Salmon is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet!
It is credited with helping extend life span, avoid heart attacks and fight cancer.
Not only does salmon have one of the highest Omega-3 content, but it is packed with tons of other vitamins and minerals as well!
In just one 4.0 ounce wild-caught piece of wild caught salmon, there is a considerable amount of nutrition to benefit from (1).
Salmon Nutrition Facts
- Vitamin B12 (236% daily recommended value)
- Vitamin D (127%)
- Selenium (78.3%)
- Vitamin B3 (56.3%)
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids (55%)
- Protein (53.1%)
- Phosphorus (52.1%)
- Vitamin B6 (37.6%)
- Iodine (21.3%
- Choline (19.2%)
- Vitamin B5 (18.4%)
- Biotin (15.1%)
- Potassium (14%)
As you can see, salmon nutritional content makes it one of the world’s healthiest foods.
8 Proven Salmon Health Benefits
As you can see, salmon truly is one of the most beneficial foods out there. Eating nutrition-rich wild-caught salmon has also been shown to positively affect these 6 key areas of our bodies:
1. Whole Body Wellness
Containing more than a day’s worth of vitamin D in just one serving, eating wild-caught salmon can help maintain optimal health in a variety of ways as vitamin D deficiency has been linked to everything from cancer to multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis to heart disease. D. Alexander Parker, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Urology at Mayo Clinic in Florida, suggests that one-quarter of Americans suffer from low levels of Vitamin D, which stresses the need for all of us to supplement or eat vitamin D-rich salmon on a regular basis. And another study by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that 7.6 million children across the USA were vitamin D deficient. This is defined as less than 15ng/ml of blood.
2. Bones & Joints
Research has recently uncovered that regular omega-3 consumption can help keep osteoporosis at bay. (2) In fact, using records spanning 15 years from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), Ohio State University researchers observed that women who had a higher level of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood experienced less hip fractures. Inflammation contributes to bone resorption, which is a process in which bone tissue is broken down. Since omega-3 rich salmon is a natural anti-inflammatory, eating this delicious fish on a regular basis is a great way to keep your bones strong.
3. Brain and Neurological Repair
Omega-3 rich foods have been shown to increase the efficiency of various brain functions and can help improve memory. Additionally, the vitamin A, vitamin D, and selenium within salmon protects the nervous system from age-related damage can even act as an antidepressant. Studies have also shown that long-term omega-3 supplementation can help prevent and treat Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. (3, 4)
4. Focus & Memory in Children
I also get asked a lot if my recommendations for adults apply to children. Well with salmon, that’s a no-brainer. Research has shown that children who regularly eat salmon also experience the same brain benefits as their parents. Specifically, various studies have shown that feeding salmon to preschool children helps prevent ADHD and can even boost academic performance. (5) So, The nutrition in salmon helps focus better and remember more!
5. Heart Health
Being rich in omega-3 fatty acids, regularly eating salmon can help reduce systemic inflammation and the risk of developing atherosclerosis, hypertension and stroke. Regarding dosage, a study published this past August from the School of Medicine and Pharmacology (University of Western Australia) reports that, “Health authorities currently recommend an intake of at least two oily fish meals per week for the general population which equates to approximately 500 mg per day of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid [two key omega-3 fatty acids]. In patients with coronary heart disease the guidelines recommend 1 g daily supplements and in hypertriglyceridaemic patients up to 4 g per day.” (6)
6. Eye Sight
Eating salmon has been linked to helping cure dry eye syndrome and age-related macular degeneration, the #1 cause of irreversible blindness in the U.S. and EU. (7, 8) Omega-3’s are also thought to improve the drainage of intraocular fluid from the eyes and decrease the risk of glaucoma and high eye pressure. The omega-3’s in salmon are also essential for the eye development in infants.
7. Healthy Skin
Because of it’s exceptional levels of omega-3 fats consuming wild caught salmon can help give you glowing and more supple skin. Also, the carotenoid anti-oxidants of astaxanthin found in salmon can greatly reduce the effects of free radical damage which causes aging. Dr. Perricone a world renowned dermatologist recommends his patients consume wild caught salmon 3x a week to give them radiant skin.
