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Eat Like a Salmon, Instead of Eating Salmon

Small wild fish such as mackerel and herring contain as much or even more nutrients than salmon.

Salmon is an excellent source of vitamins B6, B12, and selenium and is a great way to enrich your diet with omega-3 fatty acids — the healthy fats linked to reduced cardiovascular risks.

A new study published in Nature Food suggests that eating like a salmon by consuming small wild fish may have the same or even better nutritional benefits than salmon itself.

Using data from Norway’s salmon farms, researchers analyzed the flow of nutrients from farmed salmon and small fish like Pacific and Peruvian anchoveta, Atlantic herring, mackerel, sprat, and blue whiting.

They found that six of nine dietary nutrients – calcium, iodine, iron, omega-3, vitamin B12, and vitamin A – yield higher in wild fish than in salmon.

For instance, quantities of calcium were more than five times higher in wild fish filets than in salmon filets, and iodine was four times higher. Calcium is a mineral essential for bone and muscle health, which also helps to prevent blood clotting and regulate heart function, while iodine supports healthy thyroid functioning.

Additionally, wild fish filets had 1.5 times more iron, omega-3, vitamin B12, and vitamin A.

While quantities of vitamin D were comparable in wild fish and salmon, salmon had higher levels of selenium and zinc, both of which boost immune function.

“Whilst still enjoying eating salmon and supporting sustainable growth in the sector, people should consider eating a greater and wider variety of wild fish species like sardines, mackerel and anchovies, to get more essential nutrients straight to their plate,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. David Willer, of the Zoology Department at the University of Cambridge.

The authors say that reallocating one-third of food-grade wild feed fish towards direct human consumption would increase seafood production. At the same time, it would retain by-products for use as aquafeeds, maximizing nutrient utilization of marine resources.

Protein foods, including seafood, are among the core elements that make up a healthy dietary pattern, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Seafood contains varying levels of mercury in the form of methylmercury. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends limiting methylmercury exposure for women who might become or are pregnant or lactating, as well as young children.

In the UnitedStates., commonly consumed seafood lower in methylmercury include salmon, anchovies, sardines, Pacific oysters, and trout.

Eating like salmon may provide nutritional benefits, however, it is essential to combine seafood with other staples of a healthy diet, such as fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains.

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