Are you a fan of salmon? This is one of the healthy fatty fish along with other options like tuna, mackerel, and herring. You might be wondering if wild caught salmon is a good option. In recent years wild-caught fish have been trending. However, one issue is whether or not it’s a healthier option versus farmed fish. This is related to issues like the fishes’ habitat and food. For example, wild-caught fish are free to swim around in a free environment and eat their natural food choices. However, a fish farm provides a more controlled environment where the fish can consume certain food choices to boost their growth, for example.
When picking fishes there are about 34,000 to pick from. One of the healthiest options is fatty fish like salmon. That’s because it’s high in omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats can provide several benefits like heart/brain health. In recent years health experts have focused on the importance of increasing healthy fats. This is a pivot away from recent decades when they recommended reducing total fat. It’s now recommended that people consume more fatty fish, avocados, nuts/seeds, and olive oil, etc. The key is to pick the healthiest choices like wild-caught versus farmed fish.
What Exactly Are Salmon?
This fish is from the fish family known as “Salmonidae.” The fish are popular among humans as food and are famous for their light pink bodies.
Salmon are related to the trout and look similar to them. They have spots on their upper bodies and soft lower bodies. Meanwhile, the mouth faces forward. However, salmon are different trout since they have 12+ rays on the back fins and usually have dark mouths.
Their life cycles are interesting. That’s because salmon reproduce/hatch in freshwater then after growing up transfer to the sea to live. Fun Fact: Folklore claims that salmon return to the same place every year for the purpose of spawning. Salmon and trout are often observed to watch for different environmental changes.
Conservationists take different steps to protect the salmons’ environment. That includes steps like-new living environments for them, fish farm monitoring, and water regulation. In some situations, farmed salmon might be a more practical option than wild-caught salmon based on the situation.
Salmon exist in both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Their heaviest weights are 100 pounds (45 kg) in the Atlantic Ocean. Meanwhile, Atlantic salmon are usually smaller.
Salmon swim up/down streams many times when they spawn. They then go back to the sea and repeat this entire process throughout their lifetimes. Humans have consumed this fish for hundreds of years. They’re also included in the myths of several Native Americans in the western USA.
Salmon are popular fish for consumption for various reasons. They have a mild flavor and are high in omega-3 fatty acids. However, popularity has resulted in some problems like over-fishing. In the US steps have been taken so salmon stocks have the best chance to recover.
This includes boosted control/regulation of fishing. Several stats and launched public campaigns so consumers are aware of salmon and the importance of only fishing legal species.
Health Benefits of Wild Caught Salmon
In recent years these fatty acids have been trending. Fatty fish like salmon is one of the best sources of these healthy fats. Farmed fish can produce omega-3 through pellets. However, the amount of omega-3s they produce is generally lower than wild-caught fish that consume their natural diet.
Since the wild-caught fish don’t consume fortified foods they’re not consuming foods that contain added antibiotics. Fish in their natural habitat only consume plants/organisms in their environment. This provides various health benefits for humans who consume salmon.
When fish swim in their natural habitat this allows them to consume nutrients/vitamins they can’t get from high-processed fish food. Some of the top ones include:
- Vitamins A/Bs/D
It’s similar to the situation in which natural food is healthier for humans than processed food made in factories.
An irony of fatty fish in their natural habitat is they actually get more exercise than farmed fish. They do lots of swimming in streams, lakes, and oceans. They swim for different reasons including searching for food and a mate.
This results in their bodies being less fatty versus farm-raised salmon. Since they’re not required to swim to find food this causes them to gain more weight/fat. The result is less lean food.
Farm-raised fish are more likely to experience chemical toxins due to their environment. In fact, studies show they often have toxins like pesticides, PCBs, and others. This can increase their consumers’ risk of various diseases.
There’s still a risk that wild-caught fish have these contaminants. However, the risk is generally lower because the farms tend to be closer to contaminants that can affect their health.
One study by Ohio State University (OSU) found that women who consumed more omega-3s had fewer broken hips. It also revealed that consuming wild-caught fish provided stronger bones and more anti-inflammation levels.
Top Recipe Ideas for Salmon
This can include lots of tasty flavors including lemon and herbs/spices. Grilled fish is easily one of the best ways to prepare healthy food. It even smells better than fried fish that’s swimming in oil. Grilled fish is the perfect summer food since it’s light and healthy.
2. Maple Bacon
The words “maple bacon” say it all. Not only are you getting bacon but real maple syrup/sugar has been added to provide the perfect combo of fat/savory flavors. While bacon is highly-processed it’s actually low-carb and still has lots of protein and healthy fats. Just watch the salt content.
3. Greek Salmon
If you’re a fan of the Mediterranean Diet then this recipe shouldn’t be Greek to you. It’s loaded with healthy ingredients. They include lots of veggies and some healthy feta cheese. While low-carb diets have been trending for the past few years consider the Mediterranean Diet has a track record of thousands of years.
4. Asian BBQ
This version gets a spicy BBQ sauce with sesame seeds. It provides a great blend of sweet and spicy. It’s always important to find a good blend of ingredients when preparing different types of food like fish.
Fried food can actually be healthy. Some of the main issues are how much oil you use and the type of oil you use. Some of the best options include coconut and olive oil over vegetable oils. As always, it’s also important to avoid over-cooking the fish in order to get the best results.
This is a basic yet healthy way to prepare fatty fish. You could use a conventional oven or toaster oven. One of the main benefits of fish is it cooks much faster than pork or fish. So you can have a healthy/hearty meal with little baking time that features wild caught salmon.