Nutritionally rich and dubbed a 'superfood,' oily fish like salmon make an excellent addition to a balanced diet. In this blog, we will discuss five reasons why you should consume more salmon.
1. It can promote heart health.
Salmon and other oily fish such as herring, mackerel, trout and tuna are high in omega-3 fatty acids (a kind of "polyunsaturated" fat.) Your body cannot make omega 3s on its own — therefore, you must regularly consume foods high in omega 3s.
The most beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, long-chain fatty acids, are found naturally in salmon in the form of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These are known to improve cardiovascular health and help maintain a balance of hormones.
Along with conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels, experts are now looking at the effect of salmon consumption in preventing certain malignancies and conditions such as asthma, high blood pressure (hypertension), age-related macular degeneration, and rheumatoid arthritis.
2. It can support brain function.
Seafood is often considered 'brain food' — and there is compelling evidence to back this up. Studies suggest that regular salmon consumption may help prevent age-related changes in brain structures (such as decreased hippocampal, frontal and temporal lobe volumes) and may even boost memory — the omega-3 fatty acids are responsible for this. Salmon can also improve progressive conditions such as Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis.
3. It can help decrease chronic inflammation.
Oily fish like salmon can help reduce inflammation, which is critical for managing various chronic conditions, including diabetes and cancer. Consuming more salmon may help reduce levels of inflammation-related markers.
4. It can be protective.
Salmon's pink colour is due to its high concentration of an antioxidant called astaxanthin. This chemical compound has been associated with decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering cholesterol levels and protecting the central nervous system when combined with omega-3s.
5. It can support healthy ageing.
Salmon is an excellent protein source, which is vital for keeping your bones healthy, preventing age-related muscle loss (called sarcopenia) and overall body healing and restoration. Its high astaxanthin content may help improve facial elasticity, reduce the signs of ageing on the skin, and protect the skin from the sun.
Is eating salmon safe for everyone?
Although salmon and other oily fish are full of nutrients and contain essential omega-3s, they may include trace amounts of contaminants such as dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls. Therefore, certain groups (such as pregnant women) are advised to limit their consumption of salmon to two servings per week. If you are concerned about contaminants, removing the salmon's skin and any dark flesh may help keep levels down.