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One Of The Healthiest Foods You Can Eat

Wild Alaskan Salmon is hands down one of the best foods you can eat. It is naturally rich in Omega 3, which aids memory, helps lower blood pressure, elevate mood, improve the skin’s appearance and boost the immune system. As if that wasn’t enough reason to run out and buy some right now, it’s also an excellent source of protein!

Astaxanthin – Super Antioxidant
Wild salmon offers many health benefits, but there is one key benefit that sets it apart from other cold water fish, and many other foods for that matter, and that is astaxanthin.

Astaxanthin (ah-sta-zan-thin) is a powerful multi-functional antioxidant which is responsible for wild salmon’s deep red coloured flesh. Astaxanthin has 100-500 times the antioxidant capacity of Vitamin E, and is 10 times more powerful than beta carotene, but does not convert to Vitamin A within the body. Wild salmon obtain their supply of astaxanthin from their diet, particularly krill, a small shrimp-like crustacean.

Astaxanthin has the ability to penetrate different portions of the cell, so when we consume it, it goes to work thorough out the body:

  • boosting our immune system
  • protecting our cells – on the inside and outside
  • protecting the eyes and reducing eye fatigue
  • gives the skin a youthful glow and helps reduce the appearance of fine lines
  • and may improve insulin sensitivity

Astaxanthin And Exercise

In humans astaxanthin is said to improve muscle endurance and recovery time after vigorous or intense exercise. This makes sense as astaxanthin is credited with providing wild salmon with the strength and endurance required to swim upstream to reproduce.

Wild, Farmed Or Organic?

When buying salmon, or any fish for that matter, it can be confusing. It is important to note that wild and farmed salmon are not the same thing.

Farmed

Farmed salmon lacks the level of omega 3’s found naturally in wild salmon and does not contain astaxanthin, leaving their flesh grey in colour. To make the salmon look normal, they are feed dyes. Suppliers of farmed salmon actually supply a colour chart to stockists to choose which shade of red they like, just like picking paint for your house. Tasty.

Salmon colour chart

If that wasn’t enough to put you off, farmed fish are prone to disease, and antibiotics are routinely added to their feed, what’s worse is that an estimated 3o% of this feed is said to be uneaten and falls through the nets and into sea’s food chain! Theses farms also damage the surrounding habitats as waste flows from the farms directly into the surrounding water. I don’t think these people set out to cause damage, and most likely believe they are providing a positive service, but when you try to mass produce something it is unnatural and will cause problems.

Farmed salmon

Organic

Organic salmon is better than non-organic, but is nowhere near as good for you as wild salmon. What I don’t like about organic salmon is the way it is marketed. The customer is lead to believe that organic vs farmed salmon is the same as organic vs farmed beef, chicken, pork, lamb etc., but this just isn’t the case. Organic salmon is still farmed. You can’t let salmon roam free in the sea and round them up each night in your “sea barn”. The difference between farmed salmon labeled “organic” or farmed salmon labelled “farmed’ is that the organic salmon is fed organic feed and no synthetic food dyes are permitted, giving them a much paler colour than wild or non-organic farmed salmon. So organic is a better choice than salmon labelled “farmed”, but it’s still farmed. Like I said, confusing.

Wild

Wild salmon spends it’s entire life in the wild. It lives on it’s natural diet and is free to follow it’s natural life cycle of hatching in fresh water, migrating to the sea, returning to fresh water, swimming upstream to spawn and then die. Of course the wild salmon we eat don’t get to fully complete their journey, but that is part of life in the wild….

"Watch out! He's full of astaxanthin!"

Wild Alaskan salmon comes from much less polluted waters and is therefore a much healthier choice.

Supplementation

While I like to get most of my nutrition from whole, unprocessed foods, I will take vitamins to supplement my diet. I have done a fair bit of research on astaxanthin and from what I can tell there seems to be some research supporting the idea that taking it as a supplement may beneficial, particularly if you are not eating salmon. Personally I love wild salmon and eat it a couple of times a week but I don’t eat it just for the astaxanthin content. I have taken an astaxanthin supplement an did find it good, but either way, I suggest you eat wild salmon.

Wild Salmon Is More Expensive Than Farmed But There Is A Way Around This

So far, here in Ireland the only place I have been able to find wild Alaskan red salmon is Marks & Spencer’s, it ain’t cheap, but even if you only have once a week, it’s better than none.

Wild salmon can be expensive, but you can still get the benefits if on a budget (and who isn’t :) ) by getting yourself some canned wild alaskan salmon. Canned fish isn’t quite as good as fresh fish, but it’s still way better than farmed. You can get canned wild Alaskan red salmon either with or without the skin and bones, and while the bones are an excellent of calcium, I just don’t like it, so I go for the skinless and boneless variety, but it’s up to you.

So far Tesco are the cheapest place for canned wild Alaskan red salmon, skinless and boneless. You can get a 200gm can for less than €2.50, and you should get two portions out of that, now that’s value!

A Healthy Salmon Recipe On A Budget

Truth be told, canned wild salmon doesn’t taste as good as freshly cooked, so I mix it with other ingredients. The following recipe is the one I use. I have made this so many times, for so many people I could make it in my sleep! Yet I never get tired of it.

Salmon Salad

Prep. Time 10 minutes  Serves 2

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 – 1 1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

1 can wild Alaskan red salmon (skinless and boneless)

This is the base, you can leave it at that or add any of the following:

1 spring onion, chopped

1/4 avocado, cubed

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

olives, halved

dill, dried

oregano, dried

  1. Mix the olive oil, lemon juice and black pepper in a bowl with a fork.
  2. Then add the rest of the ingredients, and mix.
  3. Serve with any leafy greens of choice (spinach, cos, romaine).

Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think. If you come up with any variations let me know I’m always adding in or taking ingredients out of this.


3 Responses to "One Of The Healthiest Foods You Can Eat"

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