Salmon’s Still Savory
For years, salmon has been promoted as a super food to prevent heart disease, but lately farmed salmon in particular has been under scrutiny. A study in the 2004 Journal Science raised concerns because farm raised salmon were showing an increased level of cancer-causing PCBs compared to wild salmon. PCBs (or polychlorinated biphenyls) are industrial waste products that were banned in the 1970’s when they were determined to be carcinogenic. Unfortunately, low levels of PCBs still exist in the environment and the food chain. And because PCBs that enter the body are stored in fat, the farm-fed salmon have a larger reservoir than their wild counterparts.
To ensure safe consumption, the FDA and Health Canada limit the maximum level of acceptable PCBs contained in fish to 2.0 parts per million (ppm). And since the average concentration found in salmon is only 0.024ppm, health professionals agree - the benefits of eating salmon (farmed or wild) far outweigh the cancer risk.
So why eat salmon anyway? Most of us know that fish is good for us. It’s high in protein, low in saturated fat, and the fatty acids contained in fish oils are essential to body function. The most notable are the omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3’s are vital to proper cardiovascular function, and those contained in a mere 7 to 10 ounces (2 to 3 servings) of fish per week will:
- Reduce your risk of heart disease. By reducing blood viscosity, these amazing little polyunsaturated fatty acids reduce the risk of blockage within your veins and arteries. They also lower cholesterol and lipid levels, or the amount of fat in your blood.
- Help prevent arrhythmias. By stabilizing the contractile patterns of the heart’s muscle cells, omega-3’s reduce the chance of interruptions in the heart’s rhythm.
- Reduce platelet “stickiness”. Platelets are the blood cells responsible for blood clotting. With their “stickiness” decreased, the chance of artery blockage and heart attack or stroke is also reduced.