With all the hype about the health benefits of omega-3, it is no longer a surprise why many are choosing to eat salmon over other times of fish. Short for its name, salmoniformes, salmon are commonly found in the northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Described as anadromous, most types of salmon are usually born in fresh water before they migrate to the sea. When it’s time for them to spawn or reproduce, they return to their home in the fresh water.
Since there are plenty of different species of salmon, their appearance differs greatly. The chum salmon, for one, has a silvery blue color. Meanwhile, the Atlantic salmon contains black spots on their sides. What’s even more fascinating about salmon is that while most species are able to retain one color in fresh water, it changes once they are in salt water. Apart from its color, the life span of the fish also depends on its species ranging between 3-6 years.
Fun Facts about Salmon
- Much of the salmon available in supermarkets is farmed. As a matter of fact, the number of farmed salmon greatly surpasses that of wild salmon by 85 to 1. While fresh salmon is farmed, most salmon sold in cans are wild caught.
- To give its pink/red hue, farmed salmon are given a diet that contains artificial coloring. This helps turn the fish into its popularly known color as salmon don’t normally eat tiny shellfish and krill that attributes to the natural color found in wild salmon.
- While farmed salmon and wild salmon have been bred differently, they still contain the same amount of health benefits.
Why is Salmon Recommended for Health?
Because salmon is considered as among the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), it is a healthier alternative to consuming red meat dishes. As such, people who consume salmon get the many health benefits that the fish provides to them. But apart from its exceptionally high nutritional value, plenty of people love to eat salmon because it is a delicious fish. While the most popular type of salmon typically served in restaurant menus is the Norweigan salmon, chinook and sockeye species are considered as more fatty and found to contain more omega-3 fatty acids.
Different Salmon Varieties
Typically, the different varieties of salmon are classified based on the ocean where they are found. The variety found in the Atlantic ocean belong under the Salmo genus, while those found in the Pacific are part of the Oncorhynchus genus. Compared to the five Pacific species, only one Atlantic specie is migratory.
Health Advantages of Consuming Salmon
It contains a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids
Salmon is not only a great source of good fat, it also comes packed with a number of vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, B and D, calcium, iron, selenium and phosphorus. Together with the omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, consuming the fish helps in improving brain health so that it functions better and stores memory longer. There are also some studies that show salmon can help prevent type 2 Diabetes.
It prevents cardiovascular diseases
Because of its omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is an excellent choice for your heart. Consuming salmon has been known to help in preventing major cardiovascular related diseases such as heart attack, hypertension, atheroscleros, and many more. Since the omega-3 fatty acids work by reducing inflammation, they are able to stop the arteries from getting blocked with fat.
It is great for children’s brain health
Salmon is not only good for the heart, it is also good for the brain. By making your child consume salmon, he can get enough DHA supply to help improve his brain function. In very small children, salmon consumption has shown to help prevent mental disorders such as ADHD.
It improves bone health
Apart from omega-3 fatty acids, salmon also contains proteins such as calcitonin. This protein helps improve bone strength and density. As a result, bone and joint related diseases, such as osteoarthritis, are prevented.
It improves eye health
Salmon has also been known to be beneficial for eye health. With its high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is able to prevent eye ailments such as dry eyes and age-related macular degeneration.
It promotes a good night’s sleep
Because inadequate sleep leads to numerous complications, consuming salmon regularly is recommended for better sleep. This is because salmon contains tryptophan, which is considered as a natural sedative.
Considering the fact that there are two ways salmon is bred (farmed and wild), there are many who express concern about the higher contaminant level found on farmed salmon. But based on research done by specialists, the risks and benefits of either type is considerably the same. To make sure you get the most number of benefits of salmon, you can consume two 150g servings of salmon per week.
Buying Tips for Salmon
When you’re buying fresh salmon, make sure to look for fish that is firm, shiny, and moist. While it should contain a sea-like scent, it should not be too overwhelming for you.
Because fresh salmon may not be available throughout the year, its supply becomes expensive when it is out of season. A good alternative is to consume either canned or frozen salmon fillets. However, it is recommended to consume canned salmon because it contains a higher amount of calcium derived from its tender and edible bones.
Cooking Tips for Salmon
When it comes to cooking salmon, it is always best to go with cooking methods that will retain its moist and tender texture. Since salmon can easily be overcooked, it is important to keep an eye out on cooking times so that it does not become dry and unpleasant. The best ways to serve salmon is to cook it either broiled, grilled, poached, or pan fried.
With the many different health benefits that salmon provides, it is good to know that something so delicious can be advantageous to one’s health. If you would like to get these health benefits, make sure to add salmon to your regular diet.