Health and your heart: the benefits of smoked salmon
There is no magic health pill, but if there was, it would
certainly list salmon as an ingredient. Studies have established
that a diet rich in fish, especially fatty fish (fish with
a high fat content) is crucial to the well-being and health
Don’t run away screaming when we say
the word ‘fat’, in this case, fat doesn’t
equal flab. That’s because we’re talking about
Omega-3 Fatty Acids, which are ‘healthy’ fat,
responsible for benefits such as:
lowering blood pressure
- lowering triglyceride (fat in the blood) levels
- reducing the risk of blood clots
Omega-3 acids are the building blocks of nerve tissue and brain cells, so
it is crucial to add them to our diet. Since salmon has a
high fat content, it stores more of these miracle fatty acids
in its flesh, therefore providing the most benefits to the
The Journal of the American Medical Association, the watch-dog
of America’s health, established back in 1995 that a
healthy diet should include at least one serving of a fatty-fish
per week, to reduce the risk of cardiac arrests and certain
cancers. This not only is important for individuals at risk,
but also those with a history of heart problems, since it
can reduce the risk of arrhythmias, or irregular heart beats,
according to Dr. David Siscovick, from the University of Seattle’s
Cardiovascular Health Research Unit. The American Heart Association’s
guidelines indicate that fish high in omega-3s, like salmon,
should be consumed at least twice a week (even more if you
have a history of heart disease or problems).
Role in weight-loss diets & more
Doctors, nutritionists, fitness gurus, and probably about
any person you know whose on a healthy weight-loss diet, literally
can’t stop singing the praises this peachy-pink treat.
Because smoked salmon is widely available at restaurants,
as well as social events (brunch, anyone?), this food is the
dieters’ dream. You can find smoked salmon appetizers
just about anywhere you eat out, so it makes a perfect ‘dining
out on a diet’ solution. You are no longer left with
a plateful of flavorless, crunchy broccoli. Today, most nutritionists
advise you to slap on the smoked salmon and enjoy flavor while
avoiding ‘dieters’ guilt’. This is perfect
for those following low-carb or carbohydrate limited diets
(such as Atkins), because it is full of proteins and healthy
fats, with no carbs.
Runner’s World, a premier fitness magazine, Nutrition
Editor Dr. Liz Applegate maintains that while salmon is high
in fat, it is unsaturated fat, which helps lower cholesterol.
In a world of expanding waistlines and contracting arteries,
this is good news. According to Leslie Beck, a registered
dietitian and author of Leslie Beck’s Nutrition Guide
for Women, a diet which includes foods high in omega-3 fatty
acids contributes to reducing inflammation and joint pain.
For those who are conscious of their health, and very active,
whether at work or recreational, including smoked salmon can
have many post-workout benefits (not to mention that it’s
Feeling a little blue? A little smoked salmon can help lift
your spirits, since researchers have found that omega-3s can
help stabilize mood. Scared about breast cancer? A study based
on Japanese women, whose diet if based on high consumption
of food, reported that they have a much lower incidence of
breast cancer than Western women. In the Greenland Eskimo
population, whose diet is mainly salmon-based, observations
have established a low incidence of coronary heart disease.
Although recent information appearing in the prestigious journal
Science has created huge controversy over certain risks associated
with pollutants in the water getting to salmon, these risks
have yet to be well established, and are largely based on
animal studies. Also, the main risk comes from farmed European
salmon. Unless you are at high risks of certain cancers, for
now, the benefits of salmon far outweigh the risks, especially
if you are at the high end of the heart disease spectrum.
Another thing to take into account is that the research was
based on acceptable levels of pollutant as set by the Environmental
Protection Agency, not the FDA, which actually regulates what
is safe for human consumption. The levels they consider acceptable
are very different, and under the FDA, the levels of pollutants
found on salmon are deemed perfectly safe for human consumption.
Pinneys of Scotland, of Anna, Dumfriesshire,holds the Royal
warrant to supply smoked salmon to the Queen of England…and
if it’s good enough for the Queen, it’s probably
good enough for us.
No one food is magical. Every food should be consumed in moderation
to be safe, but smoked salmon makes a great alternative to
grapefruit if you’re watching your diet, and your health.
To maximize the health benefits of smoked salmon, pair it
with low-fat cream cheese on a whole wheat bagel for a healthy
breakfast. Or slice it over a salad filled with greens, and
includes capers and chives to bring out flavor. Bottom line:
if you want to live a longer, healthier life, while slashing
your risk of heart disease and cancer, it’s a pretty
good idea to go for the smoked salmon.
Smoked Salmon Nutritional Information
This can vary according to the type of smoked salmon you are
consuming; different species have different fat contents,
and therefore will have more or less calories. Also the smoking
will affect the salt/sodium content. But the basic proteins
and minerals remain pretty much the same.
Based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Serving size: about 3 oz, (4 slices) cooked, about 85 grams
||Percentage daily value
||120 to 140
|Calories from fat (kcals)
|Total fat (g)
|Saturated fat (g)