Salmon fish is a popular food choice among health enthusiasts. It is prized for its rich omega-3 fatty acid content that is essential for heart health.
But not only is it regarded for its omega-3 abundance but also for its rich nutritional value. Aside from these healthy fats, salmon is also packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and protein.
Studies have been conducted over the years to look into salmon’s health perks. And these studies showed that salmon can indeed benefit you in more ways than one.
From improving cognitive function to protecting your heart and optimizing your bone and skin health, salmon proves to be a healthy food choice!
Let us take a closer look into these amazing salmon health benefits, and dig the tasty ways you can add it to your nutritious diet!
What is Salmon?
Salmon refers to any fish that belongs to the Salmonidae family. These fish are native to the Pacific Ocean and the North Atlantic. Most of these species are anadromous.
Salmon is classified into two different categories: Pacific salmon and Atlantic salmon, which are further broken down into six main species namely:
Atlantic Salmon – The Atlantic salmon, otherwise known as black salmon, can be found near the northern Atlantic Ocean. It is considered an endangered species, though, as it has long been targeted for commercial and recreational fishing.
Chinook Salmon – The Chinook salmon is the largest species among the Pacific salmon variants, bagging the name “King Salmon”. Its size ranges between 10 and 15 pounds and has a lifespan of up to 7 years.
Chum Salmon – The Chum salmon is another Pacific salmon that is otherwise called as dog salmon or Keta salmon. Its mild flavor and flaky texture are its selling points as an eating fish.
Coho Salmon – The Coho salmon, also called silvers, is considered one of the best-tasting fish. This species can be spotted in Alaska as well as down the West coast.
Pink Salmon – The Pink salmon or the humpback salmon is the most abundant among the six species. But they are also the smallest in size, averaging between three and five pounds.
Sockeye Salmon – The Sockeye salmon also called the red salmon is the most colorful of the species. This Pacific salmon can survive both in lakes and other freshwaters. Its size ranges between five and eight pounds.
Salmon: Interesting Facts
Salmons die soon after spawning.
Salmon is considered a health food due to its extensive health benefits and key nutrients.
Grizzly bears and salmons have a predator-prey relationship. The bears catch salmon for food during the fish’ migration back to freshwaters.
Salmon doesn’t only provide food for grizzly bears. The uneaten salmon parts serve as food for other animals, birds, and scavenger species as well.
What are the Health Benefits of Salmon?
This widely known fatty fish contains important nutrients and is thought to prevent the risk of various diseases. Let’s dig deeper into these salmon benefits and learn how it can boost our overall health:
Salmon keeps your heart healthy
Probably the most-regarded benefit of salmon to health is its ability to protect your heart.
Since salmon is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, regular consumption has been thought to prevent the risk of inflammation, cardiovascular diseases, and stroke.
Experts suggest taking two oily fish meals per week, approximately 500 mg per day.
Salmon is a rich source of vitamin D
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that is needed by the body for optimal health. One research found that wild-caught salmon contains up to 25 percent more of this important vitamin than farmed salmon.
Eating vitamin D-rich foods like wild-caught salmon can prevent autoimmune disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and even cancer.
Salmon promotes bone health
A systematic review of 10 studies suggested that omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish can improve bone health, and minimize the risk of osteoporosis.
Researchers also concluded that fatty acid consumption prevents the risk of fracture among women.
Salmon boosts cognitive function
Among the benefits of consuming omega 3-rich foods is improved cognitive function, including better memory. Omega-3s were also found to alleviate inflammation and guard the nervous system against oxidative damage.
Animal studies also suggested that omega-3 supplementation can reduce the risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
Salmon reduces ADHD symptoms in children
Studies also revealed that salmon has a positive effect on children with ADHD. Salmon consumption was discovered to reduce the symptoms of ADHD in children while improving their academic performance.
Researchers concluded that salmon intake can help improve the memory and focus of children with ADHD.
Salmon combats inflammation
Salmon can also protect your body against the adverse effects of inflammation. Many of the chronic diseases people face today are linked to inflammation, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Several studies provided proof that salmon can minimize inflammation markers in people who are more prone to these and other illnesses.
Salmon improves eye health
Salmon can also be beneficial for your eyes. Fatty acids found in fish were also found effective in reducing the risk and treating dry eyes.
Another study concluded that salmon intake can prevent the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness in the United States.
Salmon promotes healthy skin
If you want to have soft, supple skin, then you have more reasons to savor on salmons! Its rich omega fatty acid content can give you a healthy-looking, glowing skin.
Salmon also contains carotenoid antioxidants that fight free radical damage, which can cause skin aging. It comes as no surprise why many dermatologists around the world suggest eating salmon for healthy skin.
Salmon promotes weight loss
Since salmon also contains protein, it works just as well as the other protein-rich foods in suppressing appetite and keeping you satiated for longer. Eating salmon can also increase your metabolic rate more compared to consuming other foods.
Salmon reduces the risk of cancer
One study found that salmon provides a stronger punch than flaxseeds and other oils when it comes to preventing cancer.
According to the study, marine-based omega-3 fatty acids have cancer-protective properties that help decrease tumor size by 60 to 70 percent and its number by 30 percent.
How Can You Add Salmon to Your Diet?
The nutritional content of foods sometimes depends on the cooking technique. Some methods of cooking can negatively affect the nutritional value of food, reducing the amounts of its key nutrients.
So, we’ve prepared a handy list on how to add salmon to your diet the healthy way:
It only takes between 15 and 20 minutes to serve a tasty baked salmon. Don’t forget to add walnuts and Brussels sprouts to your baked salmon recipe, and pair it with a glass of white wine so you can delight on a sumptuous meal!
Grilling is thought to be one of the healthiest ways to cook salmon because it does away with any extra fat.
Salmon also makes a great match for the grill as its flesh remains firm as it cooks, unlike other fish whose flesh easily falls apart.
To make your grilled salmon healthier, squeeze some lemon on it. The lemon juice gives your fish that extra health perk and zing!
Poached salmon is so easy to prepare! While it’s often served cold, you can also serve it warm with some steamed beans on the side. You can also add asparagus or match it with a potato salad for a yummy, healthy lunch.
You can smoke your salmon on a grill or even indoors. It’s essential to know, though, that while smoking salmon is not unhealthy, it can reduce its omega-3 fatty acids content.
So, it’s best to take caution on smoked salmon recipes. You can place smoked salmon slices on top of whole grain crackers, cream cheese, and capers.
What are the Potential Risks of Consuming Salmon?
While salmons prove to be a nutritious pick for a healthy diet, it is not advisable to take it if you are allergic to fish.
If you notice swelling or experience itching after eating salmon, stop your salmon intake and seek professional advice.
Also, farmed salmon may contain high amounts of toxic compounds that can adversely affect your health. Wild-caught salmons are still the healthiest sources of the species’ key nutrients and omega-3 fatty acids.
Salmon also contains low levels of mercury. So, children, as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women, should consume salmon in moderate amounts to reduce mercury exposure.
To reap its maximum potential, it’s also best to include salmon in a healthy diet and enjoy it with other nutritious foods. Certain cooking approaches such as frying or adding it to sushi can reduce its health properties.
Adding salmon to a well-balanced, nutritious diet can make you enjoy its amazing health benefits.
Experts believe taking at least two servings of this fatty fish every week can make you reap its nutritional perks, and reduce your risk of various diseases.
Salmon, aside from being delicious, is also easy to incorporate into your nutritional plans. So, if you haven’t tried it yet or consumed it very rarely, now’s the time to eat more of this healthy fish!