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Why Swap Meat for Seafood…

Wild Alaska seafood is a venerable powerhouse source of nutrients and is of the highest quality of lean proteins. Alaska seafood is a complete and highly digestible protein, which means that the amino acids are readily absorbed by the body. Low in saturated fat, high in heart protective monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, Alaska seafood also boasts a complete array of essential amino acids, which help repair and rebuild muscles, making seafood a great meal for athletes recovering from a workout.

While being relatively low in calories, Alaska seafood is high in vitamin D. Did you know that 41% of adults in the United States are deficient in Vitamin D? Six-ounce portions of our wild salmon and sablefish  contain 90% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin D. Vitamin D has numerous health benefits to our lives and particularly those of us in northern climes do not get nearly enough of it. Alaska seafood, particularly wild salmon and black cod, contain plentiful Vitamin D and all of the wonders this vitamin brings for our bodies. In addition to strengthening teeth, bones and our immune systems, vitamin D can help curb depression, maintains good blood pressure, and acts as an antioxidant removing the damaging free radicals that are produced in our cells from vigorous exercise.

Nutritional Benefits of Alaska Seafood with ballet dancer Misty Copeland
Misty Copeland. Ballet Dancer. Photo courtesy of Alaska Seafood.

Alaska seafood is naturally high in essential vitamins E, A and C and also a good source of potassium, which is an important electrolyte that maintains fluid balance in the body as well as being responsible for proper muscle contraction and transmitting nerve impulses.

Just about the only way to get the Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA recommended by health specialists for heart and brain health is by eating fatty fish from cold waters. Our Alaska Gold Wild Salmon, Sablefish, and Albacore Tuna are some of the fish with the highest concentrations of Omega-3 fatty acids that exist. These fatty acids reduce inflammation and increase heart and brain health.

DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) is an important nutrient that inhibits aggregation of blood platelets, making it difficult for blood clots to form and thereby enhancing blood flow. The Omega-3 fatty acid DHA is also an important nutrient for generating brain cells and function for learning, especially in the early brain and nerve development of infants, but is also thought to help prevent dementia in elderly people.

EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) thins the blood and is effective against LDL (bad) cholesterol. Most importantly, EPA maintains blood and blood vessel health. EPA can help prevent stroke, heart attack, hardening of the arteries, and other coronary diseases.

Seafood is also easier to cook than other proteins. It does not require the cook times that other meats do, for example, and if it’s of great quality, like our Alaska Gold Seafood, it requires minimal seasonings. Pull one of our coho salmon portions out of the freezer, put it in the fridge for 24 hours, then in the oven at 425 F for 6-8 minutes with a few basic seasonings.

Or try our Easy Salmon on sale through the end of June, 2018. Try these Easy Salmon Recipes made by our customers.

 

 

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Here’s why seafood is an important part of the training regiment of Gold medalist Kikkan Randall

Congratulations to 5-time Olympian and Alaskan Kikkan Randall from the U.S. Cross-Country Skiing team that won the Gold medal in the team sprint at the PyeongChang Olympic Games.

In this video from Alaska Seafood, Kikkan talks about how Alaska Seafood “feeds her fitness.” Wild Alaska Seafood is a lean, high-quality protein. Eating Alaska Seafood was part of Kikkan’s training regimen while pregnant. The DHA, an Omega-3 fatty acid plentiful in Alaska seafood, particularly wild salmon, is essential for the nervous system and brain development in babies.

A high-quality lean protein source is important for all kinds of athletes. Whether you’re running in the local 5k or training for the next Olympics, there is no purer, more natural source of protein than wild seafood. Lean but dense with nutrients at the same time, seafood is a perfect protein for athletes.

Achieving peak form is a goal for all of us, whether we’re pro, amateur, or not even practicing athletes. And seafood should be part of all of our diets. Wild Alaska Seafood has such an expansive nutrient profile that meets most of the important physiological demands of an athlete in training.

