Who does not love salmon? This versatile fish is known for not only its taste but also its health benefits. It is loaded with a wide variety of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, and is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Consuming salmon may reduce the risk of heart disease, fight inflammation, regulate thyroid hormones, and support brain function. In this article, we explore the health benefits of salmon, its nutrition profile, and potential risks associated with its consumption. Keep reading!
Health Benefits Of Salmon
1. May Reduce The Risk Of Heart Diseases
Salmon fish is the best natural source of omega-3 fatty acids.100grams of wild salmon contains 2,586 mg of omega-3 fatty acids (1). Increased intake of these fats is said to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases (2), (3). Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) –two types of omega-3 fatty acids present in salmon – are anti-atherogenic,i.e., they reduce the formation of fatty deposits in the arteries (4).
Studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids may prevent stroke-causing blood clots (5). Data from 2011 suggests that people spent around $25 billion on omega-3 supplements (6). Supplementing up to 1g of omega-3 fats per day is well-tolerated (7). Therefore, salmon is a better option for increasing your intake of these healthy fats instead of taking supplements.
2. Aids Wound Healing
3. May Help Fight Inflammation
Salmon is said to possess anti-inflammatory properties. Consuming it may help reduce inflammation caused by chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes (10). A study conducted by the University of Iceland found that eating salmon may also help reduce weight (11). However, more studies are needed to understand this function of salmon.
4. May Regulate Thyroid Hormones
The presence of selenium (a micronutrient) in salmon may help in regulating thyroid hormones. A review published in the International Journal of Endocrinology suggests that foods rich in selenium may help prevent thyroid disease (12). It may also help in managing thyroid-associated ophthalmopathy (TAO) (13).
A study done at Charite University Medicine Berlin found that supplementing selenium may help prevent or treat benign and malignant thyroid diseases (14). Its intake may also decrease hyperthyroidism and improve mild thyroid eye disease (15).
5. May Support Brain Function
Consuming foods with omega-3 long-chain fatty acids may help prevent and treat mental disorders (16). A study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh (US) found that taking omega-3 fats may help decrease depression symptoms in young adults in a relatively short amount of time (17).
Another study suggests that long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3, 6, and 9) may improve cognitive function in Alzheimer’s disease (18).
Consuming Atlantic salmon fish may play a key role in reducing anxiety and regulating emotion (19).
6. May Improve Bone Health
Atlantic salmon is rich in vitamins D and K, which help reduce bone resorption (a condition that can cause bones to shrink) (20). A vitamin D-rich diet may help maintain bone health. The bones of Atlantic salmon are also a natural source of calcium (21).
A review published in the Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition suggests that consuming fish may reduce the risk of osteoporosis (weakening of bones) (22).
7. Contains Antioxidants
Salmon is rich in astaxanthin – a carotenoid found naturally in plants – that may help reduce the risk of heart disease (23). A review published in the International Journal Of Molecular Medicine suggests that the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of astaxanthin may help prevent and treat cardiovascular diseases (24). Its intake is also said to prevent neurodegenerative processes (25).
The intake of salmon may also reduce blood pressure in overweight individuals (26). It has anti-obesity properties that may aid in weight loss (27). Above all, its rich astaxanthin content may help maintain skin elasticity (28).
Now that you know all the health benefits of salmon, let’s check out the nutritional profile of this healthy fish.
Nutritional Breakdown Of Salmon
According to the U.S. Department Of Agriculture, 100 grams of cooked wild Atlantic salmon fish contains (8):
- Calories: 182
- Protein: 25.4g
- Fat: 8.13g
- Calcium: 15mg
- Iron: 1.03 mg
- Potassium: 628 mg
- Phosphorous: 256 mg
- Sodium: 56 mg
- Magnesium: 37 mg
- Zinc: 0.82 mg
- Selenium: 46.8 µg
- Niacin: 10.1 mg
- Riboflavin: 0.487 mg
- Thiamin: 0.275 mg
- Pantothenic acid: 1.92 mg
- Vitamin B6: 0.944 mg
- Folate: 29 µg
This wide variety of vitamins and minerals in salmon may help maintain overall health. So, how do you include it in your diet? Scroll down to know more.
