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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Therapeutic Value of Different Foods >>  Fish and Seafood >>  Salmon


There are various species of salmon, the characteristics and lifecycle vary according to the type of species. They are classified according to the ocean in which they are found. Salmons are great travelers and travel hundred of miles to return to their birth place to spawn and die. It is packed with nutrients and is often considered as ‘brain food’. Popular types of salmon include Chinook, sockeye (fattier than the latter types), pink and chum. 

Health and salmon

Although high in good quality proteins, salmon is low in calories and saturated fats and has a unique health promoting fat – omega 3 fatty acids.
It is also an excellent source of selenium, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin D and a good source of magnesium, and phosphorous.
  1. Omega 3 fats along with niacin and vitamin B12 have a protective effect mainly to the cardiovascular system in terms of preventing erratic heart rhythms, improving the HDL to LDL ratio, preventing high blood pressure, preventing atherosclerosis, preventing the blood to clot in the arteries, lowering triglycerides and reducing the risk of stroke.
  2. Niacin is essential for chemical processing of the fats and is used since ages to reduce blood cholesterol levels. Vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 helps to keep the levels of homocysteine low. High homocysteine levels is directly associated with atherosclerosis and osteoporosis. 120 g salmon provides almost 56.7% daily value for niacin and 54.2% daily value for vitamin B12.
  3. Salmon promises cardiovascular benefits by increasing heart rate variability that is a measure of cardiac function. By greater variability between heart beats the risk of heart arrhythmia and sudden death is lowered. Salmon ensures long term cardiac health and improves heart muscle function with healthy lifestyle of exercising and maintaining healthy weight.
  4. Salmon should be cooked in such a way that it should allow minimum nutrient loss. Salmon recipes should include cooking methods like broiling, baking, or grilling instead of deep frying. Broiled or baked fish may lower atrial fibrillation that is the most common type of heart arrhythmia.
  5. Fish consumption is also related to other benefits like having a protective effect against deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, protect against cancer, protection for postmenopausal women with diabetes, prevent obesity and insulin response, Alzheimer’s disease, age-related cognitive decline, reduces inflammation, childhood asthma, protects against sunburn, reduce the risk of leukemia, multiple myeloma and kidney cancer. The omega 3 fats also improve moods, reduce depression and reduce the risk of macular degeneration and fend off dry eye syndrome.
  6. Sockeye salmon has the most vitamin D that is essential for healthy bones and teeth.
  7. American Heart Association does not recommend daily consumption of farmed salmon due to higher toxic equivalency score (lead/mercury or dioxin) may pose a health risk and outweigh the benefits.
  8. People with purine related problems like gout, uric acid problems or kidney problems should consume halibut with caution as it has these naturally occurring purines that should be avoided in such conditions.
Submitted on January 16, 2014