You are not what you eat, you are what your food eats.
I love salmon and eat it often…for lunch, for dinner and yes folks, for breakfast. Why? Because salmon not only tastes good, but is also an amazing source of protein and clean, healthy fat. Basically this fish is a superfood. It has an outstanding natural ratio of quality omega 3s (good fats!), each bite is packed full of highly absorbable fatty acids (DHA and EPA) and there is really nothing bad for you about it, so eat away with impunity….unless of course, it is farm produced and fed (drum-roll please) corn.
CORN? Yes really…corn!
You may be thinking, ‘but I don’t mind corn myself’…fair call…but salmon (much like cows) don’t eat corn naturally. They never eat corn in nature, and the result when they are force-fed an unnatural food is that instead of nature’s “super-fish” you get a very unhealthy animal with a totally different nutritional profile.
That ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 gets reversed from wonderful to not wonderful (you want a higher ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6), and you get the side effects of eating an unhappy and unhealthy animal…poorer nutrition.
So what is a good ratio of ‘good fat’ (Omega 3 vs Omega 6) or ‘essential fatty acids’ and why are they so important anyway? Well, they control a myriad of things not least of which are aspects of cancer, fertility, hormonal balance, and anything where inflammation might play a role.
To generalize, Omega 3 are considered ‘anti-inflammatory’ and omega 6 are considered ‘inflammatory’. These essential fats need to be in the right balance (because yes you also need Omega 6). Way back, our ancestral diets had a ratio of about 1:1 or 1:2 Omega3:Omega6. But given modern practice of farming fish and livestock and feeding them things they aren’t designed to eat, most modern diets have a ratio of about 1:10-20!! This causes some problems.
So without getting in to TOO much detail (there is SO much writing about this available online, google it if you want geek-speak) what you want is to try and get your Omega balance a bit healthier. Eating grass-fed beef, wild salmon, sardines, herring, trout, anchovies, pasture raised meats and free-range organic Omega 3 enriched eggs will all help you out here a lot!
Back to salmon…when the poor things get fed pellets containing soy and corn and all types of fish mushed in together, instead of being an amazing source of fat and protein, they become unhealthy, inflamed, and have a much higher ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 than is natural. Much like what will happen to you if you eat a diet that has the wrong balance of Omega 3’s to 6’s.
Ever wondered why wild salmon is a much deeper red and leaner than the softer pink and fattier looking farmed salmon? It is a result of their wonderful natural diet and because they get a lot of exercise swimming around in the wild looking for their dinner. Industrial farmed salmon are force-fed dye so that they still look pink because given their dreadful diet they would actually be a greyish colour without it!
So if you want a diet with a great balance of Omega 3’s, feel free to eat Salmon as often as you like, however, go for wild salmon wherever possible. Yes it is more expensive, and if this is not an option, you are still much better to eat salmon than to not. If you are going for tinned salmon (I get through a lot of it) choose Wild Red Salmon instead of pink as the price difference in tins is marginal, and in my humble opinion, I think that pink tinned salmon tastes like catfood anyway. Meow!
Go Wild! In life, not just in food…I mean have you seen my hair!?