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Salmon

Salmonwild coho salmon 150x150 Salmon

Key Health Actions: Promotes brain health, cardiovascular health, increased energy and circulation, good skin, reduced hypertension, lowers triglycerides, prevention of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, and may reduce the risk of stroke.  Great source of omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, vitamin B6, B 12, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus and tryptophan.

Brief video by Dr. Brooke Bennis on Key Nutritional Benefits of salmon: 0 Salmon

Discussion:

Salmon are a fascinating fish because they’re born in fresh water, travel to sea water, and return to the same exact place where they originated to spawned in fresh water.  This fish is low in calories and saturated fats and high in omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), protein and antioxidants.  There’s a variety of salmon types, depending on their food source which ultimately affects their color, flavor and fat content.  Salmon is available wild or farm-raised, though caution should be heeded with farm-raised as there is often a synthetic pigment (canthaxanthin) added to give it a pink color.  Farm-raised salmon also contain lower protein (the fish do not swim as much as those in the wild) and they are usually treated with antibiotics.  The ratio of omega-3  to omega-6 fatty acids also differ between wild and farm-raised salmon; the latter containing less omega-3 and more omega-6.  According to FDA nutritional statistics, wild salmon have 20 percent higher protein and 20 percent lower fat content than farmed salmon.

Wild caught salmon originate off the Pacific coast and include King (Chinook), Red  (Sockeye), Pink  (Humpback), Silver  (Coho) and Dog  (Chum).  Canned salmon can be wild-caught or farm-raised, so read the label to be sure of what you’re getting. Atlantic or Norwegian Salmon is farm-raised.

salmon meal recipe 150x150 SalmonEnjoy the most nutrients and flavor by preparing it in a way that retains its moisture and tenderness.  Raw salmon is a favorite of sushi lovers and maximizes its nutritional value. Cooking salmon is very quick, 7-10 minutes is a good range for every one-inch thickness.  Over-cooking will result in loss of nutritional value and can even lead to the production of free radicals.  Steaming is the best cooking method. The skin traditionally is considered nutrient-rich, however if the fish comes from contaminated waters it’s best to remove the skin completely.

Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch has listed the wild-caught Alaskan salmon (Coho, Sockeye and King) as Best Choice for sustainability.  Wild-caught salmon from Washington, Oregon and California are considered Good Alternatives. Farm Raised Salmon has been listed under the ‘Avoid’ category, because the waste generated from pens produce disease, damaging the ecosystem of the area in which they’re raised.  When farm raised salmon escape into the wild, they often compete for resources with the wild native salmon and cross-contaminate the breed.

Salmon Salad Recipes

Salmon, quinoa and black bean salad for a protein packed healthy meal: 0 Salmon

Fresh spinach salad with lightly cooked salmon: main ingredients spinach, peppers, salmon0 Salmon

Main references:

Mateljan, George. The World’s Healthiest Foods. George Mateljan. 2007.

Murray N.D, Michael.  The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. Atria Books. 2005.

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