How To Incorporate More Salmon Into Your Diet
Here are some easy ways to include salmon in your diet.
- Add salmon to your favorite salads.
- Opt for salmon burgers instead of red-meat burgers.
- Use salmon instead of tuna while making tuna salad.
- Add salmon to pasta or any flavored rice dishes.
- Enjoy smoked salmon and cream cheese on sprouted-grain bread with cucumber or tomato slices.
- Bake herb-crusted salmon with a side of vegetables.
There are many delicious salmon recipes you can try at home. In the next section, we bring you three easy-to-cook salmon recipes. Take a peek!
3 Delicious Salmon Recipes To Try Out
1. Garlic Butter Baked Salmon
What You Need
- Potatoes – 500g (1 pound)
- Skinless salmon fillets – 4
- Olive oil – 2 tablespoons
- Black pepper – ½ teaspoon
- Salt – 1½ teaspoons
- Chopped parsley – 2 tablespoons
- Garlic – 2½ teaspoons
- Unsalted butter – ½ cup (melted)
- Lemon juice – 1/3 cup
- Asparagus – 3 bunches
- Dry white wine – 2 tablespoons
- Lemon-1 (to garnish)
- Heat the oven to 400°F.
- Cut the potatoes into cubes.
- On a large-rimmed baking sheet, toss the potatoes with oil, ½ tablespoon of garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
- Spread the potatoes out in an even layer and roast for 15 minutes until they are just starting to soften and brown.
- Push the potatoes to one side of the sheet pan and arrange the salmon fillets down the center.
- Rub the fillets evenly with 1½ tablespoons of minced garlic and two tablespoons of parsley.
- Add asparagus to the other side of the pan.
- Combine 1/4 cup of lemon juice and 1/4 cup of melted butter and pour the mixture over the salmon and asparagus. Season everything with the remaining salt and pepper.
- Return the pan to the oven and continue baking until the potatoes are golden and fork-tender (about 10 minutes). Make sure the salmon fillets are opaque throughout.
- Combine the remaining butter, garlic, and lemon juice with the wine in a bowl. Pour this sauce on the salmon before serving.
2. Honey Mustard Salmon In Foil
What You Need
- Salmon – 1.2 kg
- Butter – ¼ cup
- Whole grain mustard – ¼ cup
- Honey – 1/3 cup
- Peeled and minced garlic – 5 cloves
- Smooth and mild Dijon mustard – 2 tablespoons
- Lemon juice – 2 tablespoons
- Chili powder – ¼ to ½ teaspoon
- Parsley– 2 tablespoons
- Black cracked pepper – to taste
- Salt – to season
- Lemon wedges – optional
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C.
- Line a baking tray/sheet with a large piece of foil that is big enough to fold over and seal to create a packet.
In a small saucepan, mix the honey, mustard, butter, garlic, and lemon. Whisk until the honey melts through the butter and the mixture is well-combined.
- Place the salmon on the lined baking tray/sheet. Pour the butter/honey mixture over the salmon and spread it evenly using a pastry brush or a spoon.
- Sprinkle salt (about two teaspoons) and cracked pepper.
- Fold the sides of the foil over the salmon to completely seal the packet closed so the butter does not leak out.
- Bake until the salmon is cooked through (about 10-12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish and the preference of doneness).
- Open the foil and grill/broil for 3-4 minutes on medium heat to caramelize the top.
- Garnish with parsley and serve immediately with lemon wedges.
3. Grilled Salmon With Pineapple Salsa
What You Need
- Salmon fillets(with skin) – 4-6 oz.
- Extra-virgin olive oil – 2 tablespoons
- Chopped red onion – ¼cup
- Chopped pineapple – 1½ cup
- Juice of 2 limes
- Honey – 1 teaspoon
- Chopped fresh cilantro – 1 tablespoon
- Kosher salt –to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper –to taste
- In a large bowl, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, and honey.
- Heat the grill to a high temperature. Place the salmon on the grill and brush it with the honey-lime sauce.