Wild Alaska Seafood helps athletes…

Recover faster

Convert protein and sugar to energy as an excellent source of vitamins B6 and B12

Augment blood flow

Reduce swelling

Maximize fat loss by lowering triglycerides

Develop focus and mind function

Maintain strong and healthy bones with its exceptionally high vitamin D content

Optimize aerobic capacity

Expand lung performance

Improve joint health

Be Happier

Here’s another huge secret: Cooking our seafood, for example our wild salmon portions, is easier than cooking other kinds of proteins, and makes a meal in less than 15 minutes Even better, try our Canned Ivory King Salmon. We frequently hear from hiking and bicycling customers that bringing our canned king salmon in their packs is so much better than bringing those bland overpriced bars, which don’t have as much nutrition.

In addition, our Easy Salmon, packed in one-pound bags, is so versatile for making a diverse array of recipes, perfectly packaged for a family of four or a hungry couple.

Wild Alaska seafood is…

The highest quality of proteins. It is a complete and highly digestible protein, which means that the amino acids are readily absorbed by the body.

A lean protein loaded with omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation and blood pressure and hence strengthen heart health.

Low in saturated fat, high in heart protective monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Low in calories, high in vitamin D. Did you know that 41% of adults in the United States are deficient in Vitamin D? Alaska seafood, particularly wild salmon and black cod, contain plentiful Vitamin D and all of the wonders it brings for our bodies. Vitamin D acts as an antioxidant removing the damaging free radicals that are produced in our cells from vigorous exercise.

A good source of potassium, which is an important electrolyte that maintains fluid balance in the body as well as being responsible for proper muscle contraction and transmitting nerve impulses.

Wild Alaska Seafood…

Repairs and rebuilds muscles with its complete array of essential amino acids. Wild seafood from colder waters, like those of Alaska, have very high concentrations of Omega-3 fatty acids. We know Omega-3 fatty acids are good for the heart–they’re associated with a significant reduction in coronary artery diseases. In addition, Omega-3s from marine sources (i.e., wild seafood) are more easily absorbed and digestible than other sources. The most effective Omega-3s are EPA and DHA, the latter Kikka talks about in the video.

May help decrease inflammation caused by intense exercise and reducing the muscle soreness that occurs after workouts. Alaska seafood also has B vitamins, which are responsible for the conversion of muscle glycogen for energy and support aerobic energy metabolism by helping with oxygen transport within the body.

Sources:

Alaska Seafood

Nutrient Content & Variability in Newly Obtained Salmon Data for USDA Nutrition Database for Standard Reference. Jacob Exler, Pamela R. Pehrsson. USDA, Human Nutrition Research Center Program No. 533.7

Issues of Fish Consumption for Cardiovascular Disease Risk Reduction. Susan K. Raatz, Jeffrey Silverstein, Lisa Jahns, Matthew J. Picklo Sr. Review in Nutrients 2013, 5(4), 1081-1097, doi.

AgResearch Magazine August 2015. Americans Missing Out on Seafood Health Benefits

Medline Plus Fish Oil Drug Information at www.nlm.gov/medlinieplus/druginfo/natural/993.html

Long Chain Omega 3 Fatty Acids: EPA & DHA and Blood Pressure: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Page E. Miller, Marty Van Elswyk and Dominik Alexander, Jan. 2014 American Journal of Hypertension 2014 27 (7) pg 885-896.

Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Position Statement from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and The American College of Sports Medicine. Nancy R. Rodriguez, Nancy M. DiMarco, Susie Langley. March 01, 2010.

Bone Health and Osteoporosis: A Report of the Surgeon General (US) 2004 at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK45503

Overview of Omega-3 Fatty Acids. University of Maryland Medical Center at https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega3-fatty-acids

 

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How to make seafood meals easy, delicious, nutritious and rewarding

According to a recent poll, only 30% of American families eat dinner together every night, despite numerous studies underscoring the long-term health and societal benefits of eating together as a family. Research shows that eating family meals together results in a positive impact on health and wellness while reducing obesity rates, eating disorders, risky behaviors in teens and diabetes in adults. Also, when you cook your own meals together, you know what you’re putting in your food, which often is healthier than when you don’t know.

February is American Heart Month and the American Heart Association recommends eating heart-healthy seafood at least twice a week, yet only 10% of Americans get at least 2 servings of seafood a week.

A really fun dinner with friends and family of all ages is our Easy Salmon Cakes recipe. See this review of the recipe and our Easy Salmon from a happy Alaska Gold customer: “I made my first batch of salmon cakes following the recipe I found on the AG website and OMG! I was skeptical at first but I’m truly converted: the minced salmon is amazing with no variation in flavor whatsoever […] The easy salmon is delicious and yes, easy to prepare. It took 30 minutes from preparation and sautéing! Dinner in a snap and tasty too!”

