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Salmon: Types, Health Benefits, Risks & Recipes

Salmon is considered as one of the nutritious foods on the planet. It is because salmon not only possesses omega-3 fatty acids - EPA and DHA, [1] but it's also packed with tons of other vitamins and minerals.

The flesh of a salmon is typically pink, but its colour can range from red to orange. The pink salmon is primarily used for canned foods. This well-known fish is an excellent source of easily digestible proteins and fatty acids.

High in nutritional value, salmon is touted as one of the top nutrient-dense foods.

Types Of Salmon

1. Atlantic salmon

2. Pink salmon

3. Masu salmon

4. Chum salmon

5. Coho salmon

6. Sockeye salmon

7. Chinook salmon

Wild-caught salmon has higher nutritional value rather than the farmed one. Let's have a look at its nutritional value.

Nutritional Value Of Raw Wild Atlantic Salmon

100 g of wild Atlantic salmon contains 68.50 g water, 142 kcal energy and it also contains

  • 19.84 g protein
  • 6.34 g fat
  • 12 mg calcium
  • 0.80 mg iron
  • 29 mg magnesium
  • 200 mg phosphorus
  • 490 mg potassium
  • 44 mg sodium
  • 0.64 mg zinc
  • 0.226 mg thiamine
  • 0.380 mg riboflavin
  • 7.860 mg niacin
  • 0.818 mg vitamin B6
  • 25 mcg folate
  • 3.18 mcg vitamin B12
  • 40 IU vitamin A

Health Benefits Of Salmon

1. May help in weight loss

Consuming salmon frequently can help you lose weight because it is high in protein that will aid in regulating the hormones that control appetite and make you feel full for a longer period of time. Research study shows that omega-3 fats in salmon and other fatty fishes can decrease belly fat in obese people [2] .

2. Improves heart health

The B vitamins in salmon lower inflammation, which is the root cause of heart disease. Salmon also contains the antioxidant astaxanthin, a compound that gives salmon its red colour. This antioxidant reduces the risk of heart disease by lowering bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol [3] .

Salmon is a good source of potassium which aids in lowering the blood pressure and reduces the risk of stroke.

3. Prevents cancer

Salmon has positive effects in preventing the development of cancer due to the presence of omega-3 fatty acids and selenium, a mineral which has been known to have a profound effect in fighting tumours and cancer. Omega-3 fatty acids inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells, prostate cancer cells, breast cancer cells, liver cancer and also skin cancer [4] .

3. Promotes eye health

The high omega-3 fatty acid content in salmon can help prevent macular degeneration, retinal dryness, loss of vision and fatigue of the eyes. People who eat salmon regularly are said to have a better vision compared to the others who don't eat [5] it. Start eating salmon to keep your eyes healthy!

4. Boosts brain and nerve function

The presence of omega-3 fatty acids in salmon increase the efficiency of brain functions, improve memory and also help keep you active. These fatty acids along with other nutrients protect the nervous system from damage related to ageing and act as an antidepressant which relaxes the brain [6] .

5. Strengthens bones

Researchers have found out that regular consumption of salmon can help keep osteoporosis at bay [7] . Women with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood experienced fewer hip fractures [8] . Salmon is a natural anti-inflammatory food and eating it every day will help to keep your bones strong.

6. Prevents ADHD in children

Research shows eating salmon daily prevents ADHD symptoms and can boost academic performance [6] . Pregnant and nursing mothers should also eat salmon to boost their children's learning capability and academic performance [9] .

7. Boosts immunity

The presence of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, and selenium in salmon can strengthen the immune system. Eating two servings of salmon per week lowers the risk of chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, and cognitive decline.

8. Fights inflammation

Salmon can lower inflammation in people who are at risk of chronic diseases [10] . A study showed that men with ulcerative colitis ate salmon per week and found a decrease in inflammatory markers in their blood and colon [11] .

9. Enhances skin health

Eating wild-caught salmon can give you a glowing and supple skin because it contains astaxanthin, an antioxidant and omega-3 fatty acids. This lowers the effects of free radical damage, which is a major contributor to skin ageing [12] .

Difference Between Wild-Caught Salmon And Farmed Salmon

Wild salmon breed in the natural environment such as oceans, lakes and rivers. They eat other organisms found in their natural environment and contain minerals higher than farmed salmon.

