The Scientific Health Benefits of Salmon

The Scientific Health Benefits of Salmon

            It seems like every time you turn around, someone else is touting the health benefits of salmon. But is salmon actually that good for you? As it turns out--it is! Salmon is both a fresh and saltwater fish with many varieties you probably recognize from the grocery store, including sockeye, chinook, and Atlantic, among others. It has several positive aspects that can be beneficial for your diet (although you should check with your doctor before starting any new diet or exercise program).

●     Omega 3: Salmon is an excellent source of omega 3, an essential fatty acid that the human body doesn’t naturally produce. As we’ve discussed on this blog, “omega 3 promotes healthy joints and skin, reduces the risk of heart disease and aids in neurological development in unborn children. Atlantic salmon has the highest concentration of omega 3 in the salmon family, at 1.9 grams per 2-oz. fillet. The American Heart Association recommends that adults have two servings of omega 3 per week to maintain optimal health benefits.”[1]

●     Protein: Salmon is a great source of protein, which is an important component of the human body. “Your body continuously breaks down complex protein molecules, leaving behind smaller components known as amino acids. These amino acids help your brain send and receive messages; give structure to cells, veins and arteries; and, if need be, they can be converted into energy if carbohydrates or fat aren’t available.” Most types of salmon have an average of 21g of protein per 3 oz serving, which accounts for anywhere from 10-45% of your daily protein needs.[2]

●     Vitamins and Minerals: While omega 3 is one of the most prominent attributes of salmon, this fish is rich in other vitamins and minerals, “including protein, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin D, potassium, selenium, and an impressive amount of vitamin B12.”[3]

 

            So now that you know the science behind why salmon is so good for your body, should you eat it every day? Well, no; moderation is still key when it comes to eating a balanced diet. “The American Heart Association recommends eating fish (particularly fatty fish) at least two times (two servings) a week. Each serving is 3.5 ounce cooked, or about ¾ cup of flaked fish.” However, you will want to be sure you don’t overdo it. “Some types of fish may contain high levels of mercury, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), dioxins and other environmental contaminants. Levels of these substances are generally highest in older, larger, predatory fish and marine mammals.” That being said, “five of the most commonly eaten fish or shellfish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish.”[4] Talk to your doctor to get the full lowdown, they will be the best qualified to let you know how much salmon is right for you and your diet.


[1] Boehlke, Julie. “The Health Benefits of Salmon.” LIVESTRONG.COM, Leaf Group, www.livestrong.com/article/117686-health-benefits-salmon/.

[2] Anne, Melodie. “How Much Protein Is in Grilled Salmon?” LIVESTRONG.COM, Leaf Group, www.livestrong.com/article/361453-how-much-protein-is-in-grilled-salmon/.

[3] “Salmon Nutrition and Health Benefits.” @Berkeleywellness, www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-eating/food/article/salmon-inside-americas-favorite-fish.

[4] Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids.” American Heart Association, American Heart Association, 23 Mar. 2017, www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/fish-and-omega-3-fatty-acids.

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