Salmon has become a staple item in my now healthy clean eating diet. Besides the taste, why do I love salmon?
Salmon is very good for you!
I highly prefer wild-caught sockeye salmon from Alaska. Wild-caught salmon is so much healthier than farm-raised! Basically, the nutrient levels are better, less risk of contaminants (especially mercury), it doesn’t contain antibiotics, and in my opinion–tastes so much better!
Here are 11 impressive health benefits of salmon (Click the link to learn more of each)
- Rich in omega-3 fatty acids
- Great source of protein
- High in B vitamins
- Wild Salmon is high in Vitamin D3. (That page doesn’t say it, and the USDA doesn’t list it in their nutrition info, but check out this study. The farmed salmon contained only 25% of the D3 that wild salmon did!)
- Good source of potassium
- Loaded with selenium
- It contains the antioxidant astaxanthin
- It may help in weight control
- May help reduce heart disease (I firmly believe this is true and has been a key item in my heart recovery.)
- Help fight inflammation
- May protect brain health
- Delicious and versatile (Delicious may be subjective, but great quality & fresh is if you like seafood!)
Farm-raised salmon is what you find in most grocery stores and restaurants. I’ll eat farm-raised if I’m at a restaurant as it is still much better for you than a lot of other fish and meat.
Fresh for frozen?
Many people think “fresh is better” and I agree to a point. Unfortunately, they correlate “not frozen” as fresh, and that frozen is less quality than not frozen, and I highly disagree. Most of the frozen seafood that is purchased has been frozen just a short time after being caught and processed.
That “fresh” and not frozen salmon displayed in the grocery store’s cooler can be several days old AND even dyed (the farmed salmon’s feed is dyed) to make it look better! Remember that antioxidant astaxanthin? That gives salmon its red color, and farm-raised has much less than wild-caught. Here is a good article discussing that.
Freezing will also KILL any parasites (worms) present in seafood. I purchase several pounds of fresh wild-caught sockeye from Riverfront Seafood Company’s Fresh Seafood Market that is open to the public. I’ll cut it into 5-ounce portions, vacuum seal each piece, and then freeze for later. Even after a few months, it tastes just as fresh upon thawing as if I cooked it immediately when I got it. By the way, you should ALWAYS thaw seafood that has been vacuum-sealed by cutting a slit in the plastic before placing it in the refrigerator so that the anaerobic bacteria will not multiply and potentially get you sick!
Salmon shouldn’t taste “fishy.”
Many people tell me that they don’t like the “fishy taste” of salmon. I’m here to tell you that fresh salmon should not have a strong “fishy” taste. In fact, good fish shouldn’t taste “fishy,” and if it does, then there’s a good chance it is much older than you may think and is definitely not fresh. I was told by one of my chefs in culinary school that fresh salmon should smell like a melon. until I visited Inland Seafood in Atlanta, GA, many years ago, I NEVER experienced that during my days as a Chef. I was there the moment they got some fresh salmon in, and yes, it actually smelled like melon! That is the only time I ever experienced that.
There are so many ways to prepare salmon! I always cook it with the skin on. That ensures that much of those good omega-3 fatty acids aren’t getting lost in the cooking process! You can also eat the skin, and as gross as it may sound, it really isn’t. Now that does taste a little “fishy,” but it is like an acquired taste and is pretty good!
I’ll grill a week’s worth about 50% done, let them cool, place in zip-lock baggies, and place them in the refrigerator. When I’m ready to eat it, I’ll microwave it for 40 seconds if I’m in a hurry or if I have time, I’ll heat it in a sauté pan on the stove.
Wild-caught is more expensive.
Wild-caught salmon IS more expensive than farm-raised and may be out of reach for some budgets. As mentioned earlier, I purchase mine in bulk when in season and freeze it to use throughout the year. It is still less expensive than buying in the store. Farm-raised salmon IS still good for you and should not be avoided if that is all that is available to you. Some experts recommend that children and pregnant women only eat wild-caught salmon to be on the safe side.
People ask me for recipes. I don’t have recipes. I’ll find some on the net and add my own little flair to them. Usually, it is substituting or even adding other healthier ingredients such as Bragg’s Liquid Aminos instead of the typical Soy Sauce, which is extremely high in sodium. Even when using the Bragg’s, I’ll cut it with water to make it less salty (unless I had a hot and sweaty run and NEED sodium!) I mainly just grill it and use some Mrs. Dash Steak or Chicken seasoning.
Here are some notable recipes to try if you don’t like just seasoned and grilled salmon (I like honey, and I love garlic!)
- Honey Garlic Salmon
- I leave out the olive oil because I believe in NOT consuming oils unless absolutely necessary because oils damage the endothelial cells.
- Ginger Garlic Baked Salmon
- I didn’t use the sesame oil, but I did use a tbsp of tahini which is sesame seed paste.
- Honey Mustard Salmon
- 45 more ways to make salmon
- Use those as ideas an remember to not use added sugar, limit oils, and substitute healthier ingredients when you can. 🙂
How do you like your salmon?