13 Salmon Benefits, According to Nutritionists

Salmon is good for your heart and provides a variety of nutrients that help keep your body functioning.

Integrating more seafood into your diet can be a delicious and nutritious way to improve your health. In fact, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating fish twice a week. Salmon, in particular, is a good dish if you're trying to be conscious of your heart health. Below, you'll find 13 health benefits of salmon, according to registered dietitians.

It's Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, Keri Gans, a New York-based RDN, told Health. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS)—a division of the National Institutes of Health—research suggests that omega-3s may offer various health benefits, including relieving symptoms of dry eye disease, helping manage symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, and improving cognitive function.

It's a Great Source of Protein

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 100 grams (or 3.5 ounces) of salmon provide nearly 20 grams of protein. Protein is essential to helping your body thrive. Among other roles, protein aids cell production and repair, promotes muscle health, and helps fight infections. Not getting enough protein can lead to muscle loss.

It Can Help Your Body Regulate Your Sleep

Salmon also includes an amino acid called tryptophan, Gans said. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid, which means you have to get it from your diet as your body won't produce it. Tryptophan helps the body make melatonin and serotonin—meaning it plays a part in some important bodily functions, such as mood regulation and the sleep-wake cycle.

It Has Vitamin A, Which Supports Eye Health

If you're low on vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin, you should consider adding salmon to your weekly menu. Gans said salmon is rich in vitamin A, an immune-boosting nutrient. The added benefit is that the fat in salmon can help with the absorbtion this specific vitamin. Vitamin A is important not only for immune function but also reproduction and vision.

Its Vitamin D Supports Your Immune System

Salmon is a good source of vitamin D, Gans said. Vitamin D, another fat-soluble vitamin, can be obtained via sunlight and foods. It helps your body absorb calcium. Gans added that vitamin D is also an immune-boosting nutrient.

It Has Vitamin B12, an Essential Nutrient

Another nutrient salmon contains is vitamin B12, Maxine Smith, a registered dietitian at Cleveland Clinic's Center for Human Nutrition, told Health. Getting enough B12 is important because a deficiency can cause weakness, nerve problems, tiredness, and loss of appetite, among other symptoms.

It's a Good Source of B3 (Niacin)

Vitamin B3 (also known as niacin) can be found in salmon as well, Smith said, and its job is to transform the food you eat into the energy your body needs. Also worth noting: Vitamin B3 plays a role in keeping your cells functioning.

It Can Help Regulate Your Thyroid Hormones

Selenium is yet another immune-boosting nutrient found in salmon, Gans said. Foods with selenium provide several health benefits, as the nutrient plays a role in thyroid hormone metabolism, reproduction, DNA synthesis, and more.

It Has Zinc, Which You Should Eat Every Day

You should be consuming zinc, which is found in salmon, daily. This essential mineral plays a role in cellular metabolism. This includes supporting immune function, protein and DNA synthesis, and wound healing.

It's Rich in Glutamine

Glutamine, too, is found in salmon, Gans said. This amino acid—a building block of protein—assists energy production and may help muscle recovery.

Its Iron Helps Support Cellular Functioning

Smith added that salmon is a good source of iron, which is crucial for many bodily processes. Iron helps with the transfer of oxygen from your lungs to other tissues, and it also supports muscle metabolism.

It Contains an Antioxidant

A carotenoid pigment called astaxanthin can also be found in wild-caught salmon. Astaxanthin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Antioxidants support cell functioning, and they can protect your body against disease.

It's Sustainable

Lastly, salmon is a great choice for the environmentally conscious eater since eating salmon can do more than boost your health. "Alaska Salmon is both wild and sustainable, good for the environment and good for us," Gans said.

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  1. Office of Dietary Supplements. Omega-3 Fatty Acids.

  2. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Fish, salmon, Atlantic, wild, raw.

  3. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. How Much Protein Should I Eat?

  4. National Library of Medicine. Tryptophan.

  5. Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin A.

  6. Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin D.

  7. Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin B12.

  8. Office of Dietary Supplements. Niacin.

  9. Office of Dietary Supplements. Selenium.

  10. Office of Dietary Supplements. Zinc.

  11. Office of Dietary Supplements. Dietary supplements for exercise and athletic performance.

  12. Office of Dietary Supplements. Iron.

  13. Astaxanthin: A mechanistic review on its biological activities and health benefits. Pharmacological Research. 2018;136:1-20. doi:10.1016/j.phrs.2018.08.012

  14. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Antioxidants: In Depth.

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