Seafood such as salmon, tuna, and shrimp is known for its health benefits. It’s a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and high-quality proteins. It also contains many important minerals including zinc, iodine, and phosphorous.
Eating fish regularly helps lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of cardiac diseases. Among them, salmon contains high quantities of omega-3 fatty acids which are responsible for maintaining a healthy heart and improving overall health. Salmon is also found to be beneficial for proper cognitive functioning.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the major health reasons why salmon is one of the best foods and how its regular consumption can lead to better overall health.
Reason #1: It Contains Astaxanthin
Most seafood, especially salmon, is rich in antioxidants which are substances that help prevent or slow down damage to cells caused by free radicals. Salmon contains a wide variety of antioxidants including astaxanthin which, according to Healthcare Weekly, is best known for its healthy effects on the body. More specifically:
- Astaxanthin is considered a chemopreventive substance due to its antioxidant properties. It has also shown anti-aging and moisturizing properties.
- Some studies have shown astaxanthin to help prevent the buildup of plaque in the arteries (atherosclerosis). It acts as an inflammatory agent and improves the breakdown of fat and glucose in the arteries.
- Astaxanthin helps protect skin cells from UV radiations and makes your skin healthier overall.
Salmon obtains astaxanthin in its natural diet by consuming algae.
Reason #2: It Improves Overall Heart Health
Salmon has many benefits on improving overall health including that of the heart.
Seafood such as salmon, oysters, and mackerel are very high in omega-3 fatty acids including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosatetraenoic acid (EPA). According to Simon Stertzer, a world-leading cardiology expert, Omega-3 is known for therapeutic effects on heart health as it:
- Helps prevent irregular heartbeat.
- Decreases blood fat.
- Reduces blood clotting.
- Decreases inflammation.
- Regulates the heart rhythm.
Omega-3 is known to have positive effects on several risk factors concerning the heart. Heart palpitations are considered to be one of the major causes of sudden death in patients with healthy hearts. Research has shown that omega-3 can help prevent palpitations in such patients. It also helps reduce the risk of sudden death from heart attacks.
Reason #3: It Improves Your Cholesterol Profile
Salmon diet is known to have a lot of benefits on heart health. These positive effects are mostly due to the impact it has on blood fat and your overall cholesterol profile.
Incorporating seafood rich in fish fats, particularly in tuna and salmon, will result in better heart health because:
- Omega-3 found in salmon that’s rich in DHA and EPA decreases blood fat levels (triglycerides) and increases high-density lipoproteins (HDL). This results in improved heart health. In addition to this, it lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- Diet rich in omega-3 helps reduce very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) – a protein responsible for promoting the formation of fatty deposits in the arterial walls. Studies have shown that omega-3 helps remove VLDL deposits in the arteries.
These days omega-6 has replaced omega-3 fatty acids in the average person’s diet. As a consequence, many people are omega-3 deficient. Here are some of the ways you can promote omega-3 in your daily diet:
- Consume fatty fish like tuna and salmon twice or thrice during a week.
- Eliminate omega-6 vegetable oils from your diet including corn oil, safflower oil, and soybean oil.
Reason #4: It Inhibits Inflammation
Inflammation is the body’s response to stress, injury, or infection. It appears in the form of reddening or swelling often with hot and painful symptoms. Another cause of inflammation can be the body’s reaction to a potentially harmful substance. But in some cases, chronic illnesses can also trigger extreme and prolonged inflammation which acts as a signal from the body’s immune system.
Making fatty fish, like salmon, a regular part of your diet can strengthen your body against inflammatory effects. As mentioned above, the anti-inflammatory properties of salmon are due to its richness in omega-3 fatty acids.
- Research has shown that DHA and EPA fatty acids inhibit the body’s inflammatory responses and mechanisms.
- The anti-inflammatory properties of salmon help reduce the risk and extent of inflammatory diseases. These include rheumatoid arthritis, eczema, asthma, Alzheimer’s disease, type-2 diabetes, and heart disease.
- Regular consumption of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids produce anti-inflammatory agents in the body called resolvins. These are molecules that help clear activated inflammatory cells which allow inflamed tissues to return back to homeostasis.
Reason #5: It Boosts Brain Health
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (an omega-3 fatty acid most commonly found in fatty fish like salmon) is known to have positive health effects on the brain. In fact, a normal level of DHA is vital for the proper functioning of the brain while higher levels of this compound ensure improved cognitive health.
The elderly population of Japan is known to be frequent consumers of salmon and their strong cognitive functioning has been closely linked to this diet. Researchers consider DHA to be a cause for differences in cognitive functioning in the Western countries and Japan. Studies have also shown that the elderly population in England have half the circulating levels of DHA compared to the Japanese. More importantly, there has been some research that shows a strong connection between low levels of DHA and a decline in cognitive functioning over a period of ten years.
Eating two to three portions of salmon a week will help increase DHA levels which will prevent cognitive decline including Parkinson’s disease, vascular dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Reason #6: It Stabilizes Arterial Plaque
Omega-3 fatty acids exhibit positive health benefits for patients with heart problems.
Arteries carry oxygenated blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Atherosclerosis is a disease caused by deposits of plaque formation in the arteries. This plaque is composed of cholesterol, fat, calcium, and other substances present in the blood. With time, this plaque toughens and restricts the flow of blood.
This plaque formation can lead to ruptures which can be catastrophic – often times resulting in a heart attack. By incorporating oily fish food that’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, you can reduce the risk of plaque rupturing. What’s more is that omega-3 fatty acids, including DHA and EPA, prevent cell tissue inflammation and decrease the extent of arterial plaque deposits.
Salmon is a natural source of many healthy substances like omega-3 fatty acids and astaxanthin. By incorporating salmon in your diet, you’ll be able to maintain a healthy heart condition as well as improve cognitive functions. Patients suffering from chronic inflammation and high cholesterol can also benefit from incorporating salmon in their diet on a regular basis.