Easy Salmon Cakes
Easy Salmon Cakes

An easy way to get heart-healthy seafood into your family’s weekly plan is to include our Alaska Gold Easy Salmon. Easy Salmon is made from our wild coho salmon, which is a lean protein, low in saturated fats and rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.

The healthy “good” unsaturated fats found in foods like wild salmon may help lower risk of heart disease, depression, dementia and arthritis. Replacing 5 percent of the so-called “bad” fats like trans and saturated fats with the unsaturated fat in seafood and plant-based foods can reduce your risk of early death by up to 27% percent. The Mediterranean diet which includes fish and plant-based foods seems to improve protective effects and helps burn fat faster. In a study with people aged 18-35 eating foods with polyunsaturated fatty acids—like wild salmon—may improve fat metabolism and lower cholesterol.

Bottom line: The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that we shift from a diet high in saturated fats to a diet rich in heart-healthy unsaturated fats, like those in wild salmon and plant-based proteins. Strive for two to three servings per week.

In addition to the nutritional benefits, most of the Easy Salmon recipes, many from our customers, we have on our website can be made in 30 minutes or less.

These recipes from our customers are fun, unique takes on meals that include our heart-healthy Easy Salmon.

Work Easy Salmon into your family meals routine for easy, delicious, nutritious and rewarding meals together with your family!

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How to cook Alaska Gold wild king salmon and coho salmon

King Salmon Fillet

Wild salmon from the cold, clear waters of Alaska ranks as some of the world’s finest seafood. For extraordinary taste and extraordinary health benefits, eat more wild salmon.

There is no more optimal source of protein than wild salmon. Lean but dense with nutrients at the same time, wild salmon is a perfect protein. Heart-healthy with the right profile of fat, protein and nutrients, wild salmon is loaded with healthy benefits. It’s even good for your hands and skin!

These tips will help you become a salmon pro:

1. Start with excellent quality salmon. The line-caught wild salmon delivered by Alaska Gold Seafood is of the best quality. This quality comes from the catch methods our fishermen use and the handling procedures on their boats. This quality extends all the way to our customers with careful temperature control and our Alaska Gold Customer Service.

2. Our Alaska Gold salmon is delivered to your door frozen on dry ice to maintain temperature control. Remove dry ice. (DO NOT USE BARE HANDS to remove dry ice!)

3. Put salmon in freezer upon receipt. You should receive tracking info via email to know when to expect delivery.

4. The best way to thaw is to put in your refrigerator for 24 hours. Each individually vacuum-sealed salmon portion can be removed from freezer and thawed in your fridge, one at a time, for use whenever you’d like to eat it.

5. After 24-hour thaw in your refrigerator, remove and cut open vacuum-sealed package. Remove salmon portion from package.

6. Rinse and dry the fillet with a paper towel. Let sit out on your counter for a good 20 minutes to let the salmon get to room temperature. (When it’s too cold, the salmon will stick to your grill or pan.)

7. Marinate if desired in a favorite purchased or prepared marinade.

8. Pre-heat the grill if grilling or the pan if sauteing. We have some seafood cooking tips here on how to roast, bake or poach our salmon. Poaching is an excellent method to enjoy our coho salmon. If grilling, we’re big advocates of using a tin foil to make a tent to help retain the salmon’s moisture. Dry salmon is the worst and the best thing you can do is to prevent dryness. Using the “tin foil salmon tent” goes a long way to help retain the salmon’s moisture and natural flavors. Cook for about 10 minutes per inch of fish thickness. Turning is not necessary. Start “checking” the fish after 8 minutes. We like the fish when it starts flaking easily. We encourage you to cook slowly if grilling or baking–250º F is a great temperature, though there are merits to cooking at higher temperatures. We have some wild salmon recipes here.

9. DON’T OVERCOOK!! This is probably the biggest mistake made when cooking seafood. Overcooked fish is dry and unpalatable. When you remove your salmon fillets from the grill, they will continue to cook a little as they sit, so remove them from the grill when they are just nearly done. Salmon is done when it turns a light pink color throughout and feels firm when pressed gently with the back of a fork. Enjoy!

