Salmon is good bodybuilding food. There’s lots to love about this hardy fish that travels hundreds or even thousands of miles just to spawn. Salmon is high in muscle-building protein and an excellent source of heart-healthy fats. There are plenty of reasons to eat it if you’re trying to build a leaner, more defined body. Here’s how to get the benefits from salmon.
Why You Need It if You Work Out
Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, healthy fats that reduce inflammation, protect against heart disease and boost brain function. But why do you need this fish in your diet if you work out? The omega-3s in salmon reduce insulin resistance. This means your body doesn’t have to pump out as much insulin to ferry glucose into cells. Less insulin floating around in your bloodstream is a good thing since insulin is a hormone that boosts fat storage.
Salmon is also an excellent source of body-enhancing protein. A single serving of canned salmon has 15 grams of protein and only 90 calories. It’s tough to beat that profile.
How to Get the Most Benefits From Salmon
To get the benefits of salmon without the risks, choose wild salmon over farmed. Farmed salmon contains high levels of toxins like PCBs that may increase the risk of cancer. Some farm raised salmon is also injected with dyes to make them look fresher and more appealing on store shelves. Wild salmon can be more difficult to find, and it may be more expensive. You can usually find it at a good price in cans at the grocery store. Check the label on the can, and make sure it says “wild caught Alaskan salmon.” If the label says Atlantic salmon, it’s farmed.
Canned Salmon vs. Fresh Salmon
There are some advantages to eating canned salmon other than the price. Canned salmon contains bones, although you can buy boneless canned salmon too. The bones are a good source of calcium. In fact, a single serving of canned salmon supplies 18% of the day’s requirements for calcium. If it doesn’t sound appetizing to eat salmon bones, mash them into fine pieces and make salmon cakes. You can also make a cold salmon salad using low-fat mayonnaise. Chances are you won’t notice the bones if you chop them up very finely, and include them in the salad.
There is one drawback to eating canned salmon. When it’s processed for canning, some of the heart-healthy fats are removed. You only get about half the omega-3s with canned salmon that you get when you eat fresh, wild Alaskan salmon, but canned salmon is also lower in calories than salmon fillets.
How to Add More Salmon to Your Diet
Use canned salmon as a substitute for tuna in tuna salad. Make salmon patties or a salmon loaf using salmon from a can. Add chunks of salmon to eggs to make the ultimate high-protein omelet. Use a food processor, low-fat cream cheese, dill weed and capers to make a mouth-watering salmon dip for veggies.
If you order salmon in a restaurant, always ask whether it’s wild. Many restaurants use farm-raised salmon because of the cost. Eat farm-raised salmon too often, and you could accumulate unhealthy toxins and offset the health benefits of this nutritious fish.
The Bottom Line?
Salmon is good bodybuilding food. Choose your salmon wisely to get the most body-enhancing benefits.
University of Maryland Medical Center. “Omega-3 Fatty Acids”
Life Extension magazine. “Mechanism found for omega-3 fatty acids in reducing insulin resistance and inflammation”
World’s Healthiest Foods website. “Salmon”