Salmon is full of nutrients, tasty, versatile and easy to get hold of – here’s 11 reasons you should add more salmon to your diet today.
1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Salmon is one of the best sources of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, and unlike other fats, they’re essential because your body cannot create them by itself.
EPA and DHA have been linked to several health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, reducing cancer risk, decreasing inflammation and improving artery cell function.
You can take supplements, but studies have shown that getting these fats from fish increases the levels in your body just as effectively.
Eat at least two portions of salmon per week to meet your body’s omega-3 needs.
Salmon is a good quality source of protein, which plays a number of important roles in the body, such as helping it heal, maintaining muscle mass during weight loss and aging, and protecting bone health.
A 3.5 ounce serving of salmon provides 22-25 grams of protein. Your body needs at least 20-30 grams of protein at each meal for optimum health.
3. B Vitamins
Salmon is a good source of B vitamins, which are necessary for several important processes in your body. These include turning your food into energy, creating and repairing DNA, and reducing inflammation.
All the B vitamins work together to help your brain and nervous system work properly, and eating more salmon is the ideal way of ensuring you have optimum levels of these vitamins in your body.
Salmon, (especially wild salmon) is fairly high in potassium, and contains more of this nutrient than an equivalent amount of banana.
Potassium is necessary to control your blood pressure, and can also reduce your risk of stroke.
100 grams of salmon provides 11-18% of the RDI of potassium.
Selenium is a trace mineral found in soil and certain foods. Your body only needs a small amount of it, but studies have shown that selenium protects bone health, decreases thyroid antibodies in people with autoimmune thyroid disease, and could reduce cancer risk.
A 100 gram serving of salmon provides more than half of the RDI for selenium.
6. Astaxanthin – A Powerful Antioxidant
Astaxanthin is a member of the carotenoid family of antioxidants, and it’s this which gives salmon it’s gorgeous red color.
Astaxanthin seems to lower the risk of heart disease by reducing oxidation of bad LDL cholesterol, and increasing good HDL cholesterol. Also, astaxanthin is thought to work with the omega-3 fatty acids in salmon to protect the brain and nervous system.
Astaxanthin may also help protect against skin damage, according to one study.
Salmon contains around 0.4-3.8 mg of astaxanthin per 3.5 ounces, and sockeye salmon produces the highest amount.
7. Could Reduce Risk of Heart Disease
Eating salmon on a regular basis could be good for your heart. It may help protect against heart disease, and this is due partly to salmon boosting the omega-3’s in the blood in relation to the more dangerous omega-6 fatty acids, which most people have too many of.
When the balance of these two fatty acids is off, the risk of heart disease increases.
Salmon and other fatty fish have been found to lower triglycerides and raise omega-3’s more efficiently than fish oil supplements.
8. May Help in Weight Control
Eating salmon regularly can help you to lose excess weight and keep it off.
The protein in salmon helps to regulate the hormones that control appetite, and it helps you to feel full. Research has suggested that the omega-3 fats in salmon and other oily fish may promote weight loss and decrease belly fat in overweight people.
Salmon is also fairly low in calories, with a 3.5 ounce serving of farmed salmon having 206 calories. Wild salmon has fewer calories, with 182 per 3.5 ounces.
9. Fights Inflammation
Health experts believe that inflammation is at the root of most chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Some studies have found that consuming salmon helps reduce markers of inflammation in those at risk of these diseases.
10. Could Support Brain Health
A number of studies suggest that eating salmon may improve brain function.
Fatty fish and fish oil have been found to reduce depressive symptoms, decrease anxiety, lower the risk of dementia and slow down age-related memory loss.
One study showed that people with normal brain function who ate oily fish regularly had more grey matter in their brains than those who didn’t.
11. Tasty and Versatile
Salmon has a unique, delicate taste, and has a less ‘fishy’ flavor than many other fatty fish.
You can eat it steamed, sautéed, smoked, grilled, baked or poached, and you can have it raw in sushi or sashimi.
Canned salmon is quicker and more inexpensive than fresh salmon, and it also has the same health benefits. As canned salmon is usually caught wild rather than farmed, it has an excellent nutritional profile.