Many of us enjoy our Alaska Gold salmon with the most basic of pairings. Sea salt and a little pepper. I use the dried lavender from my yard, some sea salt and an orange rind to make a lavender sea salt rub, the seasoning that I have most often on my grilled salmon. Other herbs from the garden that pair well with salmon include dill and tarragon. The combination of honey and soy makes a savory sweet combination that goes well with salmon. Lemon and garlic also go well. Take 2 tablespoons butter, 2 teaspoons garlic, the juice from one lemon, a dash of of pepper and two of our coho salmon portions to make a simply delicious meal. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in garlic. Season salmon with pepper and a pinch of salt. Put portions in skin side up for four minutes and then flip and cook for another four minutes. Squeeze some lemon juice onto the salmon. You can substitute olive oil for butter.

How to pick a salmon: There are 5 varieties of commercially available wild Pacific Salmon. Each of these 5 have their virtues. In terms of richness, king salmon (otherwise known as chinook) is king. King salmon are the largest of the five species and are prized for their high oil content and are the salmon frequently featured on upscale restaurant menus. Sockeye salmon is also very flavorful and is known for its distinctive bright red flesh color and complex, robust flavor. Coho salmon (which is frequently called silver salmon) is known for its milder flavor. Families with children enjoy coho salmon but kids like the mild flavor. Coho salmon is best when line-caught like our Alaska Gold salmon. Versatile, coho salmon is a great option to grill or poach. It’s also the perfect salmon with which to make gravlax. If you smoke salmon or cure salmon at home, coho salmon is ideal. Keta salmon is also called chum salmon or dog salmon because it was fed to sled dogs. Though maligned as dog food, when caught in its silver bright color, keta salmon has a mild, nutty flavor, which can be quite pleasant. Pink salmon, which fishermen call “humpies” for the humpback that male pink salmon develop when spawning, is the most populous salmon. It cans and smokes well, which is how you’ll most frequently encounter it. Fish sold as Atlantic salmon, Scottish salmon, or New Zealand salmon is sure to be farmed salmon, as there are no commercially available wild Atlantic salmon in the United States and farmed salmon were introduced to New Zealand. Our Alaska Gold salmon is all wild-caught in the cold, clear waters of Alaska, which has sustainable fishing written into the state constitution. It’s quicker and less expensive to produce a farmed salmon than catching a wild salmon, but quality, in addition to environmental and ethical concerns factor into that lower price. Some people find farmed salmon flabby and off tasting. We find our wild-caught Alaska Gold salmon to have superior flavor, color and a firmer texture. In addition, with state of the art freezing technology, our Alaska Gold salmon can be enjoyed year-round. We recommend storing in your home freezer for no longer than 3 months. Ideally, use the coldest setting on your freezer. Those with dedicated meat/seafood freezers will get longer shelf life on their seafood because opening and shutting the door on your freezer presents slight temperature changes, which are second only to poor boat and dockside handling in terms of reducing quality in seafood.

Every once in a while, customers request a whole salmon. We have thought of offering whole salmon through our website. However, how would we box it in a manner suitable for a home consumer? Each salmon weighs a different amount. It would be difficult to make a consistent size package every time. Also, if we’re feeding a family of 5 to 6, then a whole salmon might make sense. But most people are feeding two to four people at mealtime and usually don’t have the space in their kitchen to “break down” a salmon. Filleting and “breaking down” a salmon is much more difficult than it looks. So we do that all for you. We offer individually vacuum-sealed portion packages. The most popular are our 8-ounce king salmon portions and our 6-ounce coho salmon portions. For those filling their freezers or sharing with friends to buy for a larger group, we offer discounted prices on our bulk salmon offerings. We also offer what we call fillets but most customers will identify as “sides.” These are the whole side of the salmon. These  wild coho salmon sides are ideal for making gravlax and for grilling. Just contact us with any questions on the ideal amount to order.

Our Alaska Gold Easy Salmon Burger Meat be made into burgers, tacos, even a breakfast hash for nutrient-dense, family-friendly meals. Check out the long list of Easy Salmon Recipes made by our customers.

 

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Top 5 Reasons to Eat Seafood for Health

Coho Salmon with Peach Salsa
Baked Coho Salmon with Tamari Peach Salsa Recipe. Photo by Food Network Star top finalist Emma Frisch at emmafrisch.com.

