Eat REAL Food

Nutrition Fundamental #1: Eat REAL Food.

The next few posts will be dedicated to nutrition principles that everyone should live by.  But before I get into the nitty-gritty, let’s make sure we are all on the same page.  Whenever I recommend a particular food, it will always be the pure, unadulterated, natural version of the food that I am recommending.  

Take salmon.  I definitely recommend eating salmon, but there is a vast difference between wild salmon and farm-raised salmon.  Wild salmon has been caught from the ocean where it is raised in its natural environment.  Wild salmon eat krill, shrimp, sardines and other ocean fish which are nutritional powerhouses, thus passing on incredible nutrition to you, the salmon eater.  Wild salmon have richly colored skin because their diet is so rich in the natural pigment astaxanthin which has ten times the antioxidant power of beta-carotene.  Wild salmon are also an important source of anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fatty acids which are necessary for the health of every cell in your body (much more on Omega-3 fats in future posts). 

The SalmoFan color wheel

Unfortunately, farm-raised salmon are NOT the same food as wild-caught salmon.  Farmed salmon are raised in aquafarms where antibiotics are given through feed and by injection in order to keep disease from running rampant through the crowded populations. These fish are fed fish meal which contains corn and other grains along with some ground up fish in order to fatten them up quickly, a far cry from their natural diet.  And because their grain diet produces a grey-colored flesh, the farmers choose from a color wheel the synthetic pigment they’d like their fish to be. 

And what about those powerful Omega-3 fatty acids that are supposed to be found in salmon?  Grain fed fish have much lower levels of Omega-3 fatty acids while having a higher overall percentage of fat, mostly from pro-inflamatory Omega-6 fatty acids.  There have also been many concerns raised regarding the contamination levels found in farmed fish.  For example, cancer-causing PCB’s have been found in farmed fish at 16 times higher concentrations than that found in wild caught salmon.

Should you eat farmed salmon?  This is a decision often based on finances as wild salmon can be very expensive.  Personally, I would eat canned salmon, which is usually wild caught, before buying farm-raised salmon.  If you’re still not sure of the quality difference, this article may help you make your decision: http://arizonaadvancedmedicine.com/articles/salmon_and_red_meat.html.

Buying foods as close as possible to their natural state does make a difference in nutritional content while also limiting environmental contaminants.  This is an important step toward nutritional wellness. 


Sources:

Bowden, J., The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, 2007, Fair Winds Press.http://arizonaadvancedmedicine.com/articles/salmon_and_red_meat.html

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