- Grill the salmon until it is cooked through (5 to 6 minutes per side).
- For the pineapple salsa, combine the pineapple, onion, remaining lime juice, and cilantro in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve the salmon warm with the salsa.
These recipes help you incorporate salmon into your diet. In the next section, we discuss the potential health risks of consuming salmon. Check them out
Potential Health Risks Of Consuming Salmon
It is generally considered safe to consume salmon, but not every day. It contains certain pollutants, like mercury, that can lead to food-borne illnesses. Hence, eat it in moderation.
Is it safe for pregnant women to eat salmon? If yes, how much can they consume? Scroll down to know more.
Is Salmon Safe For Pregnant Women?
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) – an omega-3 fatty acid found in salmon – helps in the development of the nervous system and brain of the fetus. Hence, adequate intake of this fatty acid is strongly recommended during pregnancy and breastfeeding (29). Salmon is also low in mercury, making it a good choice for pregnant women when consumed in moderation.
The Bottom Line
Salmon, especially Atlantic salmon, offers many health benefits and is a rich source of essential fatty acids. From reducing the risk of heart disease to improving bone health and regulating thyroid hormones, salmon’s rich nutritional profile may help reduce the risk of many ailments. However, it is not safe to consume salmon fish daily as it may result in food-borne illnesses. Remember, moderation is the key. Salmon also offers many health benefits to pregnant women when consumed in moderation.
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- “Fish” “salmon” “Atlantic” “wild” “cooked” dry heat
- Dose-dependent consumption of farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) increases plasma phospholipid n-3 fatty acids differentially
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Disease: Are There Benefits?
- The effect of omega-3 fatty acids on coronary atherosclerosis quantified by coronary computed tomography angiography
- Omega-3 fatty acids reduce post-operative risk of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism after surgery for elderly patients with proximal femoral fractures: “a randomized placebo-controlled” double-blind clinical trial
- Omega-3 Supplements and Cardiovascular Diseases
- Fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids in cardiovascular disease: do they really work?
- “Fish” “salmon” “Atlantic” “wild” “cooked” “dry heat”
- Nutrition and Wound Healing
- Chronic Inflammation
- Effects of weight loss and seafood consumption on “inflammation parameters in young” overweight and obese European men and women during 8 weeks of energy restriction
- Selenium and Thyroid Disease: From Pathophysiology to Treatment
- Selenium supplementation in thyroid associated ophthalmopathy: an update
- Selenium and the thyroid
- Selenium in thyroid disorders – essential knowledge for clinicians
- “Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids” brain function and mental health
- Short-term supplementation of acute long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may alter depression status and decrease symptomology among young adults with depression: A preliminary randomized and placebo controlled trial
- A Recent Update on the Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Alzheimer\’s Disease
- Reduced anxiety in forensic inpatients after a long-term intervention with Atlantic salmon
- Reduced bone resorption by intake of dietary vitamin D and K from tailor-made Atlantic salmon: A randomized intervention trial
- Calcium from salmon and cod bone is well absorbed in young healthy men: a double-blinded randomised crossover design
- Analyzing the association between fish consumption and osteoporosis in a sample of Chinese men
- Potential Anti-Atherosclerotic Properties of Astaxanthin
- Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory mechanisms of action of astaxanthin in cardiovascular diseases (Review)
- Neuroprotective properties of the marine carotenoid astaxanthin and “omega-3 fatty acids” and perspectives for the natural combination of both in krill oil
- Moderate consumption of fatty fish reduces diastolic blood pressure in overweight and obese European young adults during energy restriction
- Does Fish Oil Have an Anti-Obesity Effect in Overweight/Obese Adults? A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials
- Supplementating with dietary astaxanthin combined with collagen hydrolysate improves facial elasticity and decreases matrix metalloproteinase-1 and -12 expression: a comparative study with placebo
- The Salmon in Pregnancy Study: “study design” “subject characteristics” “maternal fish and marine n-3 fatty acid intake” and marine n-3 fatty acid status in maternal and umbilical cord blood