Bone Up on Salmon

If you’re a steak lover who can’t imagine a complete meal without meat try this heart-healthy alternative. Salmon is low in cholesterol and high in omega-3 fatty acids.

What You’re Eating

Much of the salmon you see in supermarkets is farmed; in fact, farmed salmon outnumbers wild 85 to 1. If you want wild salmon, choose Pacific salmon (more than 80 per cent is wild caught). Most canned salmon in Canada is wild caught.

Healing Powers

The fat in salmon is like liquid gold when it comes to your blood vessels. Just two servings of salmon a week can reduce your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 17 per cent and your risk of having a heart attack by 27 per cent. And the benefits appear to go beyond the heart. A Swedish study that followed more than 6,000 men for 30 years found that those who ate moderate amounts of fatty fish slashed their risk of prostate cancer by a third. And researchers recently found that people who had the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood were 53 per cent less likely to report feeling mildly or moderately depressed.

Healthful Hint

Farmed salmon has higher levels of contaminants than fresh. Farmed fish are fed a mixture containing ground up smaller fish plus plant material. The amount of contaminants in the fish meal depends on the source. However, researchers evaluating the risks versus benefits of farmed over wild concluded that either is fine. If you eat more than two 90-gram servings of fish per week, be sure to choose a variety of fish, not just salmon.

Buying Right

Fresh wild salmon, available from early summer to fall, should look moist and firm. It should smell sea-fresh, not overwhelmingly fishy. When fresh is out of season, go for frozen wild salmon fillets. Packed canned salmon offers many benefits, including increased calcium due to its tender edible bones.

Clever Cooking Tips

For a fun appetizer, cut salmon fillets into 2.5-cm (1-in.) -thick strips and thread onto wooden skewers soaked in water for 30 minutes. Brush with teriyaki sauce and grill just until opaque.

To easily remove pin bones from a salmon fillet, place the fish skin side down over a bowl. The bones will stick up, ready for removal with tweezers or pliers.