Salmon is praised for its health benefits, including high omega-3 fatty acids, high-quality protein, and for nutrients like selenium, phosphorous, vitamin D, tryptophan, and the B vitamins. Some people love salmon; some hate it; and some hate it but eat it because they want to enjoy good health. No matter what camp you fall in, you should read this article: because if you don’t eat salmon, you should; and if you do eat salmon, there are a few considerations that might affect what kind of salmon you eat and how much you eat.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Ideally, we should all eat roughly a one-to-one ratio of omega-3 fatty acids to omega-6 fatty acids. However, our modern diets are far, far too high in omega-6 fatty acids. Which means that foods high in omega-3 fatty acids should be held in high regard, health-wise; and there is no better natural source of omega-3 fatty acids than salmon. This fat content is the reason salmon (especially Alaskan salmon) is so good for your cardiovascular system. It decreases lipids, blood vessel inflammation, and blood clotting factors, while increasing artery and vessel relaxation.
Omega-3 fatty acids are also good for your brain. They help boost your memory and may help delay the onset of dementia of the Alzheimer type. They may also be good for your skin, hair, and joints.
Certain conditions may indicate a higher need for omega-3 fatty acids, including fatigue, dry skin, diabetes, difficulty concentrating, depression, and certain heart conditions.
Farmed vs Wild Salmon Nutrition
Let me start off by saying that eating farmed salmon is infinitely better than not eating any salmon. That said, wild salmon is preferable. What are the health benefits of wild salmon? For one thing, wild salmon has a higher omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. Also, farmed salmon is exponentially more contaminated by carcinogenic PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls). This is due to the diet that is fed to farmed salmon (contaminated fishmeal). Farmed salmon are also fattened intentionally and unnaturally.
Many sources recommend eating salmon once a week. Personally (and a little disclaimer here—I’m not a doctor, so talk to your physician before making any changes), I try to eat a pound a week. I know it’s a lot, but I like to eat to live (not live to eat). I eat salmon in a variety of ways, but recently one of my favorite ways to get it has been through smoked salmon. This is not only tasty (the smoke eradicates the fishy taste), but also super convenient. You can eat it right out of the fridge. You could also take salmon fish oil.
How about you? What’s your favorite kind of salmon, and what do you think is the ideal amount to eat?