Salmon is generally good for health benefits. These fish have loaded and Omega-3 fatty acids. Loaded in salmon can make your heart healthy, while Omega-3 fats can increase intelligence. However, not all salmon have these two things well. Today, many salmon we ate was not caught in the wild, but bred in fish farms. So, what is the difference Wild and farmed slamon? and which has a maximum nutritional value?
The first choice you should make is whether to buy wild salmon (and all Alaskan salmon is wild-caught) or farmed Atlantic salmon. Wild salmon is caught in the wild, in its natural environment, oceans, rivers and lakes. But half of the salmon sold worldwide comes from so-called fish farms, also known as aquacultures. The annual global production of farmed salmon has increased from 27,000 to more than 1 million metric tons in the past two decades.
Wild salmon eats other organisms found in its natural environment, farmed salmon is given a processed high-fat feed in order to produce larger fish. Farmed salmon is much higher in fat, it contains slightly more Omega-3s, much more Omega-6 fatty acids and 3 times the amount of saturated fat. It also contains 46% more calories, mostly from fat.
There are two main types of polyunsaturated fats, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids have important roles to play in the human body. We need both in the diet, otherwise we end up sick. That’s why they are termed the “essential” fatty acids (EFAs). However, we need to get these fatty acids in a certain balance.
Most people today are eating too much Omega-6, and the delicate balance between these two types of fatty acids is heavily distorted towards Omega-6. Many scientists have speculated that this can drive increased inflammation and may play a role in the pandemics of chronic diseases like heart disease and others.
Salmon, both farmed and wild, should lead to a massive improvement in Omega-3 intake for most people, and is often recommended for that purpose. In a 4 week study of 19 volunteers, eating farmed Atlantic salmon twice per week increased DHA (an important Omega-3 fatty acid) levels in the blood by 50%.
However, there’s some good news. Salmon farmers are currently in talks with environmental groups about improving their practices and there is a proposal before Congress to set standards for aquaculture. Already some farms, such as Sweet Spring in British Columbia, are raising coho in closed pens, that reduce the impact on wild fish. Others, such as Verlasso in Patagonia, are using feeds fortified with the omega-3 EPA, which helps cut back the ratio of pounds of fish needed to feed the salmon to 1-to-1.