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The Latest News About Salmon

With exceptional nutritional value due to their rich concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is a favorite among fish lovers and enjoyed even by those who are not always fond of fish. Salmon are incredible fish sometimes traveling thousands of miles throughout their life cycle and within two to five years returning to the very location where they were born to spawn and die. The specific characteristics and life cycles of salmon vary with each species. (For example, king salmon has a life cycle of approximately 4-6 years, sockeye, 4-6 years, and silver 3-4 years.)

A good portion of salmon can be classified either as Pacific (Oncorhynchus genus) or Atlantic (Salmo genus) salmon, according to the ocean in which they are found. There is just one native species of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), while there are many species of Pacific salmon including chinook (or king), sockeye (or red), coho (or silver), pink, and chum. Norwegian salmon, a popular type of salmon often offered on restaurant menus, is actually Atlantic salmon that is farm-raised in Norway. The flesh of salmon ranges in color from pink to red to orange with some varieties richer in important omega-3 fatty acids than others. For example, chinook and sockeye are fattier fish than pink and chum and contain great amounts of healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

The native habitats of Atlantic and Pacific salmon as described above no longer characterize most of salmon consumed in the United States or in many other countries. Because farmed salmon now accounts for about 80% of all salmon consumed worldwide, it is becoming harder and harder to find wild-caught salmon that live in their native habitat.

What's New and Beneficial About Salmon

WHFoods Recommendations

The best ways to cook salmon is by using methods that will keep it moist and tender. Salmon can be easily overcooked and become dry, so be sure to watch your cooking times.

One of our favorite ways to prepare salmon is using our "Quick Broil" method. Preheat the broiler on high and place an all stainless steel skillet (be sure the handle is also stainless steel) or cast iron pan under the heat for about 10 minutes to get it very hot. Place salmon on hot pan and broil for 7-10 minutes, depending on thickness. You do not need to turn the salmon. (See our Quick Broiled Salmon with Ginger Mint Salsa recipe for details on how to prepare "Quick Broiled" salmon.) While grilled salmon tastes great, make sure it does not burn. It is best to grill salmon on an area without a direct flame. Extra care should be taken when grilling, as burning can damage nutrients and create free radicals that can be harmful to your health. For more see Are there health risks with char-broiling and gas grilling foods?

Health Benefits

Salmon provides numerous potential health benefits including:

For more details on salmon's health benefits, see this section of our salmon write-up.

Nutritional Profile

The unique protein and amino acid composition of salmon is often overlooked in its nutritional profile. Salmon contains short protein molecules called peptides that have been shown to be bioactive and may have important anti-inflammatory properties. Salmon also provides important amounts of the antioxidant amino acid taurine. Salmon is an excellent source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D as well as immune-supportive selenium. It is also a very good source of muscle-building protein and heart-healthy niacin and vitamin B12. Additionally, it is a good source of energy-producing phosphorus as well as heart-healthy magnesium and vitamin B6.

For more on this nutrient-rich food, including references related to this Latest News, see our write-up on salmon.