Whether shredded in a poke bowl or grilled to perfection with some fresh asparagus, salmon can be a delicious and healthy fish to enjoy any time of the year. If you’re a salmon lover or any other fish, you’ve probably heard a lot about the possible health benefits of salmon. But is there any scientific evidence to support these talks?
Before we dive into the research-based benefits of consuming salmon, let’s briefly discuss the two main species you’ll see at the grocery store: farm-raised and wild-caught. While wild-caught comes from rivers and the ocean, farm-raised means the salmon was raised on a fish farm that the United Nations estimates will provide about two-thirds of the fish sold worldwide by 2030. Farm-rearing is often cheaper, but both types of salmon are very similar when it comes to their nutritional value, and both can benefit your health in different ways.
Read on to learn about the health benefits of salmon. Then, for more healthy eating tips, be sure to check out The 12 Healthiest Fish You Should Eat — And 3 You Should Avoid.
1. You get a boost of high-quality protein.
If you’re not getting enough protein in your daily diet, you should start to fix it. Protein is necessary for weight loss, building muscle, increasing metabolism and reducing cravings. To make sure you’re getting enough protein every day, a study by the Annals of nutrition and metabolism suggests consuming about 20 to 30 grams per meal.
The good news for salmon lovers is that a 3-ounce serving of wild salmon contains about 21 grams of complete protein. Wild caught and farmed are both high in protein, but wild caught (21.6 grams) has slightly more than farmed (17.3 grams).
2. The selenium in salmon may support thyroid health.
Another great benefit of salmon is that this tasty fish is extremely high in a trace element called selenium, which provides about 70% of your recommended daily allowance per serving. But what does this mineral do? Among other benefits related to your heart and cognitive health, selenium is necessary for a healthy thyroid.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the thyroid is the organ in your body that contains the highest concentrations of selenium and a report published in molecules states that selenium is necessary for the functioning of your thyroid gland. Not only that, but a review published in nature reviews says those who are deficient in this mineral may increase their risk of hyperthyroidism — a condition caused by an excess of thyroid hormone.
3. You get plenty of vitamin B12.
Have you ever felt extremely tired and lethargic only to have someone recommend B12 supplements? Because vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient for maintaining a healthy system of nerve and blood cells in our body.
When we are deficient in B12, we can experience weakness, weight loss, and even depression. And loud National Institute of Healthwe need B12 to prevent megaloblastic anemia, a blood problem that can lead to lethargy and fatigue.
Since our body cannot store its own B12, we must get this vitamin through food or supplements. The good news is that salmon is packed with vitamin B12. To put it in perspective, the recommended daily allowance of B12 is 2.4 micrograms, and a 3-ounce fillet contains about 2.38 micrograms of B12.
4. You can improve your heart health.
Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely beneficial for maintaining a healthy heart. You can find plant-based omega-3s (ALA) in foods like flaxseeds, chia seeds, and certain nuts, but fish is the best source of the most bioactive forms of the omega-3s, EPA and DHA! Salmon is one of the richest sources, with around 2,260 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids per 3.5 ounces. Filet.
Accordingly TrafficOmega-3 fatty acids help our heart by lowering our levels of triglycerides (fat that travels in our blood) and increase our body’s “good” cholesterol, which reduces our risk of heart disease.
5. You might reduce inflammation.
Chronic inflammation in our bodies can lead to a range of health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and chronic pain. Fortunately, the omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon and other oily fish have been linked to reducing inflammation.
According to a report by Transactions of the Biochemical Society, EPA and DHA (two types of omega-3 fatty acids) can have anti-inflammatory effects in our cell membranes. Omega-3 fatty acids in supplement form have even shown positive anti-inflammatory results in some rheumatoid arthritis patients.
6. You can improve your brain health.
Oily fish like salmon can potentially improve our brain health and even slow down cognitive decline as we age. A study on Chinese adults from the Journal of Nutrition found that the powerful nutrients found in fish (including salmon), such as vitamin D, vitamin B, magnesium and selenium, can have a positive impact on cognitive function.
Of the participants who were over the age of 65, those who consumed fish more than once a week saw better brain improvement than those who consumed less than one serving of fish per week.
7. Salmon contains astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant.
Salmon gets its natural pink/red color from a chemical compound called astaxanthin. This is a naturally occurring pigment that is also an antioxidant with myriad health benefits.
According to a review published in sea drugsAstaxanthin has been linked to anti-inflammatory properties, as well as beneficial effects in reducing the risk of certain types of cancer and diabetes. Wild-caught salmon in particular is known for its high astaxanthin content.
A study from 2005 Asian Journal of Andrology even found positive results in terms of male fertility and sperm speed after being given a trial of astaxanthin.
A previous version of this story was published on August 26, 2021. It has been updated to include additional copying and proofreading, additional research, and updated contextual links.
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