Salmon is one of those foods that’s on every superfood list. High in those omega-3s and protein- and nutrient-rich, we know it’s good for us. But do we know how it’s good for us exactly? Most likely not. So, for this special Superfoods Week we’re sharing some super interesting health facts about salmon from the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.
7 Health Benefits of Salmon
1. Cardiovascular. There is plenty of evidence showing that consuming fatty fish at least twice a week could reduce the chances of dying from heart disease. In fact …
- Getting enough omega-3 fatty acids lowers the likelihood of heart disease mortality by as much as 36 percent
- Seafood omega-3s improve the heart’s electrical function, reducing the chance of sudden death from uncontrolled rapid heart rhythms
- There is strong evidence that omega-3s lower blood pressure
- They also reduce inflammation, including inflammatory substances in the heart’s arteries
- Omega-3s lessen the risk of stroke, second heart attack and non-fatal heart events
- Omega-3 fatty acids, combined with two blood-thinning drugs, significantly changed the blood-clotting process and may reduce the risk of heart attacks in patients with stents
2. Brain function. There’s a reason fish is known as brain food: omega-3s from seafood have been linked with a number of different brain and cognition benefits, along with sharper brain function, including:
- Neurotransmission (communication between brain cells)
- Protection of neurons from injury and disease
- Rapid response to hormones and regulatory substances
- Improved brain cell repair and regeneration
- Eating foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids may be associated with lower blood levels of a protein related to Alzheimer’s disease and memory problems
- Seafood omega-3s may also lower the risk of developing dementia and possibly Parkinson’s disease
- Omega-3s may help in treating patients with depression
3. Immunity. Omega-3 fatty acids like DHA (docosahexaeonic acid), which occur mostly in fatty fish like salmon, are thought to strengthen the immune system.
- Increased omega-3 consumption may ease the symptoms of such inflammatory conditions as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and certain allergies and digestive disorders
- Omega-3s may help reduce the risk of colon cancer, breast cancer and advanced prostate cancer
- Omega-3 fatty acids may help to reduce the physical harm caused by smoking
4. Eyesight. Omega-3s are vital for healthy visual and retinal function, from infancy through advanced age.
- The long-chain fatty acid DHA is important for visual development in developing fetuses and infants
- Eating fish and other foods high in omega-3 fatty acids is associated with reduced risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and with slowing or preventing the development of advanced AMD
- Omega-3s may also help with cataracts, dry eye, glaucoma and other visual disorders
5. Healthy pregnancy and infancy. Most maternal diets are low in the crucial omega-3 fatty acid DHA, so it’s particularly important that pregnant women eat more fish, for both their own health and their baby’s.
- In the last three months of pregnancy, the baby takes large quantities of DHA from its mother
- Women who eat fish while they are pregnant and nursing help ensure that their babies will have enough DHA for proper brain and eye development
- Mothers who eat fish while they are breastfeeding have more DHA than mothers who do not eat fish
- After pregnancy, increased DHA consumption can lessen the symptoms of postpartum depression
6. Type 2 diabetes. Consuming seafood omega-3s may reduce the chances of developing diabetes and the metabolic syndrome that precedes it.
- Evidence suggests that higher consumption of the omega-3s found in fatty fish may have a positive effect on glucose and insulin metabolism
- There is also emerging evidence that diets rich in seafood omega-3s may reduce fat tissue, where too much body fat (obesity) is the leading cause of Type 2 diabetes
- Seafood omega-3s several heart disease risks in people with diabetes and those at high risk of it
7. Longevity. New evidence suggests that eating fatty fish may actually help you live longer.
- Older adults who have higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids may be able to lower their overall mortality risk by as much as 27 percent and their mortality risk from heart disease by about 35 percent, according to a new study. Researchers found that older adults who had the highest blood levels of the fatty acids found in fish lived, on average, 2.2 years longer than those with lower levels
It all boils down to this: Eat more fatty fish, and enjoy better health. Not sure what to buy? Check out this guide as to what salmon is fresh and in season now! —Jenn