From heart health to brain development find out why you should up your salmon intake.
Canadians are wild about their salmon. In fact, Canada is one of the largest salmon exporters in the world! Wild salmon is loaded with protein and the two blockbuster omega 3s — DHA and EPA — that helps with brain, nerve and eye development. As the body can’t make omega-3 fatty acids, the best way to obtain them is through the food we eat.
Certain types of salmon are sustainable. The non-profit organization Sea Choice states that a sustainable source is, “A species whose biology is capable of withstanding fishing pressure, where the status of the stock is well understood, and where the fishing methods do not adversely impact other species or habitat.” I recommend eating it at least twice a week, but be sure you’re getting it from a sustainable source. There are so many questions around what kind of fish is best, read on for some clarity.
Vegetarian sources of omega-3 fatty acids such as flaxseed, flaxseed oil, walnuts, chia and hemp seeds are great, but it’s easier for the body to utilize the omega 3s from fish sources. Plant sources need to undergo an enzymatic conversion in the body that requires co-factors such as vitamin B6, zinc and magnesium. If you’re low in nutrients, the conversion may not happen, increasing your risk for inflammatory conditions. So, if possible, try and stick with the real purest source to gain the highest amount of health benefits.
Seven health benefits of salmon
1. Eating salmon is beneficial in the treatment of osteoarthritis and other inflammatory joint conditions. Salmon contains small proteins called bioactive peptides. One in particular, called calcitonin, has been shown to increase, regulate and stabilize collagen synthesis in human osteoarthritic cartilage. This salmon-found protein also improves bone density and strength.
2. Eating salmon reduces risk of depression. The brain is 60 percent fat and most of that is the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, which is critical it is for brain function and a healthy nervous system. Eating salmon regularly has been associated with reducing the risk and incidence of depression, hostility in young adults and cognitive decline in the elderly.
3. Eating salmon increases your cardiovascular health. As noted, salmon contains high levels of the omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA. These fats are responsible for many cardiovascular benefits such as reducing inflammation. When eaten two to three times per week, salmon can protect you from problems such as heart attack, stroke, arrhythmia, high blood pressure and high triglycerides.
4. Salmon helps build children’s brains. Eating salmon while pregnant and nursing can boost learning capability and academic performance in children. Salmon contains high levels of DHA (decosahexaenoic acid) which is the main structural fatty acid in the central nervous system and retina. Feeding salmon to preschool children also aids in the prevention of ADHD and can even boost academic performance.
5. Salmon’s an excellent source of vitamin D. Sufficient vitamin D is crucial to maintaining optimal health. A deficiency of this essential vitamin has been linked to an increased risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and type-1 diabetes. One can of salmon, for example, contains a day’s worth of vitamin D.
6. Salmon brings out the best in fresh greens. The proteins, B vitamins and omega 3 fatty acids in salmon complement the antioxidants and vitamin C in greens such as spinach and kale.
7. It can help prevent cell damage. Along with its many vitamins and high protein content, salmon is an excellent source of selenium, a mineral is that works as an antioxidant in the body. It is associated with decreased risk of joint inflammation, keeps the immune system and thyroid working well, and can help to keep tissues healthy by preventing cell damage.