80 to 90% of Americans are not meeting the recommended two to three servings of seafood‬ per week. And there are a lot of reasons we should be eating more heart-healthy delicious Alaska Seafood.

Here are our Top 5 Reasons to Eat Seafood for Health:

  1. Seafood is a low calorie protein. Just a small 3-ounce portion offers a third of the recommended daily protein. Plus, with less connective tissue, fish protein is easier to digest than red meat or poultry. Seafood is also a much heart-healthier protein source. Studies suggest that if you include one portion of seafood in your weekly diet, you may halve the chances of suffering a heart attack.
  2. For expecting moms, eating seafood is super important for their baby’s brain and eye development.
  3. In order to get the minimum recommended 1750mg of weekly Omega-3 proteins, eat at least 2 servings of seafood. You can get that amount of Omega-3s and more with just one of our salmon or tuna portions.
  4. Seafood is versatile. Our coho salmon works well with so many different recipes, like this Baked Coho Salmon with Tamari Peach Salsa. Halibut doesn’t lose flavor or texture to poaching, grilling, sauteing, or however you like to cook it.
  5. Seafood is a good source of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Just a single serving of salmon provides the daily requirement for Vitamin D.

Here’s what some of our fitness-minded customers are telling us. An ultra-marathoner from Idaho who regularly orders our king salmon portions recently discovered our canned albacore tuna: “I am loving the canned albacore as a mid-day protein hit.” He takes it on backpacking trips and other adventures to get a quick, easy delicious protein shot.

A weight lifter from Kansas who subscribes to our Alaska Gold Loyalty Program told us: “We’re doing more salmon for breakfast these days. Sweet potato and salmon, and my lifts are greatly improved.”

 

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Eat Seafood…Be Happy! Seafood and Omega-3 Fatty Proteins

Omega-3s
Eat Seafood…Be Happy!

Eat Seafood…Be Happy!

Eating seafood can improve your mood. Really.

Omega-3s block the actions of inflammatory chemicals, protecting the brain from harmful toxins that can alter function and distort mood. Omega-3 fatty acids encourage brain cell membrane integrity and fluidity. Research suggests that a deficiency in EPA/DHA, long chain Omega-3 fatty acids that are found in seafood, like salmon, black cod, and albacore tuna, can predispose people to chronic illnesses like Alzheimer’s Disease and impair cognitive function. In one study, Australian researchers discovered that Omega-3s may prevent psychoses in those aged 12-25, an age most susceptible to mental illness. As a bonus, a study from Sweden revealed that children that eat oily fish like salmon, tuna, and black cod, have a reduced risk of nasal allergies. That’s happy news for those of us who love fish!

It’s important to get the right type of Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Omega-3 fatty acids cannot be produced in the human body and must be produced by outside sources. Many people use omega-3 supplement for a few weeks, notice no difference in their health, and give up. There is no real way of knowing that the claims on the side of a bottle are indicative of a good product.  There are varying amounts of Omega-3s in supplements. The Omega-3s might contain short chain Omega-3s instead of the vastly more preferred long chain Omega-3s in seafood. It’s also not entirely certain that we process the Omega-3s in supplements as well as we do in a delicious meal, such as grilled salmon, miso-marinated black cod or a tuna melt made with line-caught tuna, which is much higher in Omega-3s than conventional tuna.

So what can you do? Eat seafood three times a week! Wild Salmon, black cod, and line-caught tuna are as healthy as you can get and loaded with Omega-3s in their most authentic and purest form to nourish your brain. The Omega-3s in seafood also reduce heart disease and lower cholesterol. Studies have also found that fish oil can help combat ailments such as rheumatoid arthritis, breast cancer, and migraines. Furthermore, salmon is an excellent source of protein and essential amino acids.  Omega-3s also offer special support for joint cartilage, insulin effectiveness, and control of inflammation in the digestive tract and joints. Seafood and Omega-3 Fatty Proteins are the ultimate super food and have been recognized by many as having a powerful

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Canned tuna: an alternative to the snack bar

canned tuna
Canned tuna for hikes

Our canned tuna is so good you can eat it right out of the can and enjoy a delicious snack on a hike, bike ride or at work. Easily portable and loaded with nutritional benefits, take a can of tuna with you on your next adventure.

