In one of my previous blog posts, I focused on sources of protein that were plant-based. I enjoyed researching each food item and looking for studies and scientific data which proved these to be beneficial for our overall wellness. As a result, I thought it would be interesting to write about sources of protein from a pescatarian view of point this time. A pescatarian diet consists of a vegetarian one plus fish. So, a pescatarian would eat everything apart from meat and poultry. Therefore, I thought of moving away from the usual plant-based focus that seems to be rising in popularity among consumers and prioritize a pescatarian point of view which often goes undetected in discussions about nutrition and wellness.
Salmon is one of the most popular sources of protein when it comes to fish. Salmon has numerous nutrients like omega-3, vitamins and minerals. Specifically, it provides two types of omega-3 fatty acids which are called EPA and DHA. It’s especially important to get those fats from food as our body doesn’t have the ability to produce them itself. Studies have linked the assumption of omega-3 fatty acids with a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases. For example, a 2012 meta-analysis conducted by academics from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College located in Beijing, China, looked at 16 different studies which looked at hundreds of participants and how the assumption of omega-3 changed their overall wellness. The meta-analysis concluded that this nutrient is very important for making our endothelium work better. A good endothelial function helps to prevent heart attacks and other diseases associated with blood vessels and diabetes.
Salmon is also very beneficial for our diet thanks to the numerous types of B vitamins it contains. The ones that are most prevalent in it are vitamin B12, B3, B6. B vitamins are essential for our wellness as they help cells to function correctly, like the ones in the brain, they help our body to transform food into energy and also they aid the process of repairing and producing new DNA/RNA cells. Studies show that an appropriate amount of Vitamins B helps our brain to function correctly and that this is unfortunately not applicable for all humans as those in developing countries still struggle to obtain all the nutrients they need for a complete diet.
Furthermore, salmon is also very rich in selenium, which is a mineral commonly found in soil and specific foods. Our body doesn’t need a high amount of selenium to function, but it’s beneficial to consume small amounts of it as it has numerous benefits for our overall health. For example, a 2013 study looked at how selenium is important to healthy bones and for protection against oxidation. The researchers from the Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center at the United States Department of Agriculture found selenium to be correlated to these health benefits.
One of the most interesting benefits of salmon is linked to our mental health. Various studies have suggested that the assumption of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids has been linked to a lower risk of mental disorders. For example, researchers from medical departments in Italy and Poland analyzed previously conducted studies to find out if there was enough scientific data to prove this link. They looked at over 30 studies which involved thousands of cased studies and they discovered that there was a correlation between eating fish and lower levels of depression. Other studies however caution against taking this as a clear correlation as more research needs to be conducted in order to prove this. They also say that individuals suffering from ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) have reportedly lower levels of omega-3 than those not suffering from it and that this nutrient is essential for the correct functioning of the brain but we should still be cautious about taking these two facts and creating a link between the two.
I tried many recipes with salmon so, I thought of sharing with you my favourite one. This is an Asian-inspired recipes that doesn’t require a lot of ingredients, just a few staples from my cupboard like ginger, soy sauce, garlic, honey and a few more. I usually cook this with oven-baked sweet potatoes and some steamed veggies. It’s really tasty and contains a lot of nutrients so you feel satisfyingly full for quite a few hours.