Salmon is extremely nutritious, as it is high in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients. Studies have found that incorporating fish into your diet has many health benefits.
1. Improves heart health
Salmon is known to be a superfood when it comes to heart health. Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and essential vitamins help lower blood cholesterol and blood pressure levels, which reduce the risk of developing heart conditions such as heart attacks and arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats). Salmon also improves heart health by reducing cellular damage caused by free radicals.
2. Repairs tissues
Salmon is an excellent source of proteins and essential nutrients that help repair tissues in the skin, bones, muscles, and blood. Vitamin B complexes help reduce inflammation, maintain hormonal balance, and promote the health of several metabolic functions, including the production of energy from food and DNA.
3. Promotes brain health
High levels of DHA, vitamins A and D, and selenium that boost brain health and function. Supplements containing these compounds are known to improve cognition and learning skills, so they are often used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and psychological disorders (such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease) in adults. Salmon also helps improve fetal brain development when consumed during pregnancy.
4. Reduces joint inflammation
Salmon contains calcitonin (a bioactive peptide) that stabilizes and regulates collagen syntheses in the cartilage around the joints. Omega-3 fatty acids also play a role in reducing inflammation in the joints in people with osteoarthritis.
5. Antioxidant properties
Astaxanthin in salmon has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It prevents oxidative damage to the cells and improves the cellular functions of vital organs. Astaxanthin also boosts immunity and reduces the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.
6. Anti-cancer properties
Omega-3 fatty acids have been proven to be effective at killing cancer cells. Certain cancers, such as colorectal, skin, prostate, and liver cancers, may be prevented and treated with omega-3 fatty acids.
7. Improves eyesight
Salmon is a rich source of vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids, which promote eye health and prevent the risk of vision problems, such as dry eye syndrome and age-related macular degeneration.
8. Promotes healthy skin
Vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids improve skin health by reducing cellular damage caused by the free radicals. This prevents early aging of the skin.
9. Maintains thyroid function
Salmon contains a decent amount of selenium, which helps maintain proper thyroid function by reducing the cell damage caused by free radicals during the synthesis of thyroid hormone.
10. Aids in weight loss
Salmon is high in protein and low in calories while providing the nutrients essential to the body. It is also low in saturated fats, meaning it does not make you gain weight.
Salmon is a very versatile fish, in addition to being delicious. It does well with various preparations, such as baking, steaming, grilling, poaching, or smoking. It can even be eaten raw.
What are the risks of farm-raised salmon?
Farm-raised fish are exposed to various pollutants and toxins, such as mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, dioxins, and pesticides. Consumption of fish raised in water contaminated with these pollutants can be harmful to health. Mercury especially can harm the nervous system in adults and reduce brain development in children.
Farmed salmon are raised in a crowded environment where there is no proper room for the fish to swim. This makes the fish stay in close contact with each other, which increases the risk of transmission of infections, such as sea lice. Sea lice are the most common infection seen in salmon fish, and the parasite eats the fish from the skin to bones.
The American Heart Association recommends eating at least 2 servings of fish per week. However, it is recommended to consume wild-caught fish whenever possible, which is a far healthier option than farm-raised fish.