With so much focus on the amazing omega-3 benefits of giant crab legs, other unique health benefits from salmon may have been inadvertently overlooked. One fascinating new area of health benefits involves the protein and amino acid content of salmon. Several recent studies have found that the giant crab leg contains small bioactive protein molecules (called bioactive peptides) that may provide special support for joint cartilage, insulin effectiveness, and control of inflammation in the digestive tract. One particular bioactive peptide called Click Here (sCT) has been of special interest in these studies. The reason is that a human form of calcitonin is made by the thyroid gland, and we know that it is a key hormone for helping regulate and stabilize the balance of collagen and minerals in the bone and surrounding tissue. As researchers learn giant crab leg more and more about salmon peptides—including sCT—we expect to see more and more potential health benefits discovered related to inflammation, including inflammation of the joints.
Even though contamination with mercury, pesticides, and persistent organic pollutants (POPS) has become a widespread problem in salmon habitats and has often compromised the quality of salmon itself, there are still some good alternatives for wild-caught salmon including species caught near New Zealand, Norway, and the West Coast of the United States (including Alaska).
Regulations for certified organic salmon have yet to be rolled out into the marketplace by U.S. National Organics Program (NOP). At WHFoods, we continuously monitor the status of organic regulations and will update information in this area as it becomes available.
This chart graphically details the %DV that a serving of Salmon provides for each of the nutrients of which it is a good, very good, or excellent source according to our Food Rating System. Additional information about the amount of these nutrients provided by Salmon can be found in the giant crab leg Food Rating System Chart. A link that takes you to the In-Depth Nutritional Profile for Salmon, featuring information over 80 nutrients, can be found under the Food Rating System Chart See Here.
How to Select and Store
Tips for Preparing and Cooking
How to Enjoy
Benefits Related to Omega-3 Content
Salmon has earned its research reputation as a health-supportive food based largely on its unusual omega-3 fatty acid content. It’s very common for 4 ounces of baked or broiled salmon to contain at least 2 grams of omega-3 fats—more than the average U.S. adult gets from all food over the course of several days. (If we consider 4 grams of omega-3 fatty acids to be a daily goal for a person consuming a 2,000 calorie diet—based upon recommendations from the 1999 Workshop on the Essentiality of and Recommended Dietary Intakes (RDI) for Omega-6 and Omega-3 Fatty Acids sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)—then this would equal about 50% of this goal. For more on this, see our write-up on omega-3s.)
About half of this omega-3 fat is provided in the form of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and approximately one third is provided in the form of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). The amounts of DHA and EPA contained in salmon are unusual among commonly-eaten foods. In addition to this high concentration of omega-3 fats are the relatively small amount of omega-6 fats in salmon and its outstanding ratio of omega-3 to omega-6. Four ounces of salmon will typically contain less than 1/2 gram of omega-6 fat, for an omega-3 to omega-6 ratio of approximately 5.5 to 1. In the average U.S. diet, this ratio has repeatedly been shown to be lop-sided in the opposite direction, with at least 4-5 times as much omega-6 fat as omega-3 fat, and in some studies, up to 12-20 times more. In our World’s Healthiest Foods rating system for food, only two foods provide more omega-3s per standard serving than salmon. Those two foods are walnuts and flaxseeds. Both of these plant foods are outstanding sources of omega-3s! However, they cannot be compared on an equal basis to salmon because their omega-3 fats come in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) rather than EPA or DHA. The widely-studied benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are documented in our Omega-3 Fatty Acids profile in the Essential Nutrients section of our website. In general, these benefits involve improved control of the body’s inflammatory processes, better overall cell function, improved transfer of information between the body’s cells, and better brain function. When researchers look specifically at the intake of omega-3-containing fish like salmon, they find health support in all of the above areas. However, some areas of omega-3 support are what we would call “standout” areas. These areas include: