Three types of fish contain the highest amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. A delicious omega-3 treat, salmon tops the list. Herring and tuna also contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Some types of trout are also very high in omega-3. However, tilapia and catfish have very low amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. What's more, catfish are loaded with toxins, since these fish subsist on waste.
The omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon benefit the body in many ways. They improve heart, brain and blood vessel health. In addition, they reduce inflammation and lubricate joints. The brain needs fat in order to thrive, and omega-3 fatty acids feed the brain. Eating salmon can help reduce LDL cholesterol while boosting HDL levels. Omega fats have a protective effect, making this fatty acid a must-have nutrient in your diet.
There are several different types of salmon, among them chinook, chum, kokanee, sockeye and coho.
If you tasted all the types of salmon, you would notice different textures and mild differences in taste.
All types of salmon contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. The main thing to keep in mind when eating a salmon is how it was raised and where the fish came from. Find out if your salmon was farm-raised or caught from the wild. Some farm-raised salmon have hormones or dyes added. All Alaskan salmon is wild caught, because salmon farming is illegal in Alaska. If you want to buy Alaskan salmon, look for the term "Wild Alaskan." Some sellers label their salmon Alaskan as a marketing gimmick. These fish were originally caught in Alaska but then moved to a farm in Washington state, Canada or another area to be bred and farmed. Typically, sockeye salmon is caught in Alaskan waters.
Atlantic salmon is sockeye caught near the Atlantic. However, just like Alaskan salmon, Atlantic can also be farmed. The fish are caught in the Atlantic and taken to another area for breeding. Look for "Wild Caught Atlantic." Or, if you want to avoid buying salmon laced with hormones, you can also go the health food store and ask for organic salmon. Some farms raise salmon without hormones or added dyes.
Chinook come from the Pacific Ocean. Chum are usually found in waters near Japan, Korea and other island areas. Kokanee are usually found in lakes, but sometimes they can also be found in the Pacific Ocean. Sockeye is found near Alaska, Japan, rivers in Siberia and other small island areas.
To get the most benefits from the omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, eat the fish two to three times per week. On the days you do not eat salmon, supplement your diet with salmon oil. Salmon oil can be found in most health food stores. You could also eat salmon every night, but you might get tired of that, so be sure to take supplements.
Some types of salmon are contaminated with mercury. Most stores test for this, so be sure to ask where your salmon comes from and if it has been tested for toxins. Mercury is a toxin which kills brain cells. Some salmon may have small traces of mercury that are considered safe; however, there are many polluted waters, so where you get your salmon matters. Wild-caught Alaskan and Atlantic salmon are generally safe. In addition, organic farm-raised salmon is usually safe as well.
- Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of woodley wonderworks
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