You have probably heard of the health benefits that salmon brings. It’s a high-quality source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins, which help the human body function healthily. But, should you eat wild or farmed salmon?
People all over the world eat salmon in different ways, roasted, baked, smoked, and even raw. This is acceptable as long as you buy the right type. The taste, the nutritional content and the amount of fat in the salmon depend on its origin. If you love to eat fish a lot, then you should carefully choose where you buy it and what you buy.
The color is a good indicator that can show you whether you’re buying good salmon or not. For example, wild salmon has an intense red color, while the farmed salmon is pale, as if it was sick.
The bright red molecule, called astaxanthin, is found in krill, plankton, and algae, and gives wild salmon its natural reddish color. This is an extremely beneficial molecule for the human health. It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, stimulates blood flow, and improves the production of mitochondrial energy.
Wild salmon find many of these molecules in the food they eat. On the contrary, farmed salmon eat cheap food that does not have astaxanthin. Therefore, many salmon farmers add a synthetic version of this ingredient, which is made of coal. Also, there’s the risk that this food may be contaminated by mercury and dioxin. Some farmers even try to replace the food with corn and soy protein, which salmon cannot process, and the quality of the meat reduces.
Health Risks Of Farmed Salmon
Farmed salmon has more calories than wild salmon, and about 20 percent more saturated fat. You neither want nor need these extra calories and fat in your diet.
Farmed fish has 10 times more POP (persistent organic pollutants) in their content than wild fish. POP are dangerous pollutants that have been linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and stroke in women.
Studies show that salmon could contain cancer-causing agents due to the polluted water in which they live in. Thus, it’s not recommendable to get omega-3 fatty acids only from fish. To reduce the risk of cancer, your sources need to be comprised of several food types.
Due to the higher levels of unsafe contaminants in farmed salmon, health experts recommend the consumption of wild salmon. Especially to pregnant and nursing women, and children.
It’s argued that farmed salmon is exposed to higher amounts of antibiotics than allowed. Thus, we would recommend you to always buy salmon from a reliable source.
Both, wild and farmed salmon have nutritional content that we need. But, it’s clear that wild salmon is much safer for consumption.
Top 3 Types Of Wild Salmon
As its name suggests, the meat of this type of salmon has robust red color. It has an almost exclusive diet of plankton, and therefore, contains a lot of astaxanthin, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin D. Because of the unusual feeding, it’s almost impossible to farm this fish. Thus, the ones you buy are most probably wild. Red salmon has a very strong flavor, so it’s very good smoked.
Chinook salmon has almost double omega-3 fatty acids than any other type of salmon. It lives in deep and cold water, and the omega-3 stays in a liquid state in its system, to regulate its temperature. This fish is also knows as king salmon and it’s quite versatile from a culinary point of view. However, grilled or smoked are the most popular choices.
Also known as silver salmon, Coho is the third in fat content and has plenty of vitamin D. Professional cooks prefer it boiled, to preserve the moist, or use it to make sushi.
Wild salmon is worth the money. There are many options to cook it, so you can get all the nutritional benefits it offers.