At full web price our canned tuna $0.83 per ounce vs $1.20 per ounce for the leading snack bar. In addition, if one snack bar were the same size as one 56g tin of tuna it would have over 3 times the amount of calories from fat, while our tuna has half the saturated fat, twice the protein, and well over 1000mg of Omega-3 fatty acids.

Take our canned tuna on your next hike, bike ride or adventure and you’ll be convinced! You can eat it right out of the can or put it in a jar with some nuts and dried fruit for a complete, nutritious meal on the road.

An ultra-marathoner customer of ours from Idaho who regularly orders our king salmon portions discovered our canned albacore tuna: “I am loving the canned albacore as a mid-day protein hit.” He takes it on backpacking trips and other adventures outside of Sun Valley.

 

 

 

 

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Wild Salmon, Nature’s Perfect Protein

wild salmon health benefits infographic

Wild Salmon, Nature’s Perfect Protein

With abundant, sustainably managed runs in Alaska, wild salmon not only taste great but are loaded with healthy benefits that are life enhancing. Wild salmon are nature’s way of offering us a way to improve our health and wellbeing.  Delicious and rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A and D, B-complex vitamins, selenium, zinc, potassium, and iron, wild salmon represents a high-quality lean meat. It is nature’s perfect protein.

We have known for years that the Omega-3 fatty acids that salmon are known for are an essential nutrient and an integral part of every cell membrane in our bodies, creating healthier cells that reduce chronic diseases. Recent studies show that Omega-3s offer benefits for the heart, mind, and joints. A recent study by a Mayo Clinic team completed a study with 732,000 subjects that participants with higher intakes of Omega-3s had an 18 percent average drop in coronary heart disease. There are increasing studies revealing how important the Omega-3s in wild seafood are for heart health. All these studies recommend eating fish 2 times a week. The power of wild seafood and Omega 3s is not about solving a disease but about long-term benefits for our health.

We can even add cancer prevention and skin-protection  to the list of health benefits conferred by omega-3 fatty acids! Omega-3s are called “essential fatty acids” because they are essential for body functions. Our bodies cannot make these types of fats on their own, so that is why nature provides us with fatty fish like salmon. (While wild and farmed salmon have comparable levels of omega-3s, farmed salmon is generally much higher in omega-6 fats typically found in the vegetable oils used in home kitchens and in almost all take-out, prepared, and packaged foods. Most Americans eat way too many Omega-6 fatty acids and don’t get enough Omega-3s for the optimal balance.)

KPFilet&PortionsCool
Alaska Gold king salmon.

Fish, especially salmon, really is brain food. Omega-3s have been associated with improved “mental health” status, including a reduction in depression, anxiety, bipolar disease, dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. It may be surprising to learn that the human brain is mostly composed of fat.  Fats, along with water, are the main components of brain cell membranes and nerves. Omega-3 fatty acids are types of fats that are involved with brain development in infants and with maintaining healthy brain function in adults. We know that populations with the highest fish consumption, such as Japan, Finland and Greenland, have the lowest rates of depression.  It’s possible that Omega-3 intake is a contributor. One study showed that a diet lacking in omega-3 fatty acids may cause the brain to age faster and lose some memory and thinking capabilities.  People with lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their red blood cells had lower brain volumes. These findings and associations add to previous observations regarding the lower risk of brain abnormalities in persons eating fish like salmon three times a week.

There is also emerging research that shows that seafood such as salmon might also play a role in cancer prevention. This is not surprising because omega-3 fatty acids have powerful anti-inflammatory properties and we know that cancer starts as inflamed tissue.

The anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fatty acids also make them an effective alternative and supplement to the non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs typically given to arthritis patients. Most national and international arthritis associations now recommend the use of fatty fish such as salmon for the treatment of arthritic pain.

When we’re stressed, our anxiety hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, spike. “The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon have anti-inflammatory properties that may help counteract the negative effects of stress hormones,” says Lisa Cimperman, RD, of the University Hospitals Case Medical Center and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In a study at Oregon State University funded by the National Institutes of Health, students who took omega-3 supplements had a 20% reduction in anxiety compared to the group given placebo pills.