Salmon Omega-3’s Kill Cancer
Any discussion about the health benefits of omega-3 rich salmon would not be complete without mentioning the evidenced-based effects this super food can have on cancer. That it is why it is my reason #8 why everyone should eat salmon. Of the 2000+ peer-reviewed scientific papers discussing omega-3 fatty acids and cancer, one point is clear, omega-3 fatty acids can have a profound effect on not only preventing cancer, but literally killing tumors.
For example, they have been shown to kill:
- Non-specific human cancer cells (9)
- Breast cancer cells (10)
- Colorectal cancer cells (11)
- Prostate cancer (12)
- Malignant brain tumors (13)
- Liver cancer (14)
- Skin cancer (15)
- UVB-induced skin cancer (16)
It is noteworthy to mention that these studies have uncovered that cancer patients typically experience measurable benefits when omega-3 rich fish are consumed even just once per week.
Farmed Salmon Mercury and Toxins
But wait, didn’t I read somewhere that salmon are highly toxic and contaminated with mercury and dioxins? It absolutely depends on where you get it. Salmon is marketed as one of nature’s most potent super foods. Yet most salmon on the market today are farm-raised and literally millions of Americans that are eating them are being contaminated with deadly toxins every year.
As I researched safe salmon sources, I found that most data is not consistent. Some sources claim that only 50% of the fish in our markets are farm-raised, and others state that it could be more! But one thing we do know: more than 90% of all the fish that we eat is imported! The problem with imported sources is foreign manufacturing standards are not monitored and have been linked to having dangerous levels of:
- Dioxin-like compounds (DLCs)
- Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
Also, because of the poor nutritional feed that they are given, compared to their wild-caught counterparts farm-raised salmon:
- Contain just a fraction of heart-healthy omega-3’s.
- Contain a significant level of toxins, pesticides and antibiotics.
- Are fed a dangerous reddish-pink dye in their food to make their flesh an unnatural red color.
Health authorities have told us that wild-caught salmon is safe and, generally speaking, this is true. However, just because something is labeled “wild-caught” doesn’t mean that it’s good for you. According to the most recent report by the U.S.
Department of Commerce, “There’s a bit of a grey area here…some ‘wild-caught’ seafood actually starts its life in a hatchery.”
This should raise some serious eyebrows because it could be, that like most shellfish, a significant amount of wild-caught salmon is raised in hatcheries and then released to the wild to be caught. Essentially this negates the term “wild-caught.” We see the same protocol with farm-raised yellowtail, which are caught as juveniles in the wild and then raised to maturity in captivity.
In a nutshell, just because the package says “wild-caught” doesn’t mean that it’s good for you.
This is why I recommend true Alaskan wild-caught salmon. It’s really cost effective and you can even buy it canned for around $2.50! According to the George Mateljan Foundation, Alaskan salmon leads the way and is the least contaminated species. Other varieties that are known to contain minimal to no toxins include:
- Southeast Alaskan chum
- Chinook salmon
- Kodiak Coho
Bottom line: As long as your salmon is from a true wild-caught source, then it is one of the best sources of Omega-3’s that there is. Plus it is an amazing powerhouse of many other vitamins and minerals.
How to Shop for Salmon
It is important when shopping for salmon that you also pick a good fresh fish. It is always good to ask your fishmonger when they got the fish in or even find out when they get their fish in advance, before you go shopping for it. Some things to look for are:
- Clear eyes
- Consistent coloring, no dark spots
- Firm flesh that springs back to the touch
- Flesh intact with bone
- Free of cuts on belly area or other parts of the body
- Free of discoloration
- Fresh smelling (not fishy)
- No slime in gills
- Red gills bright in color
When you do select a healthy salmon to eat be sure to store it properly too. Salmon should be stored in the coldest part of the refrigerator such as the meat drawer or the lowest shelf in the back of the fridge. While Salmon is one of the most nutritious foods, it is also delicious!
Try out my healthy salmon patties recipe tonight and let me know what you think!
What do you think of these salmon nutrition facts and health benefits?