On the other hand, farmed salmon comes from fish farms. The fishes are fed processed high-fat, high-protein foods to produce larger fish. Farmed salmon might contain contaminants, mercury and other metals and antibiotics.

Potential Risks Of Salmon

  • If you are allergic to fish, avoid having salmon.
  • It contains moderate amounts of mercury and pollutants that build up in the natural environment.
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding mothers and children should consume salmon in moderation to minimize mercury exposure.

How To Select And Store Salmon

Fresh salmon should have smooth, moist skin and its eyes should be bright and clear. It can be purchased as either fillet, frozen, canned or smoked.

Avoid salmon fish with a pungent or bad smell. Fresh salmon should be refrigerated at 40°F or below.

Salmon Recipes

Salmon can be either eaten grilled, poached, sautéed, smoked, steamed or baked. Here are some salmon recipes for you to try:

1. Indian style grilled salmon recipe.

2. Salmon tomato fish curry recipe.

3. Seared salmon with sweet potatoes.

4. Pan fried salmon in coconut oil.

View Article References
  1. [1] Horn, S. S., Sonesson, A. K., Krasnov, A., Moghadam, H., Hillestad, B., Meuwissen, T., & Ruyter, B. (2019). Individual differences in EPA and DHA content of Atlantic salmon are associated with gene expression of key metabolic processes.Scientific reports,9(1), 3889.
  2. [2] Buckley, J. D., & Howe, P. R. (2010). Long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may be beneficial for reducing obesity—a review.Nutrients,2(12), 1212-1230.
  3. [3] Iwamoto, T., Hosoda, K., Hirano, R., Kurata, H., Matsumoto, A., Miki, W., ... & Kondo, K. (2000). Inhibition of low-density lipoprotein oxidation by astaxanthin.Journal of atherosclerosis and thrombosis,7(4), 216-222.
  4. [4] Dyari, H. R. E., Rawling, T., Bourget, K., & Murray, M. (2014). Synthetic ω-3 epoxyfatty acids as antiproliferative and pro-apoptotic agents in human breast cancer cells.Journal of medicinal chemistry,57(17), 7459-7464.
  5. [5] Hodge, W., Barnes, D., Schachter, H. M., Pan, Y., Lowcock, E. C., Zhang, L., ... & Lewin, G. (2005). Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Eye Health: Summary. InAHRQ Evidence Report Summaries. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US).
  6. [6] Königs, A., & Kiliaan, A. J. (2016). Critical appraisal of omega-3 fatty acids in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder treatment.Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment,12, 1869-1882.
  7. [7] Orchard, T. S., Pan, X., Cheek, F., Ing, S. W., & Jackson, R. D. (2012). A systematic review of omega-3 fatty acids and osteoporosis.The British journal of nutrition,107 Suppl 2(0 2), S253-S260.
  8. [8] Orchard, T. S., Cauley, J. A., Frank, G. C., Neuhouser, M. L., Robinson, J. G., Snetselaar, L., … Jackson, R. D. (2010). Fatty acid consumption and risk of fracture in the Women's Health Initiative.The American journal of clinical nutrition,92(6), 1452-1460.
  9. [9] Starling, P., Charlton, K., McMahon, A. T., & Lucas, C. (2015). Fish intake during pregnancy and foetal neurodevelopment--a systematic review of the evidence.Nutrients,7(3), 2001-2014.
  10. [10] Zhang, J., Wang, C., Li, L., Man, Q., Song, P., Meng, L., ... & Frøyland, L. (2010). Inclusion of Atlantic salmon in the Chinese diet reduces cardiovascular disease risk markers in dyslipidemic adult men.Nutrition research,30(7), 447-454.
  11. [11] Grimstad, T., Berge, R. K., Bohov, P., Skorve, J., Gøransson, L., Omdal, R., ... & Hausken, T. (2011). Salmon diet in patients with active ulcerative colitis reduced the simple clinical colitis activity index and increased the anti-inflammatory fatty acid index–a pilot study.Scandinavian journal of clinical and laboratory investigation,71(1), 68-73.
  12. [12] Tominaga, K., Hongo, N., Fujishita, M., Takahashi, Y., & Adachi, Y. (2017). Protective effects of astaxanthin on skin deterioration.Journal of clinical biochemistry and nutrition, 17-35.

Read more about: salmon health benefits
Story first published: Monday, May 13, 2019, 16:45 [IST]
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