One 3-ounce serving of cooked wild salmon can have more than 2,000 milligrams of omega-3s, double the daily intake recommended by the American Heart Association for people with heart disease.

Nutrients less frequently talked about in conjunction with salmon are vitamin D, iron, and zinc.  Seafood is one of the few naturally-rich food sources of vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin involved in calcium metabolism and bone health and responsible for repair and maintenance of the body…a huge task!  Additionally, vitamin D helps to regulate cell growth, decrease inflammation, and maintain healthy immune function.  Some of the richest seafood sources for this vitamin are fatty fish like salmon. Besides sunlight, salmon is one of the few natural sources of vitamin D. Salmon, along with whale and walrus flesh/fat and polar bear livers, most likely provided our sun-deprived northern populations with much needed vitamin D for centuries!

In addition to Vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids, there is increasing knowledge on the  health benefits of a little known compound that makes salmon red:  astaxanthins (pronounced “asta-ZAN-thins).  This naturally occurring carotenoid is found in algae, shrimp, lobster, and crab, but is by far richest in salmon. This compound is produced by certain kinds of algae. Small crustaceans eat this astaxanthin rich algae and then are eaten by wild Pacific/Alaskan salmon, thereby passing on the nutritious color pigments and thus causing the red-orange hue in the fish. For salmon, scientists believe that astaxanthin may help provide the endurance that spawning salmon need to swim upstream for hundreds of miles, leaping and jumping all along the way. For humans, astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant with broad health implications. Wild salmon are the richest human food source of astaxanthin by far. It is important to note that wild salmon have four times higher astaxanthin content than farmed salmon and contain natural astaxanthin instead of synthetic astaxanthin.  Natural astaxanthin is proving to have much more health benefits than synthetic.

In conclusion, salmon offers the heft of a steak but a lot more health benefits. Wild salmon runs in Alaska are plentiful, sustainably managed for future generations to fish the same way we are fishing now. When you get wild Alaskan salmon, you are supporting an American industry. When you get wild salmon from Alaska Gold Seafood, you are supporting a cooperative of quality-oriented family businesses that has had a relentless commitment to quality since 1944.

 

Author Cindy Brinn, RD
Author Cindy Brinn is a nutrition specialist.

A lot of this information was compiled and originally written by Cindy Brinn MPH, RD, CDE, BC-ADM, our health and nutrition expert. She practiced over ten years as a clinical dietitian specializing in nutrition support at large regional hospitals and small community hospitals.  In 1995 she started her career in behavior change and the application of modern nutrition therapy and diabetes management in an outpatient setting.  A well respected and sought after speaker, Cindy lectures frequently at local and regional conferences on food choices and chronic disease prevention and treatment.  Attendees describe her talks as “dynamic, inspiring and personally very applicable” Cindy’s many certifications include Registered and Certified Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, and Board Certified Advanced Diabetes Management.  She established and manages the ADA recognized Nutrition & Diabetes Education Clinic at St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham, WA and continues to make professional presentations throughout the country.

 

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Pregnant? Eat more fish

Pregnant women should eat more fish
Here’s our friend Emma Frisch, whose newborn daughter has lots of red hair “from all that salmon I ate in my pregnancy.” Photo by Andy Noyes Photography (www.andynoyes.com).

Recently, the FDA changed its recommendations for pregnant women eating seafood (and from the FDA here) to encourage pregnant mothers to eat more seafood. It turns out that the rewards of eating seafood, especially certain types like salmon, will actually make your baby smarter. Or at least improve cognitive development and  could reduce autism-spectrum traits.

A recent study in Spain that included 2000 mother-child pairs from first trimester of pregnancy to the child’s fifth birthday showed that when mothers eat three sizeable servings of fish each week during pregnancy it may benefit children’s brains for years to come. The study found improved brain function in kids whose mothers ate the most fish while pregnant. Children were tested at ages 14 months and five years to assess their cognitive abilities and Asperger Syndrome traits, and to monitor their neuropsychological development. The link between higher maternal seafood consumption and improved brain development in children was especially apparent when kids were five years old. The researchers also saw a consistent reduction in autism-spectrum traits with increased maternal seafood consumption.

Because of fears over mercury contamination in fish, the FDA issued a cautionary statement in 1994 to women who were pregnant and many pregnant women chose to completely exclude seafood from their diets. However, more and more research has pointed out that the benefits of eating fish far outweigh the risks. Emerging research suggests that reduced seafood intake is very likely increasing the risk of complications and limiting brain development in our children!

