Salmon is a heart-healthy nutritional powerhouse. Packed with omega-3 fatty acids and B-vitamins, salmon is a delicious zero-carb fish, packing in a whopping 40 grams of muscle-building, life-sustaining protein per serving!
While all salmon may look and taste alike, not all salmon is created equal. At the grocery store or the fish market, you’ll typically find two different origins for your salmon: farmed and wild-caught. By sight alone, the two filets appear to be pretty much the same thing. Nutritionally, though, farmed and wild salmon are pretty far apart. By choosing the wild filet, you’re eating a piece of fish with more nutrients and less chemicals than its farmed cousin.
Why is fresh salmon so good for you?
Salmon has long been praised as a healthy addition to our dinners. We have salmon to thank for lowering our risk of heart disease and for tackling our high cholesterol.
A fresh, tasty piece of salmon is packed with the nutrients needed to live a healthy and active lifestyle. One serving has 236 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin B12, excellent for an energy boost, and 136 percent of your daily vitamin D, renown for building strong bones. Salmon also has a good amount of selenium, potassium and vitamins B6, B5 and B3, all vital nutrients for healthy living.
Most importantly, salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids. Often called the “good fat,” eating omega-3 fatty acids directly influences your heart health, improves brain function, reduces inflammation and more. Salmon is the most efficient -- and delicious! -- way to ingest these fats: each serving contains more than half of your daily recommended intake.
However, you can’t obtain these essential nutrients from just any salmon. While looks alone won’t tell much of a story, a deeper look at your salmon’s origins reveals significant nutritional differences -- differences that may even be detrimental to your health.
How is wild-caught Atlantic salmon healthier than farmed?
- Wild salmon is chemical-free. Salmon gets its trademark orange-pink color from its diet. Wild salmon eat shrimp and krill, while farmed salmon feed is comprised of corn, soy and other foods not found in a salmon’s natural habitat. In fact, farmed salmon feed is so drastically different that their flesh turns out pale, even gray! That’s not an appetizing -- or a marketable -- look, so farmed fish are also given pellets that dye its flesh that familiar pinkish hue. Wild salmon is au naturel, needing no artificial dyes to obtain its trademark color.
- Eat wild for better fatty acids. All salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acid, an essential fat which promotes healthy heart function, brain development, cell regeneration and more. Omega-3s work best for your body when they are partnered with omega-6 fatty acids, but only at a particular low ratio. Farmed salmon contains triple the amount of omega-6 fatty acid as wild Atlantic salmon, limiting the positive impact omega-3s have on your body. Go with wild Atlantic salmon to reap maximum benefits from omega-3 fatty acids.
- Wild salmon has higher nutritional content. In contrast to its farmed cousins, wild-caught Atlantic salmon has significantly higher levels of potassium, calcium and vitamin B6. Wild salmon also has three times less saturated fat than farmed salmon: saturated fats have none of the heart-healthy benefits of omega-3s and could even be harmful to your health.