The Health Benefits of Alaskan Salmon

Salmon is one of nature's superfoods.

Salmon is one of nature's superfoods.

Types of Alaskan salmon include Chinook -- also called king -- Coho, sockeye, pink and chum. Eating salmon promotes healthy heart and brain development. Prepare salmon in ways that ensure its health benefits. Grill, bake, broil or stir-fry it instead of frying. Use small amounts of cooking spray or olive oil instead of margarine or butter.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Eating a 3.5-ounce serving of fish, such as salmon, twice a week is a great way to improve your heart health, according to The American Heart Association. Omega-3 fatty acids decrease your risk or abnormal heartbeats, known as arrhythmias, which can result in sudden death. They also reduce triglyceride levels, slow the accumulation of plaque in your arteries, lower blood pressure and help supply your brain with essential fats. A 3.5- to 4-ounce serving of salmon provides 37 percent of the daily recommended fat allowance.

Protein

Salmon is a good source of low-calorie protein and, unlike many meats, is not high in saturated fats. While an average porterhouse steak is a good source of protein with approximately 40 grams, it packs a whopping 38 grams of fat, 14 of them saturated. The same amount of salmon contains 34 grams of protein but only 18 grams of fat, 4 of them saturated, providing nearly 62 percent of your recommended daily protein allowance. Protein's primary function is to build and repair body tissues, but it also serves as an energy source by converting amino acids to glucose in your body.

Minerals

Minerals are inorganic substances -- meaning they contain no carbon -- that are required in small amounts for proper growth and functioning of your body. Salmon contains phosphorus, which helps build and protect your bones and carry nutrients to your cells. It also contains selenium, which acts as an antioxidant, protecting your cells from damage and helping regulate thyroid hormone activity. Salmon is also calcium rich, which is essential in protecting and building your bones, aiding muscle contraction and relaxing and assisting nerve impulse transmission.

Vitamins

Vitamins are organic compounds -- those containing carbon -- that are required in small amounts by your body and are essential to proper growth and body function. Salmon contains vitamin D, which helps maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus and strengthens your bones. It's rich in vitamin B-12, which assists in making new cells and breaking down fatty acids and amino acids, and vitamin B-3 -- or niacin, which helps convert food into energy and is essential for healthy skin and blood cells as well as brain and nervous system functions.

Low Toxin

Salmon is one of five commonly eaten fish that are low in mercury. Others include shrimp, canned light tuna, pollack and catfish. In comparison, shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish contain high levels of mercury. Children and pregnant women should avoid eating fish containing high mercury levels and instead eat up to 12 ounces of low-mercury fish per week. Avoid farm-raised salmon because it has less protein and is fattier but provides less usable omega-3 fatty acids. Farm-raised fish are also treated with antibiotics and exposed to pesticides.

 

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