In 2010 the U.S. government researched and endorsed the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans and included this new evidence in their recommendations to pregnant and breastfeeding women.  The guidelines include 8-12 oz. weekly of fish and seafood low in mercury to support the growth and development of the fetus and infant. While pregnant women are aware of the recommended amounts of milk and dairy foods as well as fruit and vegetables, seafood has not made it to the MUST EAT WEEKLY list for most pregnant women; in fact seafood unfortunately may very well be on their do not eat list.

The primary reason to include fish and seafood products in the diet during pregnancy is that they are one of the very few sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA. (Omega-3 fatty acids are available in a few other foods, like walnuts, but are typically not found in their more potent long-chain form.) Babies need enough DHA for proper nervous system development, including visual and cognitive development.  There is also emerging research that adequate DHA intake helps prevent premature delivery.  We now know that near full term delivery supports brain development in the fetus.  In addition, omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy may prevent or help manage perinatal depression, reduce body fat in infancy and childhood and improve immune response.

A key study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2008 (Oken, E. 88;789-96) observed over 25,000 children born to mothers participating in a 5-year Danish study. The researchers wanted to evaluate the odds of higher development scores with maternal fish intake. Those women with at least 3 servings (12 oz.) of fish each week (cod, salmon, mackerel or herring) had infants that scored 30% higher on motor, social and cognitive skill tests than infants whose mothers had eaten less than 1 serving each week of seafood. Research indeed does suggest that attainment of developmental milestones in infancy can predict cognitive outcomes in adulthood such as education attainment and intelligence quotient.

A review in a prominent medical journal, The Lancet, (Hibbeln, JR. Lancet 369:578-585; Feb. 2007) came to similar conclusions as they observed nearly 12,000 women and infants in England and found that the ideal amount of seafood consumption to maximize infant health was at least 11oz. per week; they mentioned that there were no detrimental effects at consumption higher than this and found no reason to limit the intake of low mercury seafood to less than 12 oz. per week.  The researchers  reported numerous adverse outcomes associated with insufficient intakes of omega-3 fatty acids including growth retardation, delayed depth perception, adverse neurodevelopmental measures, deficits in fine motor skills, reduced speed of information processing in infants and irreversible deficits in serotonin and dopamine release.  The authors concluded that “advice to limit seafood consumption during pregnancy could actually be detrimental”.

Other points to bear in mind:

  • Seafood consumption rates by Americans are among the lowest of all developed nations.
  • The omega-3 fatty acid content of American breast milk is among the lowest in the world.

There are just too many health benefits to eating fish to ignore. These health benefits also include:

  • Seafood helps develop healthy bones and teeth
  • Seafood promotes immune function
  • Seafood promotes cognitive function
  • Seafood helps maintain heart health
  • Seafood helps with healthier pregnancies
  • And many more…

Research shows that pregnant American women only consume an average of 2 oz. per week of seafood and that contradictory media messages have many women confused about the problem of eating unsafe fish.  Health professionals and the media need to get the best information to pregnant and breastfeeding women:  Eat your seafood, 12 ounces of a variety each week and limit high mercury seafood—shark, swordfish, tilefish and king mackerel.

None of the fish we sell tests high for mercury content and all of the fish we sell are high in selenium, which is an essential mineral that counteracts mercury toxicity.

We also still occasionally get questions about contamination from Fukushima. Alaska has repeatedly been tested negative for radiation. In addition, Delvin Neville, lead author of a Oregon State University study on radioactivity in Pacific Albacore, for example, says radiation levels are far lower than what we’re exposed to annually from sources like air, soil and X-rays. Just to equal an X-ray dose, you would have to eat more than 700,000 pounds of albacore, for example. A flight from New York to Los Angeles is equivalent to eating approximately 9792 pounds of tuna in terms of radioactivity. Or, you would get the same dose of radiation from eating a banana if you ate 25 pounds of tuna.

Our king salmon, coho salmon, sablefish (black cod), halibut and albacore tuna are great, healthy choices for the pregnant mom!

Cindy Brinn MPH, RD, CDE, BC-ADM

Author Cindy Brinn, RD