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Salmon is a highly nutritious fish that can be cooked in many different ways. Unlike other varieties of fish, salmon doesn't dry out as easily - likely due to its fat content - but don't worry, since these fats are heart-healthy. Salmon can be purchased fresh, frozen, smoked, and canned.
If you worry about consuming fish due to high mercury content, fear not when it comes to salmon. Wild salmon can be eaten without fear of excess contaminants or mercury, and is extremely nutrient dense, including the highly-prized omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon are valuable for many reasons. Research indicates that diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids can decrease the risk of heart disease by reducing inflammation.
Also, the tryptophan found in salmon is a precursor to seratonin, which can help manage depression and, because salmon is a good source of vitamin D, ingesting it may also help to improve mood, protect against macular degeneration, and aid in bone health.
Salmon Nutrition Facts
This nutrition information, for one 4-ounce fillet of salmon (124g), is provided by the USDA.
- Calories: 185
- Fat: 5.5g
- Sodium: 107mg
- Carbohydrates: 0g
- Fiber: 0g
- Sugars: 0g
- Protein: 31.7g
Salmon is high in protein and unsaturated fats (omega-3 fatty acids). It also contains virtually zero carbohydrates, which is great for people with diabetes.
A 4-ounce serving of wild salmon provides a full day’s requirement of vitamin D, making it one of the few foods that can make that claim. The same serving of fish contains over half of the necessary B12, niacin, and selenium, and is an excellent source of B6 and magnesium. Canned salmon also contains large amounts of calcium (due to the bones of the fish).
Salmon is a potent source of omega 3-fats which help fight inflammation and also help keep all the cells in your body healthy.
The American Heart Association says, "eating fish twice per week is a great way to improve your heart health." People who eat fish regularly seem to be protected from a host of conditions, probably due to the omega-3 fats, which reduce inflammation in our bodies. Inflammation is the base of many health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, some types of cancers and arthritis. Omega-3 fats also help prevent the blood clots that cause many strokes.
Some research also suggests that omega-3 fats have the potential to help slow cognitive problems such as Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline.
Having the right ratio of omega-6 fatty acids (found in plant oils, nuts, and seeds) to omega-3 fatty acids is important. In those with the right ratio, there seems to be less depression and suicide risk, as well as less aggression—in one study, giving prison inmates this type of fat (plus vitamins) reduced aggressive behavior by a third in a mere two weeks.