Yes, salmon has unrivaled omega 3 benefits but what you’re buying at your local supermarket may not be as nutritious as it could be. We’ll show you the benefits of eating salmon and why you should go wild if you can.
The differences in the standard are often found when comparing farm salmon, which is what you will usually find in a supermarket, and salmon caught straight from the wild. Many of us know salmon is healthy but not many of us know where it came from and how it has been treated. Don’t worry, because it is indeed possible to find the perfect blend of nutrition and ethical treatment, and the benefits are really worth it.
Firstly, why should you eat salmon?
- Salmon has rare vitamins and minerals. Most people are aware of this, but not which ones they are consuming. Vitamin B12, which aids red blood cell formation and synthesizing DNA. And Vitamin D, which protects your immune system, your brain, keeps your bones and teeth strong and supports your mental health.
In terms of minerals, salmon contains a high amount of iodine. Iodine is really important for thyroid and immune system functions. Some people actually suffer from deficiencies from this rare mineral. Another important mineral is selenium which has been linked to reducing joint inflammation (1) and oxidative damage to the brain.
Finding these vitamins and minerals in other foods can be a challenge. Salmon though has rich quantities and for the most part, more than what is recommended daily.
- Like avocado’s, Salmon has a high omega-3 fatty acid content. Most importantly omega-3 EPA and DHA. While some people are aware of omega-3, they don’t really know what it does. They help not only in improving your health but also take you to a whole new level of fitness. Unfortunately, though the majority of people consume more omega-6 than they need. Meaning our diets are not balanced correctly, increasing the possibility of diseases and health problems ranging from obesity to diabetes, and metabolic syndrome or autoimmune disorders.
This is where wild salmon can make a very important difference. Three times more omega-3 than its farmed rivals, meaning it can severely reduce inflammation, improve and protect both your brain and heart, as well as balance the ratio between omega-3 and omega-6.
- Salmon contains more protein than most slices of steak or chicken breast. It sounds hard to believe but it’s true. It has also been recently uncovered that salmon has amino acids (protects your body from muscle breakdown) which are easier for our bodies to take in than from other sources such as pork, beef or chicken.
Secondly, why should you need to know the difference between wild and farmed salmon?
Now that we understand why salmon is one of the healthiest things you can eat, it is important to know the differences between farmed and wild salmon, and why you should always try to get your hands on fresh salmon caught directly from the wild. Salmon caught from the wild contains many more useful nutrients, such as healthy fats, and is so healthy in fact, that people often eat it numerous times a week. However, others will avoid salmon completely because of the possibility of it being contaminated farmed salmon. Some people even avoid seafood altogether because of this reason. Sadly a lot is lost in farmed salmon in comparison to wild stock. These are the reasons why you should go for wild if you can.
- Fed foods which are not part of their real diets, such as grain and corn, but also pigments to change their color pink.
- Farmed salmon is also the first ever genetically modified food to be approved for humans.
- Kept in an abnormal habitat, leading to stress.
- Contaminants and toxins. (2)
- Contains only a quarter of the Vitamin D it would have if caught in the wild.
- Caught in sustainable amounts and treated ethically.
- Rich in iodine, Vitamin D, and Vitamin B12 (3) (a quarter of Americans suffer from vitamin d deficiency)
- Huge amounts of omega-3
- Fights off inflammation
- Provides selenium
Looking at those two lists clearly, shows you why you want to go wild. Wild salmon contains so many more of the nutrients we want, the whole reason why we buy it. On top of that, the number of contaminants farmed salmon is exposed to is staggering.
Unlike Tilapia, wild salmon contains 12.4 times as many omega-3s than omega-6s, farmed salmon just has 2.9, while farmed salmon had 14 different contaminants, wild salmon usually has none. Salmon farming, just like all modern farming, faces some huge problems. Not only is it producing low-quality food in favor of profits, it has also lead to some animals being kept in appalling conditions.
What causes the drop in Omega 3 Benefits?
Salmon farming usually involves keeping the fish in overcrowded nets with little space for them to move. Being kept so close to one another is one of the prime reasons why their quality drops so significantly. This not only related to stress but also bacteria and viruses become rampant. You may have heard how some salmon is injected with some chemicals to ‘improve’ the color. Well, apart from that being obviously not ideal to consume, this is done because due to farmed salmon’s diet, which is often corn and grains which they have never eaten before, their bodies change dramatically, turning a pale gray color.
Next time you go food shopping and browse through the salmon section, don’t just pick up the cheapest or nicest looking salmon they have. Inspect what they are offering. Is it farmed or from the wild? Remember, Wild Salmon has way more omega 3 benefits than farmed salmon. Compare the nutrients on the back, which claims to have the highest? Chances are if it comes from the supermarket, it’s farmed and may not be worth it. In which case, you should consider buying directly from the fishermen or a real fish market. But even then the salmon may have been farmed and you should still ask where it came from.