Do you feel like your diet is in a rut? Or would you like to breathe a little more life into your healthy diet? You’re not alone. Whether you’ve noticed you’ve gotten into unhealthy eating habits lately (many of us have) or want to freshen up your diet a bit, there is an easy way to do it – and it isn’t required overhaul of your entire pantry. On the contrary, after Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LDAs the founder of Nutrition Now Counseling and author of Fueling Male Fertility, you can start with one step to get your diet on the right path to better health right away: Put the salmon in the fridge.
The health benefits of salmon are plentiful.
“Salmon is full of important nutrients that support overall health, including selenium, potassium, and vitamin B6. It’s also a source of high-quality protein that helps make every meal more satisfying,” she says.
All of these benefits are great, but you might be wondering why we especially call salmon a food that can instantly improve your diet. There are so many superfoods out there with incredible health benefits, right? Law. What is special about salmon, however, is the omega-3 fatty acid content.
Why salmon’s omega-3 fatty acid content makes it a food that can help you get healthier right away.
Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat that is considered “essential”. This means that our bodies cannot make this nutrient – we can only get it from food, and salmon is one of those foods. In fact, it is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, containing the second highest amount of these fatty acids of any fish in the ocean.
“Salmon is known to be a rich source of the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. It contains adequate amounts of these fatty acids [in your diet] is associated with a number of health benefits, including a reduced risk of early death, “says Manaker.
While omega-3s are an essential and healthy part of a balanced diet, there is an even more important reason why we recommend consuming this fish: The majority of people don’t eat nearly enough omega-3 fatty acids, so adding salmon to your diet can instantly result in your body being replenished with the fatty acids you need.
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“Most Americans don’t get enough of these important fatty acids in their diet, which is a health concern. Adding salmon to your diet is an easy way to increase your DHA and EPA intake with little effort,” says Manaker.
Why we need to eat more salmon and other omega-3 rich foods.
Humans developed on a diet with a ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids of 1: 1; However, this ratio is now closer to 15: 1. Like omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids are also essential, but they are also anti-inflammatory. So studies show that too much of it, like we do with Western diets, can lead to an increased risk of many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, and obesity, according to a study published in Nutrients.
There are several reasons why our omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is so much higher than it used to be. One of them is that since the dawn of modern agriculture, the omega-3 content of foods that are traditionally high in omega-3 fatty acids, including fish, animal meat and eggs, has noticeably decreased. More importantly, our intake of omega-3-rich foods has decreased significantly.
While we eat fewer omega-3 foods, we also eat more omega-6 fatty acids than we traditionally have. This is partly due to the proliferation of soybean oil – a vegetable oil high in omega-6 – in our diet. Soybean oil is the most increased part of the American diet over the past 100 years, accounting for over 60% of all edible vegetable oil consumption in the United States. It is common in myriad processed foods and fried foods, according to a study published in Scientific reports.
While you can decrease your omega-6 intake by reducing your intake of certain omega-6 rich foods like soybean oil, it is also important, if not more important Focus on increasing your omega-3 intake. This is especially the case when, as mentioned earlier, omega-6s are still essential fats and have health benefits when consumed in moderation. It is also good for you to replace less healthy saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats, including omega-6 fatty acids.
In conclusion, by eating more salmon, you can get the nutritional benefits of micronutrients like vitamins D and B12, as well as high quality protein. But perhaps best of all, you’re getting more anti-inflammatory, heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
To reap the benefits, the FDA recommends eating 2 to 3 servings of fish, or about 8 to 12 ounces, per week. While we recommend salmon because it is widely available and one of the most popular fish, experts recommend eating a variety of fish as each has its own nutritional profile. So start with salmon and then add other types of fish like tuna, mackerel, cod and flounder! Read More
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