Food & Footage

Archive of January 2015

January 17, 2015

Know Why Salmon Is Healthy

When it comes to cold-water fish, the first variety that comes to the mind is definitely salmon. Apart from being tasty, salmon is also highly nutritious. Salmon's reputation as a healthy food is mainly due to its high omega-3 fatty acid content, particularly EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).

In addition, it contains short protein molecules called peptides that have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Salmon also contains a good amount of the antioxidant amino acid taurine. Other important nutrients in salmon are vitamins B6, B12, and D, selenium, niacin, phosphorus, iodine, choline, pantothenic acid, biotin and potassium. 

Salmon is available in the market in many different forms. You can buy fresh salmon in whole, steak or fillet form. It is also available frozen, canned, dried or smoked. When selecting salmon for its health benefits, always opt for wild-caught salmon (both in fresh or frozen form)instead of farmed salmon. Farmed salmon can be highly toxic and thus harmful to the body.

Experts recommend eating at least 2 servings of salmon each week. You can enjoy salmon in soup, salad, as a main dish or with green vegetables as a side dish. Be sure to cook it using methods that will keep it moist and tender. When overcooked, the fish will become dry and will lose its nutritional value. Grilled, smoked or baked salmon are the best options for reaping health benefits.

Some of the health benefits of salmon are:

1. Improves Cognitive Function:
Salmon is very good for your brain. The brain contains 70 percent fat and requires essential fatty acids (omega-3s) to function properly. Salmon is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which promote memory and brain power. They also help prevent excessive inflammation of the brain tissues and support increased blood flow to the brain. This prevents brain problems like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and age-related decline in brain function, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. 

2. Prevents Cancer: Eating salmon is also associated with decreased risk for several types of cancer. In fact, several scientific research works discussing omega-3 fatty acids and cancer have concluded that omega-3 fatty acids have a profound effect on preventing cancer as well as killing tumors. Moreover, the vitamin D and selenium in salmon play a crucial role in lowering the risk of several types of cancer. Regular consumption of wild salmon can help kill cancer cells related to breast, prostate, brain, mouth, liver, kidney and skin cancers.

3. Controls Diabetes: Being high in omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is a good addition to any diet designed for diabetic people. It is full of protein and low in saturated fat. Eating wild salmon at least 2 or 3 times a week can even reduce the risk of developing diabetes.

4. Improves Cardiovascular Health:
The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol, maintain flexibility of arteries and veins, strengthen cardiac muscles and prevent high blood pressure. As salmon has low fat and high protein content, it is healthy for people with high blood pressure. Moreover, the antioxidant selenium in salmon is beneficial for cardiovascular health.

5. Prevents Eye-Related Problems: Eating salmon regularly can help protect your vision and improve your eyesight. The omega-3 EFA found in salmon is beneficial in the treatment and prevention of dry eye syndrome by lowering background levels of inflammation in the eye. It can also help in reducing the risk of age-related macular degeneration, one of the leading causes of irreversible vision loss. Moreover, the amino acids in salmon help improve eye health and prevent dryness and fatigue. 

6. Reduces Stress: Eating salmon on a regular basis will help you feel at ease. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids helps keep cortisol and adrenaline from spiking when you are under stress. In addition, it boosts brain chemicals like serotonin that help protect against mood swings and depression and maintain a happy feeling.

7. Keeps Bones and Joints Healthy: Salmon is one of the best foods for keeping your bones and joints healthy. Salmon contains proteins like calcitonin that help improve bone density and strength. It also helps prevent bone and joint diseases like osteoarthritis. Plus, it has other bone-boosting nutrients like calcium and vitamin D. Apart from keeping your bones and joints healthy, salmon can even help build lead muscle.

8. Reduces Inflammation: Omega-3 fatty acids like EPA and DHA in salmon offer anti-inflammatory benefits. They help reduce the level of cytokines in the body that promote inflammation. In addition, the high vitamin D and selenium content in salmon helps prevent unwanted inflammation.

9. Alleviates Skin Problems: Salmon can also promote healthy and radiant skin. Its essential fatty acids and other nutrients help regulate oil production and reduce signs of aging like fine lines, brown spots, wrinkles, sagging skin and dryness. It also has the ability to protect skin against sunburn as well as skin cancer.

10. Maintains Healthy Hair: When it comes to foods that can provide many hair benefits, salmon surely tops the list. Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, high-quality protein, and vitamin B12 and D, salmon is good for hair growth. Essential omega-3 fatty acids, such as DHA and EPA, found in salmon support scalp health. They also provide nourishment to hair follicles, helping hair grow healthy and preventing hair loss.