Benefits of salmon
Studies show that cold water fish such as salmon are particularly beneficial in protecting against heart disease as they contain a high content of healthy unsaturated fats (omega-3’s). Omega-3 and omega-6 are essential fatty acids which must be obtained from the diet. Up until fairly recently, these fatty acids were present in the human diet in good proportions. Today’s foods, however, bring us an imbalance of more omega-6 fatty acids in comparison to the omega-3’s. This disproportion can result in inflammation and disease. Most of us need to limit our intake of processed foods, avoid cooking with vegetable oils, and increase our intake of omega-3’s with foods such as fatty fish, edamame, walnuts, and flaxseed oil.
Cold water fish also help in prevention of Alzheimer’s and certain types of cancer.
Types of salmon
Born in fresh water, salmon migrate and freely navigate the deep open sea for one to five years, and ultimately, instinctively swim back hundreds of miles to their birthplace in order to spawn. This uncanny instinct makes them one of nature’s marvels.
Salmon varieties are usually classified by ocean. Those located in the Pacific belong to the genus oncorhynchus while those in the Atlantic are part of the genus salmo.
The five species of Pacific include Chinook (king), sockeye (red), coho (silver), pink, and chum. Chinook salmon are the largest, sometimes weighing in at 80 lbs. or so with a length up to 55 inches. At about 15 lbs., sockeye is the smallest. The Chinook, sockeye, and coho are best utilized as steaks and fillets while pink salmon is mostly used for canned food. The chinook and sockeye varieties are fattier than pink and chum. Coho is moderately rich in fat content.. Chum is chosen mostly for processed food production.
Norwegian salmon is the one Atlantic species. Canada, Norway, and Chile supply most of our imported Atlantic salmon which is found in many of our East Coast restaurants.
Salmon is an excellent source of protein, potassium, selenium, phosphorus, iodine, choline, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and vitamin D.
Farmed or wild?
Over 50 percent of the salmon available for us to eat today is farmed. Some studies suggest there are more contaminants in farmed salmon versus wild caught, but both are considered safe. Since those studies, Washington state has imposed strict rules concerning contaminant levels in feed ingredients which have proven a lower contaminant level in our fish. However, the controversy and problems involved with farmed salmon are far from over.
Sources: What’s new and beneficial about salmon, Fishwatch, Farmed salmon versus wild