The Health Benefits of Salmon
The many health benefits of salmon are why I eat it on a regular basis and why it’s such a good idea to incorporate this delicious fish into your diet.
When I began my weight-loss journey I was always on the lookout for healthy proteins that could be used in a variety of different recipes and that also tasted delicious.
Salmon met my requirements and not only was it easy to prepare but it was also very readily available in Canada and the United States.
I’ve come to learn that salmon is actually one of the healthiest foods and sources of protein that you can eat, and it comes packed with healthy fats, beneficial nutrients, and quite a few other health benefits as well.
In North America it’s available as the whole fish, in fillet or steak form, and it even comes canned making it really easy to prepare, even if you don’t like cooking or have a full kitchen.
The nutrients that it’s full of help to give you more energy through the day, are able to act towards preventing a heart attack, preventing cancer, and it’s arguably one of the best foods for longevity and living a healthy life span.
In this post I want to talk about the many different salmon health benefits and why you need to be eating this delicious fish on a regular basis.
The Health Benefits of Salmon
Before I dive into the different benefits, here are the nutrition facts of salmon per 100 grams:
Now that you have a better look at the specific nutritional facts, let’s dive right into the benefits that your body enjoys from eating salmon!
Amazing Source of High-Quality Protein
Salmon is packed with protein and in a single serving there can be anywhere between 20 and 25 grams.
This is an essential nutrient that your body uses for energy and it also helps to keep you fuller for longer during the day, which helps you prevent unwanted snacking and overeating.
The high amount of protein also helps to protect your bones, makes your body more effective at maintaining its muscle mass when you’re trying to lose weight, helps your body to heal better during or after injuries, and it also has a positive impact on aging.
Not only are you going to feel better when you consume salmon regularly, you’re also going to look younger and hopefully feel the same way.
You don’t want to be eating salmon every single day, and when you do eat it it’s a good idea to try to get at least 100g in your serving for the higher amounts of protein and other vitamins and nutrients.
Loaded with Healthy Fatty Acids
Salmon is an incredible source of EPA and DHA, which are long-chain omega-3 fatty acids that are essential for your body.
The reason they are essential is because you actually have to get them into your body through your diet, rather than rely on them naturally, because your body doesn’t create these fatty acids on its own.
In a single serving of salmon you’ll find anywhere between 2 to 2.5 (or more) grams of these beneficial long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, so it’s a good idea to eat a few servings per week to keep your body topped off.
There are some different health groups and government organizations that recommend that you get between 250 and 500 mg of the DHA and EPA fatty acids everyday, and eating salmon and other seafood regularly is going to make it easy for you to reach this target.
These fatty acids have a surprising number of health benefits including being able to lower your blood pressure, reduce your risk of cancer, improve how your cells function in your arteries, and they’re great for decreasing inflammation as well.
Incorporating more healthy fats into your diet is also going to give you more energy throughout the day and it’s going to help keep you full so you’re less likely to overeat or snack on something unhealthy.
I know that there are quite a few people taking fish oil supplements, and I would argue that it’s a lot easier to just incorporate some more seafood like salmon into your diet rather than having to rely on pills to get all of the nutrients that your body needs.
You might be wondering how much salmon should you eat during the week so that you can meet these requirements – I recommend having at least two to three servings per week of salmon or any similar fatty seafood that you prefer.
Reduced Risk of Heart Disease
Like I just mentioned, incorporating salmon to your diet regularly is going to help your body become more efficient at protecting itself against heart disease.
The main reason for this is because of the high amount of omega-3 fatty acids that salmon is loaded with.
There has been some studies that have shown that when the omega-6 fatty acids level in your body is too high compared to the omega-3, that you’re actually more at risk for heart disease.
That’s why it’s a good idea to make sure that these levels of the two different fatty acids are balanced and that your body has a suitable amount of omega-3 fats for it to use.
Along with eating salmon regularly, you can also incorporate other types of fatty fish into your diet, and this is also going to help lower your triglycerides level.
The healthy fatty acids as well as the lower triglycerides level is going to help your body protect itself against heart disease and keep you healthier for longer, especially if you were previously eating a poor diet high in unhealthy fats, carbohydrates, and sugar.
Improved Brain Function
Eating fatty fish regularly, like salmon, has been found to have a positive impact on reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety and has also been shown to slow down memory loss caused by aging and even dementia.
It’s possible that the healthy fats found in these types of seafood are able to improve your brain function and keep it healthier as you age.
There is one study that revealed that older people, those 65 and up, had a much slower decline when it came to age-related memory issues that were eating salmon or other types of fatty fish regularly during the week, compared to those that weren’t eating it often at all.
