"It’s really the perfect fish" – New York Times article praises health benefits of salmon

Salmon on ice.

The New York Times has confirmed all species of salmon contain valuable health benefits and that it is unnecessary for consumers to agonize over species selection when purchasing the fish, despite varied perceptions regarding the nutritional differences between wild-caught and farmed salmon.

The article, published in the newspaper’s 8 January edition, quoted researchers expounding on the health benefits that all species of salmon contain, highlighting that all types of salmon have lower environmental footprints compared to most other animal-based sources of protein.

“The focus is usually on omega-3s, but it’s the whole package that makes salmon so healthy,” University of Stirling Institute of Aquaculture Lecturer Matthew Sprague said.

Specifically, salmon contains more DHA and EPA omega-3s than nearly any other food – aside from fatty fish like herring and sardines, according to the article. Additional studies have linked omega-3 consumption from seafood to reduced risk of stroke, heart disease, and arterial stiffness that stems from high blood pressue.

“Fish is one of the few animal foods consistently linked to health benefits, and salmon is at the top of my list when I recommend fish to people,” Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist and the director of Tufts University's Food is Medicine Institute, said. “Assuming you like the flavor … it’s really the perfect fish."

Studies, including work done by Dalhousie University Research Chair and Associate Professor Stefanie Colombo, has found that there is not a major difference between wild-caught and farmed salmon in regard to the fish's health benefits, yet many consumers deliberate carefully when choosing their fish. Colombo's research has found the two most commonly sold species of salmon – wild sockeye and wild king salmon – were, on average, the most nutrient-dense, but Atlantic salmon has only slightly lower omega-3 levels, proteins, and healthy nutrients. 

“All the salmon we looked at was very nutritious,” Colombo said. 

As for consumers concerned about the ecological impact of their food choices, Colombo recommended seeking fish with eco-label certifications from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP).

“If the salmon is certified, that should give you more confidence it has been sustainably and ethically sourced,” Colombo said.

Photo courtesy of Jukov Studio/Shutterstock


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