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Wild Salmon – Fitness Superfood #8

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Wild Salmon 101: In the running for the healthiest food in the world

In today’s episode I’m going to talk about the superfood wild salmon, and the many fitness and nutrition benefits associated with eating it.

This is day 8 in our 12 day series showcasing the top 12 superfoods to help you with your fitness and nutrition goals.

As mentioned in yesterday’s post on chicken breast, salmon is packed full of protein, with an even higher dose of the muscle building essential amino acid, leucine, when compared to chicken breasts.

It’s also high in the amino acid tryptophan, which helps produce serotonin.

Serotonin is known as the happy brain chemical.

Wild salmon is also well known for being an excellent source of brain and heart healthy omega-3s fats as it’s very high in the readily available EPA and DHA.

Omega-3s are great for cardiovascular health as it can help lower the bad LDL cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and reduce inflammation in the body.

These essential fats also help speed up recovery from your workouts and fills you up, therefore keeping you satiated for longer periods of time.

Omega-3s are called essential fats, because the body can’t produce them on their own, thus you must get them from food or supplements.

Since many people do not consume enough omega-3s, I often recommend supplementing with omega-3 fish oil.

Wild salmon is an excellent fat loss food as it’s:

Salmon is also packed full of highly absorbable minerals such as vitamin B12, vitamin D, iron, iodine, choline, selenium, and zinc.

What about the mercury in fish?

Yes, consuming fish has received a lot of negative press due to the associated higher mercury exposure in fish.

This is due to our rivers, lakes, and oceans being polluted, which can then be absorbed by the fish at the top of the food chain.

However, not all fish are exposed at the same risk level.

For example, mercury exposure is at a higher risk in larger fish:

  • orange roughy
  • swordfish
  • shark
  • mackerel
  • tuna
  • marlin
  • tilefish

Wild Salmon vs. Farmed Salmon

Wild Salmon on the other hand has a lower risk of mercury exposure.

And yes, I’m referring to “wild” salmon, not farmed salmon.

Similar to conventional beef, chicken, and eggs, farmed salmon are not raised in the best conditions, nor fed the healthiest feed.

In certain countries, farmed salmon has been found to be very polluted as they can be crammed into small areas, fed antibiotics, and unnatural grains.

This unnatural farmed salmon diet lowers the healthy omega-3 to omega-6 ratio that wild salmon is known for.

And if you’ve ever did a side-by-side comparison of wild salmon to farmed salmon, you’d notice a difference in color.

Salmon get their natural red color from the antioxidant, astaxanthin, which is known as being one of the most powerful antioxidants on earth.

Wild salmon is high in this because it is found in the food that salmon naturally eat, krill.

Since most farmed salmon are fed unnatural grains, they do not get this antioxidant, thus need to be pumped full of food coloring.

Compared to farmed salmon, wild salmon contains more antioxidants, no antibiotics, and has a better ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats.

If you only have access to farmed salmon, read the label.

It’s important to be aware of which country the salmon is coming from.

Just like with organic, free range, pasture raised meats and eggs, you should also invest in higher quality wild salmon.

Not all food is created equal, even when it comes to organic vegetables versus pesticide sprayed conventional vegetables.

Food quality matters.

Always opt for the healthiest form of wild salmon:

Yes, canned salmon has been tested to be very low in mercury.

This makes it a very affordable option compared to buying fresh salmon.

Bottom Line

Yes there is a slight risk of consuming a very small amount of mercury.

However, in my opinion, it does not outweigh all the health benefits of eating wild salmon.

Once again, salmon is loaded with brain healthy nutrients and omega-3s that are typically not found in such high doses in other foods.

In most cases, by skipping out on the nutrients found in salmon, you may putting yourself at even more risk.

I’m all for consuming 2-3 servings of wild salmon a week.

And of course it goes without saying, deep fried, fast food salmon does not count.

Come back tomorrow for fitness superfood #9.

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