Vibrantly colored, tenderly textured, and richly flavored, salmon is loaded with the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. These polyunsaturated fats may help boost the immune system and reduce the risk of heart disease. And in the area of brain development, they’re thought to be beneficial for a developing fetus, nursing infants, and young children. Scientists also continue to study omega-3s fatty acids and their potential to lower cancer risk.
The American Heart Association recommends at least two servings a week of fish, preferably oily fish such as salmon. Salmon is one of a few fish rich in omega-3s (1.2 to 1.9 grams per serving, compared with almost none for chicken, pork, and beef). It’s also an excellent source of protein, vitamin B12, and selenium, with good amounts of vitamin B6, thiamine, and niacin.
Salmon's characteristic rosy color, which ranges from pale pink to orangey-red, comes largely from astaxanthin, a carotenoid (naturally occurring pigment) that the fish ingest from microalgae in their diet. Research suggests that astaxanthin, an antioxidant, may help protect the immune system.
Because salmon is a rich fish, the best preparation methods are those that add little or no fat, such as the following three recipes.