We all know that smoked salmon is utterly delicious, but did you know that there are some amazing health benefits from eating it too?
These benefits apply to all oily fish, including trout, mackerel, and herring (kippers), so you’ve got plenty of variety to choose from!
Here’s our top 5 health benefits of eating smoked salmon
1. A healthy heart
Oily fish like salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which we need for a healthy heart and blood circulation. Omega-3 fatty acids aren’t made by our bodies so we have to consume them in our food; there are several types of these fatty acids but the most beneficial kinds are the ‘long chain’ ones found in oily fish. Omega-3 can help to lower blood pressure, lower triglycerides (a fat that enters our bloodstream after a meal), maintain a steady heart rhythm, and prevent blood clots.
Salmon is also rich in an antioxidant called astaxanthin (which is what gives the fish its distinctive pink colour) – the protective nature of this antioxidant is thought to lower the risk of heart disease by improving cholesterol.
2. A healthy immune system
New research has suggested that the omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish support our immune system by influencing immune cells such as white blood cells. It has been known for some time that oily fish can have a variety of benefits in protecting us from serious diseases like heart disease and diabetes, due to the anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3; scientists are now also looking at whether oily fish helps protect us from other serious diseases including some cancers, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and macular degeneration.
Oily fish is also a good source of vitamin A, iron, and selenium, which are all important for helping your immune system work properly to fight off infections and illnesses.
3. Healthy skin, joints, muscles, and brain function
The fatty acids in oily fish are believed to help maintain healthy skin and joints, and the high levels of protein are important for preventing muscle loss, maintaining bone health, and helping your body heal itself. Astaxanthin in salmon (the antioxidant compound) may help reduce the signs of ageing by maintaining skin elasticity and protecting against UV damage.
Salmon is rich in vitamin D, which is needed by the body to maintain healthy bones and muscles.
With regard to brain function, there’s convincing evidence that the age-old theory of fish being ‘brain food’ is true – those all-important omega-3 fatty acids are thought to be beneficial in improving memory and preventing age-related brain loss. Scientists have found that oily fish provide benefits for conditions such as Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, and depression.
4. Energy levels, mood, hormonal balance, and brain function
Salmon is an excellent source of the vitamins and minerals that are needed for maintaining energy and mood levels. These include:
– B vitamins, including B12, B6, and B3 all of which help your body release energy from food
– Vitamin D, which helps regulate female hormones, and a lack of which can cause low energy and low mood in both men and women
– Iron, a lack of which also causes tiredness and a lack of energy
Hormones are the chemical messengers in our bodies, and maintaining hormonal balance is essential for keeping things like your metabolism, stress levels, and mood in check. The fatty acids and vitamins in salmon improve overall hormone communication with the brain, which boosts our mood and brain function.
5. A healthy bodyweight
Salmon is a high protein food, and protein is excellent for keeping you feeling fuller for longer (which helps prevent you reaching for the naughtier snacks!). It is also a good source of iodine, which helps make the thyroid hormones that keep your body’s metabolic rate healthy. Oily fish is also thought to stabilize hunger hormones, boost mood levels, and maintain good energy levels, all of which can help you avoid the temptation to raid the biscuit jar!
Order your recommended weekly portion of oily fish now!
How Omega-3 Fish Oil Can Boost Your Immune System – Norway Omega, June 2020
Top 5 Health Benefits of Smoked Salmon – BBC Good Food, February 2021
NHS Vitamins & Minerals Guide – NHS, August 2020
Hormone Balancing Foods – Eatingwell.com, April 2020
British Dietetics Association