-items/salmon.
[vi] Kirkpatrick, Kristin. “Fish Faceoff: Wild Salmon vs. Farmed Salmon.” Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, 11 June 2017, health.clevelandclinic.org/fish-faceoff-wild-salmon-vs-farmed-salmon/.
[vii] “Salmon: What’s in the Can?” @Berkeleywellness, Remedy Health Media, 1 Aug. 2013, www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-eating/nutrition/article/salmon-whats-can.
[viii] Hanson, Carl. “How to Cook Salmon Seven Ways.” Allrecipes, Allrecipes.com, dish.allrecipes.com/how-to-cook-salmon/.
 
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