Salmon Nutrition and Health Benefits

Salmon Nutrition and Health Benefits

This beloved oily fish isn’t just packed with nutrients; it might also lower the risk of certain diseases. What’s more, it’s delicious, adaptable, and readily accessible.

Salmon Nutritional Facts

The nutritional content of salmon can vary slightly depending on the type. For instance, farmed salmon tends to contain slightly more healthy fats and calories, while wild-caught salmon edges ahead in the protein department.

Regardless, both varieties offer an array of essential nutrients, including selenium, phosphorus, and B vitamins.

Here’s a closer examination of the nutritional breakdown for a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of cooked wild or farmed salmon.

Salmon is particularly rich in selenium, a vital nutrient involved in DNA synthesis, thyroid hormone regulation, and reproductive health.

It’s also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are heart-friendly fats known to reduce inflammation and support brain function.

Additionally, salmon boasts a bounty of vitamin B12, essential for red blood cell production and maintaining a healthy central nervous system.

Health Benefits of Salmon

Abundant in Omega-3 Fatty Acids Salmon ranks among the top sources of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids like eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) portion of farmed salmon delivers 2.3 grams of these crucial omega-3 fatty acids, while the same serving of wild salmon provides 2.2 grams.

Unlike most fats, omega-3 fats are deemed “essential,” meaning you need to obtain them from your diet since your body can’t produce them.

Typically, health organizations recommend that adults aim for a daily intake of 250–1,000 mg of combined EPA and DHA.

Excellent Source of Protein

Protein plays various vital roles in the body, from aiding in healing after injury to safeguarding bone health and preserving muscle mass during weight loss or as you age.

Recent studies suggest that each meal should ideally supply 20–30 grams of high-quality protein for optimal health.

For reference, a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of salmon packs in 22–25 grams of protein.

Good Source of Potassium

This is particularly true for wild salmon, which offers 13% of the DV per 3.5 ounces (100 grams) compared to 8% for farmed salmon.

In fact, wild salmon surpasses bananas in potassium content, providing 13% of the DV versus the fruit’s 9%.

Potassium aids in managing blood pressure and potentially reduces stroke risk. Research indicates that potassium supplementation significantly lowers blood pressure, especially in individuals with high sodium intake.

Loaded with Selenium

Selenium is a trace mineral, requiring only small amounts for bodily functions. Nonetheless, ensuring sufficient selenium intake is crucial.

Studies demonstrate selenium’s role in preserving bone health, reducing thyroid antibodies in autoimmune thyroid disease, and potentially lowering the risk of certain cancers.

A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of salmon offers 75–85% of the DV for selenium.

Consuming salmon and other seafood boosts blood selenium levels, particularly in individuals with low dietary selenium.

Contains Astaxanthin

Astaxanthin, a compound associated with numerous health benefits, is a member of the carotenoid family of antioxidants, lending salmon its distinctive red colour.

Astaxanthin appears to mitigate heart disease risk by curbing the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol and elevating HDL (good) cholesterol levels.

Research also suggests that astaxanthin combats inflammation, reduces oxidative stress, and shields against arterial plaque buildup, potentially reducing heart disease risk.

Moreover, astaxanthin purportedly collaborates with the omega-3 fatty acids in salmon to safeguard the brain and nervous system against inflammation.

May Lower Heart Disease Risk

Salmon’s capacity to enhance omega-3 fatty acid levels in the blood largely contributes to its heart-protective effects. Many individuals have excessive omega-6 fatty acids relative to omega-3s in their bloodstreams.

Studies indicate that an imbalanced ratio between these fatty acids increases heart disease risk.

An earlier study found that consuming two servings of farmed salmon per week raised omega-3 blood levels by 8–9% and decreased omega-6 levels after four weeks.

Potential for Weight Management

Research suggests that the omega-3 fats in salmon and other fatty fish may aid weight loss and reduce abdominal fat in individuals with obesity, especially when coupled with physical activity, although further investigation is warranted.

A study involving children with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease noted that supplementing with DHA, the primary omega-3 in salmon, led to significant reductions in liver and abdominal fat compared to a placebo.

May Mitigate Inflammation

Many experts posit that inflammation underpins most chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Several studies propose that increased consumption of salmon and other seafood may diminish various inflammation markers.

In fact, one study involving 4,105 participants linked frequent fish consumption to lower white blood cell levels, often indicative of chronic inflammation.

Potential Mental Health Benefits In addition to safeguarding brain health, preliminary research suggests that salmon may bolster mental well-being, courtesy of its omega-3 fatty acid content.

According to a review encompassing 10 studies, consuming at least one fish serving per week or 500 mg of omega-3 fatty acids daily correlated with reduced depression risk, especially in women.

Nonetheless, more high-quality randomized control trials are necessary.

Another small-scale study involving 23 young adults noted significant improvements in depression symptoms after 21 days of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation.

Incorporating Salmon into Your Diet

Here are some wholesome suggestions for integrating salmon into your meals:

Substitute canned salmon for tuna when crafting tuna salad with healthy mayonnaise. Prepare a Cobb salad featuring canned salmon, hard-boiled eggs, avocados, lettuce, and tomatoes. Indulge in smoked salmon and cream cheese atop sprouted-grain bread with cucumber or tomato slices. Experiment with grilled salmon drizzled with avocado sauce. Bake herb-crusted salmon alongside veggies for a hassle-free weeknight dinner.

In Summary

Salmon serves as a nutritional powerhouse, boasting an array of impressive health benefits.

Consuming at least two servings weekly can help fulfil your nutrient requirements and lower the risk of several diseases.

Moreover, salmon’s delectable taste, satiety factor, and versatility make it a valuable addition to your diet, potentially enhancing both your health and quality of life.

Monika Wasserman

Monika Wassermann is a doctor and a freelance writer based in the UK who lives with her cat Buddy. She writes across several verticals, including life, health, sex and love, relationships and fitness. Her three great loves are Victorian novels, Lebanese cuisine, and vintage markets. When she’s not writing, you can find her trying to meditate more, weightlifting, or wandering around in town.

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