Health Benefits of Salmon
Classified as an oily fish, Salmon is an orangish-red in color and a common food that contains significant content of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. The two major categories of Salmon include the Atlantic salmon and Pacific salmon, where the Atlantic salmon are mostly farmed, whereas the Pacific salmon is wild-caught. The fish is abundantly available in canned form and used all around the world. Some famous salmon dishes include Gravlax, Lohikeitto, Lomi salmon, Lox, Rui-be, Salmon burger, Salmon tartare, Salmon sushi, Smoked salmon, and Salmon sashimi. As for worldwide consumption, the United States and Nordic countries, including Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK, are quite generous in their consumption of salmon.
A distinctive feature of this type of fish is its oil content, which is approximately 30% in a single salmon. Additionally, salmon is packed with nutrients, including fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals that make it a healthy food encompassing numerous benefits for the body. In the current article, we shed light on the nutritional breakdown of salmon, some prominent health benefits associated with this fish type, different varieties of salmon available in the market, and potential health risks that are associated with it.
The following table shows the nutrition value of 100 g serving of Raw wild Atlantic salmon:
Per 100 g or 3.5 oz
Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, and B12
Potassium, selenium, phosphorus, copper, magnesium, sodium
Salmon is rich in protein, comes with decent calorie content per serving, contains healthy fat in the form of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. It is also high in water content, rich in B vitamins and essential minerals that play key roles in regulating different functions in the body. The nutrition profile of salmon demonstrates the richness of this oily fish when it comes to providing the body with nutrients that it requires. It is shown to have plenty of health benefits that are related to different functions that take place in the body. As we already know that the body needs essential minerals and vitamins to carry out certain functions and chemical reactions, let us see how salmon contributes to a healthier human body.
Health Benefits of Salmon
Not only is it a treat for your taste buds, but salmon also has to offer a wide range of benefits for your system. Its nutrients work together in the body to make sure you get enough energy; your vitals work perfectly fine, and your immune system is able to fight against diseases. Here are some research-based health benefits that are associated with regular use of salmon in your diet:
- Helps to Reduce Inflammation
Similar to other lean meats with high protein content, most of the health benefits of salmon come from its rich omega-3 concentration. Omega-3 is a group of essential fatty acids that are found abundantly in seafood. They help lower the risk of several diseases and enhance the functioning of a variety of chemical reactions that take place in the body. One such function is the unique ability of omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation of different glands, bones, and tissues in the body. Inflammation is a major cause of various health conditions that affect the body adversely. For example, inflammation of the joints is a known cause of many diseases such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, stiffness, pain, and swelling of joints. Therefore, a regular intake of salmon is likely to help you with its anti-inflammatory properties, keeping the inflammatory health conditions at bay.
- Supports a Healthy Cardiovascular System
The intake of salmon as a source of omega-3 fatty acids is associated with good cardiovascular health and a decrease in the risk of numerous heart diseases such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, and heart arrhythmia. Due to its rich omega-3 content, salmon is a heart-friendly food that improves the overall functioning of your heart vessels. It also reduces the excess content of fats in the blood and lowers the risk of an irregular heartbeat, also known as arrhythmias. Additionally, a regular intake of salmon can help slow down the buildup of plaque in the arteries. It also helps with sudden cardiac arrest and keeps the blood pressure from increasing.
- Decreases Risk of Eye Degeneration
Another health benefit associated with the consumption of salmon is its effects on the eyes. Omega-3 in salmon not only lowers inflammation of the eye but also helps with eye conditions, including macular degeneration and chronic dry eye. From what studies have concluded, consuming two servings of salmon or any other omega-3 rich food can lessen the risk of developing the above-mentioned eye conditions.
Cancer is undoubtedly a horrible disease, but it can be kept at bay with the help of a proper diet and a healthy routine. If the food is healthy and nutritious, you are less likely to develop any type of cancer unless it is inevitable due to other environmental or atmospheric reasons. So, intake of omega-3 is linked with a decreased risk of many types of cancer, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, leukemia, multiple myeloma, colorectal cancer, and non-Hodgkins lymphoma. The benefits omega-3 can be experienced when you start consuming salmon at least once per week, according to healthcare professionals.
- Improves Mood and Cognitive Health
Just like the body, the human brain requires all the essential nutrients to function optimally. Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids, from which we get one of the most important fats called DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid). DHA is responsible for the good health of the brain; therefore, a regular balanced intake of salmon can have a positive impact on the human brain. The health benefits of DHA present in Omega-3 fatty acids are shown to improve the cognitive ability of the human mind and an improved mood.
Although no vitamin, mineral, or other essential nutrient works in isolation, the reason salmon is regarded as one of the best sources of food and energy is its omega-3 content. The omega-3 fatty acids, along with proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals, work in harmony to provide the body with all the benefits it requires to function in the best possible manner. Its rich protein and mineral contents make it amongst the world's healthiest food, and the taste of the fish acts as a cherry on top.
Types of Salmon
Salmon is mainly classified into two major types: Pacific and Atlantic. This simple classification is based on the ocean where they are fished from. Some salmon are wild-caught directly from the ocean while other is farmed in a specialized fishing environment. Further categorization of Pacific Salmon and Atlantic Salmon is as follows:
Pacific salmon belongs to the genus Oncorhynchus and is divided into the following different species:
Also known as king, Chinook is the most expensive type of Pacific salmon that is loved for its buttery texture and omega-3 content.
Coho or silver is lighter in color than chinook and has a mild taste as compared to the same.
Known for its deep red color, sockeye is relatively oilier and also a great source of omega-3s. However, it has a strong flavor, which calls for the grilling method in order to cook the fish to perfection.
Pink and chum are smaller types of Pacific salmon that are used for smoked salmon or sold in cans. These are not heavy on the pocket either and, therefore, a good choice for health on a budget.
Atlantic salmon is a farmed species of the salmon fish. It has a rich taste due to which it is the most commonly used type of salmon worldwide. A type of Atlantic salmon is also known as Norwegian salmon, which is farm-raised in Norway, hence the name.
As far as the consumption of each type is concerned, the farm-raised salmon or Atlantic salmon is consumed widely whereas, Pacific salmon and its various species are not found commonly.
Potential Health Risks
Otherwise, an extremely nutritious food fish, excessive use of salmon may pose certain health dangers. For example, the fish that is raised in farms may contain chemicals that are used during the farming procedure. That could be a health hazard and may cause irritability or any other adverse effect. Other than that, the fish is widely accepted and known as a super healthy food with little to no side effects.
Widely loved and enjoyed around the world, salmon is undoubtedly an immensely healthy food fish that is rich in protein, omega-3s, vitamins, and minerals. It is available globally in a variety of species that mainly stem from two major types that are Pacific salmon and Atlantic salmon.
When we come to think of the health benefits of salmon, they are plenty, and it would only be accurate to say that this fish is equally healthy for the body and is a brain booster at the same time.