The health benefits of salmon have been widely chronicled, but it is always worthwhile to go over them again. Before looking at all the great aspects of this superfood, it is important to note that the fish that you eat should be wild and not farmed. Farmed salmon have an imbalance in their fatty acid ratio because of unnatural diets, and almost all fish from areas other than the Pacific Northwest are high in heavy metals and other pollutants, both of which can result in a vast array of psychiatric or medical health conditions if consumed on a frequent basis.
When left in their native environment in the Pacific, wild fish are allowed to eat naturally and come to your plate much cleaner and healthier than they would be otherwise. All in all, it is best if you stick with wild salmon from Alaska or the Pacific Northwest when doing your shopping and meal planning. Most salmon in traditional grocery stores and even at some of the health food stores is farmed. You must do your homework to make sure it is wild, and in some cases, you may need to order online. One of my favorites is Vital Choice.
One of the biggest and most widely known health benefits of salmon is that it provides an abundance of omega-3s, primarily DHA and EPA, for your brain and body. Among other things, omega-3s improve cardiovascular function, help prevent cancer, reduce blood pressure, triglycerides and inflammation, improves joint and brain function, lowers LDl cholesterol and increases HDL cholesterol, prevents atherosclerosis, decreases risk of blood clots and stoke and strengthens heart muscle.
Unfortunately, omega-3s cannot be produced naturally by the body even though they are essential to its function. This is why it is so important to consume omega-3 rich foods on a regular basis. Although omegas-3s are found in some plant sources, they must be converted to DHA and EPA, and most people do not make this conversion very efficiently.
With nearly 30 grams of protein in a four ounce serving, salmon is an excellent source of high quality protein that is easily digested and absorbed, thus providing you with all the essential amino acids needed for a healthy brain and body.
Salmon is one of the few foods that can provide an excellent source of vitamin D. With 988 IUs per 3.5 serving, it exceeds the U.S. RDA by 65 percent. As you may know, Vitamin D is critical for a healthy immune system and brain function.
Many Other Nutrients
In addition to protein and omega 3s, salmon is packed full of many other nutrients. Primary among these are B12, niacin and B6. B12 is crucial for a healthy brain and nervous system and niacin protects your body from cardiovascular disease, keeps your brain functioning properly, and helps your digestive system stay in tiptop shape. It can also aid in depression and detoxification. B6 plays many vital roles like neurotransmitter production and function, synthesis of hemogloibin and antibodies, and regulating hormones produced by the adrenal glands.
The fleshy pink fish is also an excellent source of potassium, selenium, phosphorus, folate, thiamin, vitamin E, and antioxidants and the many health enhancing benefits associated with these nutrients.
It contains a modest amount of vitamin A. However, it is true vitamin A, which plays a vital role in the health of the adrenal glands, vision, immunity, gut health, and more. Again, vitamin A as beta carotene can be acquired through some plant sources, but it must be converted into vitamin A and a lot of people do not make this conversion very efficiently either.
The rich omega-3 content combined with all these other nutrients improves neurotransmission and protects myelin sheath, making salmon an excellent aid for all neurological conditions, mental health conditions or brain related disorders, but especially depression, addiction, autism, hyperactivity, attention deficit, MS and dementia. Salmon has also been found to reduce the risk of both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
One of the least known health benefits of salmon is that it is a rich source of Astaxanthin, an antioxidant that gives salmon its pink color, which has been found to lower C-reactive protein and protect DNA. C-reactive protein is a measure of how much inflammation is in the body, so if it is lowered, then that means inflammation has been lowered. Astaxanthin is much more powerful than vitamin C, E or CoQ10. Wild salmon is significantly higher in astaxanthin than farmed, so another good reason to choose wild. As a matter of fact, the farmed version is often injected with a dye to make it look pink like its wild counterpart.
Metabolism and Blood Sugar
Salmon will lower leptin (our hunger hormone), help speed up your metabolism and lower your blood sugar levels, which can help you overcome cravings for sugar and carbs, lose weight and decrease your risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
Other salmon benefits may include improved vision, prevention of macular degeneration, healthier hair and skin, brighter eyes, better digestion and support in healing leaky gut. The humble pink fish has also been found to decrease the risk of many types of cancer including, but not limited to, breast, prostate, colon, pancreas and kidney.
You will retain more of the health benefits if you bake or broil your salmon, rather than fry. If overcooked, it becomes dry.
Salmon is also quite versatile being able to be served as a burger, steak, patties, soup, kabob, chopped, ground, etc. and goes well with many other dishes like eggs, salad, and any low-carb vegetable. It is a favorite dish for many Paleo enthusiasts and other diet plans.
If you are histamine sensitive or have high histamine, you could have problems with salmon. It depends on how severe your elevation is and how the fish is handled and processed. If fish is not kept cold enough, the bacteria that are present will produce histamine. The longer fish sits, the more histamine it accumulates. Fish that is frozen shortly after the catch will have less histamine. Additionally, several processing methods can increase the histamine level as well like smoking, adding sulfites, and marinating. Some fish is more prone to histamine than others, and generally speaking salmon is less prone. So it may or may not be a trigger for histamine depending on these factors.
Now that you know about all the health benefits of salmon, it would be a shame if you didn’t give it a try. It is packed with nutrients that you won’t receive almost anywhere else and a powerful way to enhance many aspects of your health. Just remember to always choose wild Alaskan or Pacific Northwest.