Salmon is a delicious, versatile fish that is easy to find in most markets. With heart-healthy omega-3s, high-quality protein, and the rich micronutrient content of salmon, it’s worth adding to your meal plan. Consuming more omega-3s has been linked to a reduced risk of several diseases such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and others.
Many people are concerned about mercury and other contaminants in fish. However, salmon is a nutrient-rich fish that can be found with minimal amounts of toxins regardless of whether you choose to buy farm-raised or wild fish.
Salmon nutrition facts
The following nutritional information is provided by the USDA for 3 ounces (85g) of wild, raw Atlantic salmon.
- Calories: 121
- Fat: 5.4g
- Sodium: 37.4mg
- Carbohydrates: 0g
- Fiber: 0g
- Street: 0g
- Protein: 17g
Salmon is naturally free of carbohydrates, including fiber and sugar.
A 3-ounce serving of raw salmon has 5.4 grams of fat. Of these, about 1.5 grams are from beneficial omega-3 fatty acids including EPA and DHA. Less than 1 gram comes from saturated fat.
The fatty acid composition of salmon varies depending on whether it is farm-raised or wild-caught. Farmed salmon is higher in overall fat, including saturated fat. Wild salmon is leaner.
There are 17 grams of protein in a 3-ounce raw, wild-caught salmon fillet. Because farm-raised salmon has more fat, it contains slightly less protein by weight. Regardless, salmon is an excellent source of high-quality complete protein that provides all the essential amino acids our bodies need.
Vitamins and minerals
Salmon provides vitamin A and a variety of B vitamins. It is one of the few natural food sources of vitamin D (wild salmon is a particularly good source). Salmon is also rich in several minerals, including magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium. In addition, canned salmon contains a lot of calcium (due to the edible bones).
A 3-ounce serving of salmon provides 121 calories, most of which come from protein. Some calories also come from healthy fats.
Fish has long been considered a health-promoting food. In particular, salmon is very rich in nutrients.
Support cardiovascular health
The American Heart Association recommends eating fish twice a week for heart health. People who eat fish regularly seem to be protected from a range of cardiovascular diseases. Omega-3 fats help prevent blood clots that cause stroke and reduce inflammation, a powerful player in the progression of heart disease. Salmon is also a good source of potassium, which helps lower blood pressure.
Reduce the risk of osteoporosis
Canned wild salmon is an excellent source of both vitamin D and calcium – two essential nutrients for building bones. Although farmed salmon also provides some vitamin D, the amount varies depending on the type of feed used.
Studies predict that increasing vitamin D levels in farm-raised salmon will have a positive effect on human bone health.The high protein content of salmon also contributes to bone health by supporting muscle strength.
Salmon protein is made up of all amino acids, including those that act as precursors to mood-regulating neurotransmitters. Fish consumption is associated with a reduced risk of depression. The omega-3 fats in salmon are also beneficial for the brain and have been suggested in some studies to improve mood.
Promotes a healthy pregnancy
Omega-3s in salmon, specifically DHA, are closely related to fetal brain and nervous system development. Inadequate consumption of omega-3s during pregnancy and lactation has been found to interfere with infant brain development. Salmon is lower in mercury than large fish like tuna or swordfish, making it a good choice for pregnant women to regularly consume in moderation.
May help prevent Alzheimer’s disease
Some studies suggest that omega-3s have the potential to protect against cognitive decline, such as Alzheimer’s disease. While more research is needed to confirm this benefit, it appears that the cumulative effect of overall nutrient intake from whole foods far exceeds that of omega-3 supplements alone.
Wild salmon gets its orange color thanks to the antioxidant astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is a carotenoid with neuroprotective properties that work in conjunction with omega-3s to slow brain aging.
Allergies to fish, including salmon, are potentially life-threatening with anaphylaxis being a common symptom. A fish allergy is different from an allergy to other seafood, like shellfish. It is not uncommon for a fish allergy to appear later than in childhood. If you suspect an allergy to salmon or other finfish, see an allergist for a full evaluation and treatment plan.
There is some controversy about eating wild and farmed salmon. While early studies suggested that farm-raised salmon had higher levels of mercury, recent studies have failed to detect this. In fact, some studies have even suggested that farm-raised salmon is likely to contain less mercury in some locations.
There is some concern among researchers because the consumption of mercury and other pollutants is associated with an increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic disorders, The hit, and cancer in certain populations. But the researchers also acknowledge that the benefits of consuming salmon may outweigh the potential risks. To reduce the risk and reap the benefits of eating salmon, look for wild-caught salmon, if possible. Enjoy fish in moderation, about twice a week.
Salmon can be purchased fresh, frozen, smoked or canned (usually wild-caught). There are several varieties of salmon, including Atlantic, Chinook, coho and sockeye, that are farmed or caught around the world.
When is the best
Salmon can be found any time of year in grocery stores or seafood markets. Fresh fish should be stored in the refrigerator or placed on an ice tray. Whole fish should have clear, shiny eyes, firm flesh when pressed, and should have a fresh and light odor (never too fishy or like ammonia).
When purchasing frozen seafood, look out for broken packaging or packaging for frozen ice crystals that may indicate that the package has been allowed to thaw and re-freeze. Frozen salmon should be firm, not bent.
Food preservation and safety
Keep salmon on ice or in the refrigerator or freezer after purchase. If you don’t plan on using fresh salmon within two days, freeze it in a moisture-proof package. Avoid cross-contamination of raw seafood by keeping it separate from other foods and washing hands and utensils thoroughly after handling.
To defrost frozen salmon safely, refrigerate overnight or cover tightly in a plastic bag and soak in cold water. Cook salmon to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. Once cooked, place the salmon back in the refrigerator to consume within a few days. Never eat fish that has begun to smell rancid.
Eating undercooked or raw seafood is dangerous, especially for people who are pregnant or those with compromised immune systems. If you choose to eat raw salmon in sushi or sashimi, be sure to go to a reputable restaurant and understand that there is a risk of foodborne illness.
How to prepare
Some popular salmon dishes include smoked salmon (or lox) with bagels and cream cheese. Using canned salmon, you can also make salmon cakes.
Fresh or frozen salmon comes in a variety of cooking styles and seasonings. Salmon can be grilled, broiled, boiled, grilled or pan-fried. Salmon flavor with herbs, spices and lemon.
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