Smoked Salmon for Health

Smoked salmon is a nutritious source of protein and other nutrients. According to Pamela D. Tom and Paul G. Olin of the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) salmon is the second most consumed fish in the U.S., and it’s one of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acid offers several cardiovascular benefits, including lowering your risk of heart disease and improving your cholesterol levels. The most widely-available types of salmon in the U.S. include Atlantic and wild Pacific salmon varieties. Salmon can be prepared by hot or cold smoking the fish.

Salmon Nutritional Facts

A single 3.5-oz. serving of Atlantic salmon contains a total of about 206 calories, according to the GAA. The same size serving also contains 22.1 g of protein, 2.5 g of saturated fat, 63 mg of cholesterol and 2.1 g of omega-3 fatty acids. The smoking process also adds additional calories in the form of sugar/salt, which varies depending upon the brine mixture you use and how much is absorbed. Smoked salmon is low in saturated fats and high in protein and omega-3 fatty acid, which makes it a healthy food when consumed in moderation. All types of salmon are considered complete sources of protein because it contains all 20 amino acids your body needs, including leucine, lysine and glutamic acid.

Misconceptions

The process of smoking salmon does not make salmon unhealthy. However, it should be eaten in moderation, according to Jane Clarke of the UK’s Daily Mail. She points out that smoked salmon contains about 4.7 g of salt per 100 g of fish compared to 0.1 g of salt in fresh salmon. This increased amount of sodium can lead to high blood pressure over time, but Ms. Clarke is quick to point out that you’d have to eat as much as four meals per week containing smoked salmon before you would need to start getting concerned.

Health Benefits of Salmon

Smoked salmon offers many health benefits, although there’s no major difference between grilled, baked or smoked salmon other than the cooking process. Smoked salmon retains all the nutritional benefits of fresh salmon, including the omega-3 fatty acid content. The American Heart Association (AHA) states that people consuming 3 g of omega-3 fatty acids per day have a lower risk of developing heart disease and hypertension. The GAA also mentions links between improved brain, eye and skin health in those who eat salmon and other fish.

Special Considerations

The AHA suggests that children and pregnant women eat no more than two servings of salmon per week due to its minute mercury content. The GAA states that salmon contains 0.03 to 0.10 parts per million when it comes to mercury, which is far below the government standard of 1.0 ppm. Middle-aged men and postmenopausal women can especially benefit from eating salmon. The essential fatty acid, vitamins and protein contained in smoked salmon can improve the cardiovascular health of these individuals.

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