Atlantic salmon (Salmo Salar) is a commonly consumed fish praised for its high protein and omega-3 fatty acids (n-3 long-chain PUFA: Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acids) contents while low in saturated fats (which is good for the body). It is a fish with a pinkish, tender and firm texture when cooked.
There are several types of salmon, especially found in the northern atlantic and pacific oceans and they are eaten in many cultures around the world. Salmon is a fantastic alternative to beef and other red meat protein sources because It provides ample proteins with far less saturated fat content and more vitamins and minerals making salmon an ideal protein source during a weight loss program or for maintaining a normal body mass index.
Nutrition and Health Benefits of Salmon.
Salmon is one of the best sources of vitamin B12, and a good source of other B vitamins, which helps to turn the food you eat into energy. Salmon is also known as a very good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential fatty acids (because the body can’t make them) as they play a crucial role in the body; omega-3 fatty acids can lower your risks of cardiovascular disease, some type of cancers, dementia, Alzheimer’s and other cognitive diseases.
Scientific research proved salmon to be a heart-healthy food, which means eating salmon frequently may reduce the likelihood of cardiovascular events like a heart attack or a stroke. Salmon can lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, reduce inflammation in your arteries, and therefore reduce your risk of a heart disease. Researchers advised that two servings of fatty fish per week, such as omega-3 rich salmon, is a healthful dietary pattern for the heart. Population studies have linked baked or boiled salmon intake to a reduced heart rate and a lower risk of ischemic heart disease and heart failure.
Salmon also contains:
- potassium, which helps to fight bloat and regulate blood pressure
- selenium, which helps with bone health and is a powerful antioxidant that may reduce the risk of some cancers and heart diseases;
- vitamin D for strong bones;
- iron for growth;
- astaxanthin, an antioxidant which may help keep the brain, heart, skin and nervous system healthy.
Risks with Over-consumption
Despite salmon’s many pros, there are certain individuals who should be cautious on over-consuming salmon and other oily fish; they must therefore listen to the dietary guidelines on oily fish and omega-3 fatty acids.
If you’re on blood thinners, be careful not to consume too much on fish and stick within the nutritional guidelines since fatty fish thins the blood.
Also while mercury is a concern when consuming some fish, salmon is relatively low in mercury. However, according to studies, salmon may contain other substances that can be harmful to health. Salmon can contain PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) which are industrial chemicals that have been shown to cause adverse health effects. These include potential negative effects on the immune and endocrine systems. If you’re worried about ingesting PCBs, pay attention to the type of salmon you buy. Farm-raised salmon have higher levels of PCBs than wild-caught salmon, so try to choose wild salmon over farm-raised salmon when it’s an option.
Recommendation on Fatty Fish
The NHS recommends eating at least 2 portions (around 140g of cooked fish x 2) of fish a week for a healthy balanced diet; at least 1 of which should be a fatty fish like salmon.
According to the same guideline, girls, women who are planning for a pregnancy or are pregnant, and breastfeeding women should eat no more than 2 portions of oily fish per week. As mentioned above, oily fish contains “pollutants” and these substance may build up in the body and affect the future development of the baby in the womb.
How to Store Salmon
When it comes to storing raw salmon, it needs to be refrigerated immediately and kept in its original store packaging. Once in your refrigerator, it will stay fresh for one to two days. If you’d prefer your raw salmon to have a longer shelf life, stick it in the freezer. According to the USDA (US Department of Agriculture), raw salmon can be kept in the freezer (again in its original store packaging) for three to eight months, though the flavor and texture will lessen after a lengthy storage period.
Cooked salmon is a bit of a different story; cooked fish can be safely stored in the refrigerator for three to four days, and can be stored in the freezer for up to three months.
The nutritional profile of atlantic salmon
According to the USDA Nutrient Database, 3 ounces (oz) or approximately 85 grams (g) of cooked Atlantic salmon provide:
10.5 g of fat
0 g of carbohydrate
18.79 g of proteins.
The same amount of cooked Atlantic salmon also provides:
82 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin B12
46 percent of selenium
28 percent of niacin (B3)
23 percent of phosphorus
12 percent of thiamine (B1)
4 percent of vitamin A.
Wild salmon is more nutrient-dense than farmed salmon. The same database advises that the same quantity of wild salmon contains:
3.65 g of fat
0 g of carbohydrate
19.93 g of proteins.