Is Salmon Healthy to Eat?

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Eating salmon has many health benefits, but some people worry about mercury in the oceans or issues with fish farms, which could elevate the danger of eating salmon. The American Heart Association still recommends eating fish twice a week for its health benefits.

Mercury

  • While mackerel king, shark and swordfish are flagged as varieties that may contain high mercury by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, salmon is on the low mercury list. The FDA advises you to avoid the high mercury fish if you are pregnant or nursing, but says salmon is fine. You can check with your local wildlife agencies for warnings on local mercury levels in fish.

Color Added

  • Salmon farmers now label packages with "Color Added" when they add dye to the fish, giving it the same natural salmon color of wild fish. It's been found that this color does not affect the fish's health values, and you can choose to buy wild-caught salmon instead.

Farmed Fish

  • The color issue is one element that arises in farming salmon, which can raise other issues such as fish disease and antibiotics. This is an issue with any farmed meat, from beef to pork. The FDA must approve food sold in stores, so choosing between farmed fish and wild fish is ultimately a matter of personal opinion and not of public health. Most stores offer wild or farmed fish so you can choose which to buy.

Protein

  • Fish is a very lean meat, which is one reason why it is good for our health. It is high in protein, which is made of amino acids, something our bodies need to build cells.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

  • Pork and beef are usually much higher in fat than fish. Salmon also has fat, but offers oils that are good for us. Salmon is high in both eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, two kinds of omega-3 fatty acids. These lower cholesterol and improve cell performance.

References

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