Salmon are found in the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Born in fresh water, they migrate to the sea. One consideration when selecting salmon is the level of contaminants found in some salmon habitats. Some contaminants, such as polybrominated diphenyl ether, a flame-retardant used in electronics and furniture manufacturing, and mercury, are showing up in fish. These are all considerations despite the beneficial nutrients that salmon also provides.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, there are health benefits to omega-3 fatty acids. People who eat a diet sufficient in omega-3 fatty acids have higher levels of HDL, or “good” cholesterol, and lower triglycerides. Omega-3s help lower blood pressure in people with hypertension and they reduce inflammation. They also help prevent arrhythmia in people who have had a heart attack, and appear to slow plaque development in arteries and help prevent blood clots. Although more studies need to be done, a diet rich in omega-3s may reduce the risk of arthritis, certain cancers, osteoporosis and depression, as well.
Protein and Other Nutrients
Salmon is a good source of protein. Salmon also supplies the minerals phosphorus, magnesium and selenium. It contains over half the RDA of vitamins B-3 and B-12, and one-fourth of the RDA for vitamin B-6. Salmon is also an excellent source of vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium.
Salmon is low in fat, making it a good substitute for red meat in a meal. The Harvard School of Public Health notes that 6 ounces of salmon has 18 grams of total fat and 4 grams of saturated fat. By contrast, 6 ounces of porterhouse steak has 44 grams of total fat, including 16 grams of saturated fat.
Salmon can be served more ways than just salmon cakes. It can be grilled or baked using whatever seasonings are preferred. Leftover salmon makes a good cold sandwich by itself or it can be mixed with low-fat mayonnaise and onions for salmon salad. It can take the place of high fat meats in a hot sandwich. For example, shredded salmon grilled with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and dressing on rye bread makes a low-fat and nutritious Reuben. Chunks of salmon can be mixed in a cold or hot pasta dish, vegetable casserole or simply added to a tossed salad. Experimenting by substituting salmon for meat in any dish can be a healthy way to lower animal fat in the diet.
- Chris Ted/Digital Vision/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.