Updated: Oct 20, 2021
Salmon gets a lot of credit for being a healthy high-protein food, and there is a good reason for it! Salmon is packed with many essential nutrients, and it is super versatile and can be used in almost any cuisine.
Nutrients in Salmon
Salmon is highly nutritious. It is particularly a good source of:
Protein is one of the 3 macronutrients (aka main building blocks of all foods), and is an essential nutrient for maintaining a healthy body. Everyone's individual protein needs are different, but a general recommendation is to have about 20-30 grams of protein per meal. a 3.5 ounce piece (slightly bigger than a deck of cards) of salmon provides 22-25 grams of protein
2. Omega-3 fatty acids
Salmon is one of the best dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Omega-3 fatty acids are also an "essential" nutrient. When something is an essential nutrient, that means our body cannot make these compounds itself, so we must get them through the food we eat.
Omega-3 fatty acids offer their one health benefits. Research shows that consistently intake of adequate EPA and DHA can help promote healthy blood vessels, which keeps your heart healthy!
Eating a cold water fish such as salmon at least twice a week can help you meet your omega-3 fatty acid needs.
3. Several B-vitamins
Salmon is an excellent source of the following B-vitamins:
These B-vitamins have important jobs in our body and metabolism! They help our metabolism turn food into energy, and help create and repair DNA which is a necessary process to heal from injury, or inflammation.
Potassium's job is to act as an electrolyte in our body. Getting enough potassium helps keep your blood pressure in a healthy range and reduces your risk for heart attack, and stroke.
Selenium is a trace mineral, so you only need a teeny tiny amount of it. You do not need to supplement with high doses of selenium, getting it from food sources is adequate.
Studies have shown that getting enough selenium (again, you only need a little) can protect bone health and support healthy thyroid function.
Wild vs. Farmed
The debate between wild vs. farmed salmon is a complicated one, and that might be because there is no true winner, because each has pros and cons.
A leaner fish while still providing a good dose of omega-3 fatty acids
Can be drier once cooked and therefore less flavor
More accessible and affordable
More eco-friendly to eat because shopping for farmed salmon takes the pressure off harvesting wild salmon from their environments, and can prevent over fishing
Higher in fat compared to wild salmon, but farmed salmon contains nearly the same amount of omega-3 fatty acids
It ultimately comes down to which reasons you think are most important to you! I would recommend prioritizing getting salmon in at least twice per week, whether it's farm raised or wild caught.
Add salmon into your meal prep rotation with this recipe!
Salmon Rice Bowls
1 lb salmon fillet
⅔ cup teriyaki sauce
1 tbsp sesame seeds
2 persian cucumbers
1 cup red cabbage slaw
¼ red onion
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
¼ tsp salt
1 cup uncooked rice
Sriracha sauce (optional)
Marinate salmon in your favorite teriyaki sauce for at least 30 minutes, or overnight. Add 1 tbsp sesame seeds into the bag or bowl you are marinating in.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Bake your salmon on a baking sheet for 15-20 minutes. The internal temperature should be at least 145 F at the thickest part of your salmon
Either in a pot on the stove, or in an instant pot, add 1 cup of uncooked basmati rice, and 2 cups of water. If you are cooking in an instant pot, hit the “rice” button. If you are cooking on the stove top, bring the water to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally
While the salmon bakes and the rice cooks, slice your persian cucumbers into coins, and slice the red onion
Set the sliced vegetables into a bowl, and pour the rice wine vinegar and ¼ tsp salt over top of the vegetables. Let this sit while the rest of your meal continues to cook
When the salmon and rice are ready, build your bowl by serving the rice first, then add ½ cup of red cabbage slaw, then add your cucumbers and onion, and place your salmon on top
Add avocado and sriracha (optional) for additional toppings