Have you ever noticed that salmon in the supermarket can differ in color from a dull pink to a bright red?
It’s generally considered that bright red salmon is fresher and healthier.
Yet, some companies use dye to obtain this bright look. That’s why you should always pay attention to where your fish comes from and how it was collected.
What makes Salmon red?
The color is a great sign of whether or not you are purchasing real salmon. The color of a wild-caught salmon is a robust red, which is correctly what salmon should look like. The color of farmed salmon is very light and pale in color as if the fish was sick.
Astaxanthin is a bright red molecule found in algae, plankton, and krill, and it gives salmon its color. This molecule is extremely beneficial to the human body because it possesses powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Some of its benefits include:
- It improves blood flow
- It strengthens the mitochondria’s cell membranes by preventing damaging oxygen species and thus protects it
- It is a strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant
- It improves mitochondrial energy production
- According to a study, when used as a supplement, it boosts the strength endurance by over 50%.
Wild salmon eat astaxanthin-rich plankton, a luxury that farmers cannot afford. Alternatively, farmed salmon eat pellets containing synthetic antioxidants.
Nowadays, most of the commercial astaxanthin for aquaculture is produced synthetically from toxic petrochemical sources, like coal.
Here are some other differences between wild and farmed salmon:
1. Nutritional content
According to USDA data, wild salmon has fewer calories (about 130 calories less when comparing small cuts) and half the fat content of the same amount of farmed salmon.
CTV News Investigation that examined wild and net-cage farmed salmon and found that wild salmon are more nutritious than farmed with 8 times more Vitamin D and 3 times more Vitamin A per 100-gram serving.
2. Toxic pollutants
Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are toxic chemicals that adversely affect human health and the environment around the world. They are absorbed and ingested by wildlife and pose a health threat to humans as well.
POPs have been linked to several diseases, including type 2 diabetes and obesity. Also, they can increase the risk of stroke in women .
3. Cancer-causing chemicals
Farmed fish are exposed to more environmental and chemical pollutants than their wild cousins.
A 2005 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association noted that the rate of cancer risk from eating farmed salmon from some regions is 3 times greater than wild salmon.
4. Unsafe contaminants
The FDA and EPA have both largely studied mercury contamination in fish.
Regarding the mercury content found in salmon, the FDA and EPA have examined it and confirmed that wild-caught salmon has constantly been at extremely low risk of contamination with mercury.
They even suggest that its consumption is absolutely safe and may be practiced numerous times a week.
However, because farmed salmon is fattier, it can accumulate greater levels of fat-soluble toxins such as PCBs, a banned substance found in the carcinogen asbestos.
Farmed salmon live in overcrowded nets, making them a high-risk environment for infection and parasites. These quickly spread throughout the net and can cause massive death and illness, meaning a huge loss of profit for farmers.
Therefore, farmers commonly administer antibiotics in order to maintain their health, and trace quantities of them are now included in the salmon we consume.
On the other hand, wild fish aren’t exposed to humans or human-made substances until they are caught and killed by fishermen, so they do not carry antibiotics in their system.
A few wild Salmons to try
Sockeye salmon has higher levels of vitamin D and cholesterol than other wild salmon varieties. Red Salmon eat only krill and phytoplankton as opposed to fish, so they have the most Astaxanthin, giving them a deep orange hue. These fish are very hard to farm, so sockeye is almost always wild, which is reflected in their prized taste.
Chinook (king) salmon has nearly twice as much omega-3s as the other fish on this list. Chinook salmon can be farmed, so you should always check the source of your fish to make sure it’s wild.
Pacific coho salmon is the most low-calorie and low-fat variety of salmon. It contains decent levels of omega-3s and vitamin D, so it’s a great option for people on a restricted diet. Coho salmon can also be farmed, so always check the label.