There was another brain health study that revealed that people who ate more fatty fish regularly throughout their lives had higher levels of grey matter still present in their brains as they aged, which could have a positive impact on reducing memory problems later on during the aging process.
When it comes to overall brain health and brain function, you can’t go wrong with incorporating salmon and other types of fatty fish into your diet on a regular basis.
Packed with B Vitamins
If you’re looking for one of the best sources of B vitamins, you don’t have to look much further than salmon.
Depending on the type of salmon your (wild vs farm), you can expect a significant amount of the different B vitamins in just a 100g serving.
Some of the highest levels of B vitamins you’ll find include:
- Niacin (vitamin B3)
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B12
- Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
- Thiamin (vitamin B1)
In one serving each of these different vitamins are going to make up a significant amount of recommended daily intake.
There are also some decent amounts of folic acid (vitamin B9) and pantothenic acid (vitamin B) in a single serving.
It’s a good idea to incorporate more of these B vitamins into your diet because they play a role in a few different integral actions that your body goes through.
These B vitamins can have a positive impact on more efficiently turning the food that you consume into energy that your body uses throughout the day, they’re able to reduce inflammation which leads to a lower risk of heart disease, and they also have a positive impact on repairing and creating new DNA cells.
Along with all of these different benefits, B vitamins also help your brain to function more effectively and they have a positive impact on your nervous system.
Keep in mind that a lot of people on a standard Western diet are unfortunately deficient in many of these vitamins, so you’re going to want to focus on incorporating these types of fatty seafood into your diet more regularly to avoid any problems with B vitamin deficiencies.
Full of Astaxanthin (A Great Antioxidant)
The reason why salmon looks pink or red is because of astaxanthin, a powerful and beneficial antioxidant that’s part of the carotenoid family.
This awesome antioxidant can reduce the oxidation of the bad types of cholesterol in your body while increasing the good type of cholesterol, and this leads to a lower risk of heart disease and better overall heart health.
Along with lowering your heart disease risk, astaxanthin also works together with the omega-3 fatty acids in salmon and offers better brain protection during aging and can even reduce inflammation affecting the nervous system.
One more amazing benefit of astaxanthin is that, similar to collagen, it can help prevent damage to your skin and this is going to give it a radiant, more youthful appearance.
You can find the highest amounts of this antioxidant in sockeye salmon, with suitable amounts in regular salmon as well.
Helps with Weight Loss
When you’re trying to lose weight, it’s a good idea to stick to foods that are high in protein per serving, just like salmon.
Eating salmon on a regular basis is going to help you lose or maintain weight, thanks to the higher amount of protein which is going to make it easier for you to stay on top of your appetite and give you that full feeling that helps to prevent snacking and overeating.
Another great benefit is that your metabolism is actually going to increase, something that happens when you eat foods that are high in protein, and this is also going to have a beneficial impact on your long-term weight loss goals.
Compared to red meat or pork, salmon is surprisingly low in calories, so you get all these benefits without having to worry as much about a higher level of calories as you would with other meats.
Whether you’re trying to lose weight or you just want to maintain a healthy waistline, eating more salmon can definitely help you out with your weight related goals.
Great Potassium Source
Surprisingly, there is quite a lot of potassium in a single serving of salmon.
Depending on the size of your serving, you can expect around 10% of your recommended daily intake of potassium in just one serving.
This is slightly more than you would get from bananas if you were to eat the similar size of serving weight.
Reaching your daily recommended intake of potassium makes it easier for your body to control its blood pressure and also gives you a reduced risk of stroke.
Those that are currently eating a diet high in sodium are also going to experience the reduced blood pressure benefits that potassium offers, especially if you eat salmon quite regularly.
Striving to maintain a healthy blood pressure is important, especially as you age, and this really helps to provide benefits against heart related illnesses and diseases.
Easy to Prepare
Salmon is one of the most delicious types of fish, in my opinion of course, and it’s really easy to prepare in a wide variety of different ways.
The reason that salmon is so popular is because it doesn’t have as strong of a fishy taste like you would find with other types of fish, and you can use it in so many different recipes and cuisines, even as a beginner home chef.
Canned salmon is also a great alternative if you don’t want to cook anything but you still want an affordable and healthy meal or snack during the day that also provides all of these different benefits.
One thing you might not know is that most canned salmon is actually made using wild salmon, which provides slightly better benefits for your body compared to farmed salmon.
Still, incorporating farmed salmon into your diet is a lot better than relying on fast food or junk food and there are still plenty of benefits that it provides.