Impressive Health Benefits of Salmon
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.
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. Great Source of Protein
Salmon is rich in high-quality protein.
Like omega-3 fats, protein is an essential nutrient that you must get from your diet.
Protein plays a number of important roles in the body, including helping your body heal after injury, protecting bone health and maintaining muscle mass during weight loss and the aging process.
Salmon is an excellent source of B vitamins.
Below is the B vitamin content in 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of wild salmon:
- Vitamin B1 (thiamin): 18% of the RDI
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): 29% of the RDI
- Vitamin B3 (niacin): 50% of the RDI
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): 19% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 47% of the RDI
- Vitamin B9 (folic acid): 7% of the RDI
- Vitamin B12: 51% of the RDI
These vitamins are involved in several important processes in your body, including turning the food you eat into energy, creating and repairing DNA and reducing the inflammation that can lead to heart disease.
Salmon is quite high in potassium.
This is especially true of wild salmon, which provides 18% of the RDI per 3.5 ounces, versus 11% for farmed.
In fact, salmon contains more potassium than an equivalent amount of banana, which provides 10% of the RDI.
Potassium helps control your blood pressure. It also reduces your risk of stroke.
One of the ways in which potassium lowers blood pressure is by preventing excess water retention.
Selenium is a mineral found in soil and certain foods.
It’s considered a trace mineral, meaning your body only needs tiny amounts of it. Nevertheless, getting enough selenium in your diet is important.
3.5 ounces of salmon provide 59–67% of the RDI of selenium.
Consuming salmon and other high-selenium seafood has been shown to improve blood levels of selenium in people whose diets are low in this mineral.
Astaxanthin is a compound linked to several powerful health effects. As a member of the carotenoid family of antioxidants, astaxanthin gives salmon its red pigment.
One study found that 3.6 mg of astaxanthin daily was enough to reduce oxidation of LDL cholesterol, which could potentially reduce the risk of heart disease.
In addition, astaxanthin is believed to work with salmon’s omega-3 fatty acids to protect the brain and nervous system from inflammation.
Salmon contains between 0.4–3.8 mg of astaxanthin per 3.5 ounces, with sockeye salmon providing the highest amount.
7. May Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease
Eating salmon on a regular basis may help protect against heart disease.
This is due, in large part, to salmon’s ability to boost omega-3s in the blood. Many people have too many omega-6 fatty acids in their blood, in relation to omega-3s.
Also, consuming salmon and other fatty fish has been found to lower triglycerides and raise levels of omega-3 fats more than fish oil supplements do.
Consuming salmon frequently can help you lose weight and keep it off.
Like other high-protein foods, it helps regulate the hormones that control appetite and make you feel full.
In addition, your metabolic rate increases more after eating protein-rich foods like salmon, compared to other foods.
In addition, salmon is fairly low in calories. A 3.5-ounce serving of farmed salmon has only 206 calories, and wild salmon has even fewer at 182 calories.
Salmon can be a powerful weapon against inflammation.
Many experts believe that inflammation is the root cause of most chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
In an eight-week study of middle-aged and elderly Chinese women, consuming 3 ounces (80 grams) of salmon and other fatty fish daily led to reductions in the inflammatory markers TNF-a and IL-6.
A growing number of studies suggest that including salmon in your diet might improve brain function.
Both fatty fish and fish oil have been found to reduce depressive symptoms, protect fetal brain health during pregnancy, decrease anxiety, slow age-related memory loss and lower the risk of dementia.
In one study of people aged 65 and older, consuming fatty fish at least twice a week was linked to a 13% slower decline in age-related memory issues than consuming fatty fish less than once a week.
Salmon is undeniably delicious. It has a unique, delicate flavor with a less “fishy” taste than many other fatty fish, such as sardines and mackerel.
It is also extremely versatile. It can be steamed, sautéed, smoked, grilled, baked or poached. It can also be served raw in sushi and sashimi.
Additionally, canned salmon is a quick and inexpensive option that provides the same impressive health benefits as fresh fish. In fact, almost all canned salmon is wild rather than farmed, and its nutrition profile is excellent.