It’s World Salmon Day!

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World Salmon Day – Tuesday October 8th

As a nutritionist it is only natural to want to celebrate a day that is dedicated to celebrating all things salmon and the positive nutritional attributes it has. So as World Salmon Day draws closer, here are some of the reasons that nutritionists love salmon and why we all should be eating a whole lot more it.

Superfoods generally get their title as they contain key nutrients in particularly high amounts. This is the number one reason that salmon tops the superfood list. With exceptionally high levels of the long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids; DHA and EPA, (the omega 3’s), there are few foods that beat salmon when it comes to omega 3 content. In fact, a single serve of Atlantic salmon each day will contain your entire daily recommended intake of these special fats.

Screen Shot 2019-10-08 at 9.07.03 amEven though 65% of Aussies know that salmon is exceptionally good for us, new research commissioned by Tassal has found that almost ¾ of us are unsure how to cook it, and know far fewer recipes to make with salmon compared to chicken and beef options. So to help make eating nutrient rich salmon easier, Tassal are encouraging Aussies to embrace the ‘5 + 5 = salmon made super’ routine – an easy and efficient method where a fillet of salmon is grilled on each side for five minutes before being served. Using this easy cooking method we not only open the door to many more quick and easy dinner options but including more salmon in our weekly menu will significantly boost the entire family’s intake of omega 3 fats.

Our omega 3 intake is of so much interest as these fats play a range of crucial roles in our diet. From a cellular perspective, it is the omega 3 fats improve the plasticity of cell membranes and help to facilitate cellular communication. Not only does this mean all of our cells are healthier, but it is hypothesised that this is the reason a high intake of omega 3 fat is linked to improved cognitive function as we age. Omega 3 fats also have a powerful natural anti-inflammatory effect, helping to protect the cells from damage on a daily basis. Specifically it is via these pathways that a high omega 3 intake is linked to better cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and fewer inflammatory conditions including heart disease, insulin resistance and arthritis.

Unfortunately despite knowing all of these benefits, few of us get anywhere near the amount of omega 3 fat we need for optimal health. There are a few reasons for this. First and foremost, there are very few foods that contain significant amounts of the long chain omega 3 fats – fatty fish including sardines, mackerel and salmon are the largest natural sources. Other types of fish may contain much smaller amounts and while some foods including eggs may be marketed as having omega 3’s added, it is generally nowhere near the amounts you naturally find in oily fish. Even tinned tuna is surprisingly low in omega 3 fats and the plant sources of omega 3, found in walnuts, flaxseed and linseed are not as powerful as the long chain fats, EPA and DHA themselves.

The other issue with our diets is that the bad fats found in processed and fried foods, can drown out the good fats. As many of our diets are packed full of saturated fats thanks to a relatively high intake of dairy, meats and fried and processed foods, compared to the good fats we are getting from seeds, nuts, oils and oily fish, often the good fats we are consuming are not getting into the cell to do their job as they should be.

So omega 3’s are hard to find, we do not eat anywhere near enough of them and it is easy to drown them out with poor food choices, yet we know how good they are for us. So to help celebrate World Salmon Day it is a timely reminder for all of us to eat more salmon, especially when it can be prepared in just 10 minutes. And if you need some more healthy and easy recipe ideas, check out some of my favourite salmon meals below.