Why wild? When it comes to salmon it is important to chose “wild Alaskan salmon” and not the “farmed salmon” to derive the health benefits. Wild and farmed salmon are very different. Think about how both “Waffle House” and “The Capital Grill” can both be called restaurants. They are both restaurants, but very different.
Wild Alaskan Salmon is one of the healthiest foods you can eat because it is full of heart healthy fat. I’m sure you’ve heard of Omega-3 fatty acids and know that salmon is chock-full of this healthy fat, but do you know why Omega-3’s are so good for you? I didn’t either until I read more about this group of three fatty acids and found that omega-3’s are not only good for the heart, but also the brain, inflammation, circulation, memory, thought and blood sugar control. Salmon is one of the best sources of omega-3s on the planet. Salmon is also packed full of protein, providing more than 18 grams in a small 3-ounce portion. It has more than half the daily value of selenium, a cancer-fighting mineral, vitamin B12 and niacin.
But there is a “catch” (pun intended.) To reap the benefits of the bounty of omega-3 you must eat the wild Alaskan salmon. You’ve heard the mantra, “you are what you eat” and this applies vehemently in this instance because the salmon get their abundance of omega-3s from the food that they eat in the wild. Farm raised salmon eat mainly grain and therefore do not have the “wild” diet of salmon that results in the omega-3s.
The situation with farm-raised salmon is similar to that of non-organic chicken and beef, which I blogged about a while back. The salmon are crowded in a small roped off area, similar to the cooped of chickens in their pen, and they are packed in like sardines. Also, just like the non-organically raised chicken, disease spreads rapidly in these type of living conditions, so the salmon are pumped full of antibiotics. The farmers feed them grain, but salmon are naturally carnivores and eat mackerel, sardines, krill and other fish. So this diet of grain is not their natural diet and comes with serious consequences, including a whopping omega-6s (which is an inflammatory fat that we already get too much of in our diet.)
Want to hear something really gross?
You know the beautiful pink color that personifies salmon? Well, wild salmon get that gorgeous shade through their diet of shrimp and krill, while farm-raised salmon get that color from food dyes that the farmers pick from a color wheel called “SalmoFan.” Ewww. Gross!!
I seriously had no idea! I am definitely going to start paying more attention to labels and ONLY buy wild Alaskan Salmon from now on. I guess at restaurants I need to make sure the menu states that the salmon is wild and ask the waiter to double check!
The salmon I had this week was definitely “Wild Alaskan Salmon,” which I found at Trader Joes. My favorite way to prepare salmon is to marinate it in Trader Joes Soyaki Sauce and bake it in the oven. It is super simple and very quick to make.
My kids and husband do NOT like salmon, so I usually make it for lunch or on “free choice” nights. I tried to get the kids to try it again, but they just do not like the texture or flavor. I have to admit that it was an acquired taste for me as well because I used to hate salmon. I think I had a bad piece at a restaurant because it was mushy, but since then I’ve found I like it. I try to have salmon or another type of seafood at least once a week. How about you? Do you like salmon? How do you prepare it? Did you know that there was a difference between wild and farm-raised?