Swim Upstream

By: Nick Thomas

I think salmon may be my favorite fish for many reasons, but right out of the gate, I love that they go against the flow! Because the best nutrition or fitness choices may not always be the popular/easy ones, I am familiar with the feeling of “swimming upstream.” However, for now, let us focus on how packed this fish is with health benefits!

Salmon is one of the most nutritious fish/proteins which can be consumed. Wild salmon has an excellent omega-3 fatty acid content. By keeping a good amount of omega-3 fatty acids in one’s daily diet, there will be a reduction of inflammation. This is a huge benefit because inflammation is the base of many health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, some types of cancers, and arthritis. Some research even shows that omega-3 fatty acids have the potential to help slow cognitive problems such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Salmon has virtually zero carbohydrates making it perfect for those with diabetes. It contains tryptophan, the precursor to serotonin, which helps combat depression. This, combined with being an excellent source of vitamin D, makes it a natural mood booster.

When it comes to actually picking out salmon at the store, there are few things to keep in mind. First, salmon can be consumed without fear of excess contaminants, such as mercury, which can be a concern with other seafood. This means it can be eaten multiple times a week without hesitation. Wild salmon is usually best, but some farmed is not a totally bad thing. There is such a wide range of ways to purchase and prepare salmon that it is easy to keep variety while still gaining the rich nutrients the body craves daily. Salmon can be purchased fresh, frozen, smoked, or canned. There are also several varieties of salmon including king, Atlantic, sockeye, coho, pink, and chum. The biggest difference tends to be texture, which can be a choice that varies based on the preparation and cooking plan.

Salmon is a sturdy fish which holds up to many cooking styles and seasonings. It can easily be grilled, baked, poached, broiled, or pan seared. Since health is the focus here, be sure to keep your seasonings in that category as well. Using olive oil and staying clear of heavy, creamy sauces is best. Think of fresh herbs, spices, and lemons as great options to add and switch up flavor, maybe even including some fresh garlic or Dijon mustard and honey on occasion. The fattiness of the salmon helps when cooking it, however be careful not to overcook it — simply cook until it is flakey and changes to an opaque light pink color throughout. This should keep it moist, flakey, and very tasty. Pair it with some fresh cooked green veggies and brown rice or quinoa for an amazing healthy meal. As an added tip, cook a bit extra and save it for lunch or dinner another night. And when needing a way to cook fresh single servings, the air fryer is awesome!

For more information regarding a personalized general or sports nutrition plan contact me at Prime Performance 423-805-0870.

By: Nick Thomas

Prime Performance Training, and Certified Sports Nutritionist