When I started my weight loss journey in September 2019, I began eating more fish. And I soon had a favorite fish – salmon. But I didn’t eat the fish skin. I didn’t really have any specific reasons. My husband, on the other hand, loved the salmon skin especially when it was crispy. He felt that it was the healthiest part. So what are the health benefits of salmon skin? Keep reading and maybe you’ll be convinced to eat the skin as I now do!
Most experts recommend that we have two portions of fish a week as part of a healthy lifestyle. Numerous studies have shown that eating fish lowers the risk of heart disease, specifically heart attacks, heart failure, strokes, and sudden cardiac deaths. Fish may also lower the risk of depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and other chronic conditions.
Safety Concerns of Salmon and Salmon Skin
Salmon is probably one of the most popular and readily available types of fish. It is also one of the best and safest choices for fish according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Speaking of safety, you may have heard of the concern about high levels of mercury in fish. In addition to mercury, fish may contain other pollutants including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins, and pesticide residues. PCBs may harm your immune system, reproductive system, and nervous system. These pollutants have also been linked to cancer and birth defects.
Therefore, it’s important to get your salmon (and other fish) from the best sources to lower the risk of potential contaminants especially if you eat the skin. Both wild-caught and farmed raised salmon may contain pollutants.
However, according to a study by Indiana University, wild salmon is better than farmed raised salmon. Furthermore, wild-caught salmon from the Pacific Ocean is safer for consumption than Atlantic salmon. Remember that sometimes farmed salmon is inaccurately labeled as wild caught! Due to these safety concerns, nursing and pregnant women may want to avoid salmon and/or salmon skin.
The Health Benefits of Salmon Skin
So let’s take a look at the health benefits of salmon skin. Not only is salmon healthy, but the skin is also uber healthy. Don’t throw it away!
Like the salmon meat, salmon skin is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, a good amount of protein, B vitamins, and selenium, Additionally, the skin has essential nutrients not found in the flesh such as vitamin D, phosphorus, and potassium.
Excellent Source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Wild salmon live in freezing ocean water. One of the consequences of this is that the salmon skin develops the highest concentration of omega-3 fatty acids to help keep the salmon warm in these extremely cold ocean temperatures.
Omega-3 fatty acids are important for the proper functioning of the human body and have a number of health benefits. Furthermore, our bodies can only get these fats from the food we eat. This high level of omega-3 fatty acids in salmon skin is one of the main health benefits of salmon skin.
- Lower Triglycerides
Omega-3 fatty acids can lower the fat, called triglycerides, in your blood. High levels of triglycerides put you at risk for heart disease and strokes. They can also lower blood pressure and raise your good HDL cholesterol level.
- Plaque Free Arteries
Your arteries can also benefit from omega-3s as it can help to keep them plaque free.
- Fight Inflammation
Inflammation is what happens when your body reacts to an infection and damage. Chronic, long-term high levels of inflammation have been linked to heart disease and cancer. But the good news is that omega-3 fatty acids can reduce inflammation.
- Lower Risk of Auto-Immune Diseases
There are a number of auto-immune diseases that omega-3 fatty acids can fight, including type 1 diabetes, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriasis.
- Protect Your Eyes
Omega-3 fatty acids can also improve your eye health and protect your eyes from macular degeneration. Macular degeneration can lead to permanent eye damage and blindness.
- Reduce Belly Fat
Belly fat may be reduced with more consumption of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Reduce Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome
Omega-3 may reduce the symptoms of those suffering from metabolic syndrome.
- Help with Brain Health
Some studies have shown that there are lower incidents of depression in cultures that consume foods with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. On the other hand, low omega-3 levels have been found in people with mental disorders.
Omega-3 fatty acids are believed to fight Alzheimer’s disease and age-related mental decline.
Furthermore, omega-3 may promote brain function during pregnancy and in young children
- Lower Risk of Certain Cancers
Breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer have been found in some studies with high omega-3 consumption. One study published in BMC Cancer concluded that omega-3 fatty acids may help to prevent cancer.
- Improved Bone Health and Joint Function
Omega-3 fatty acids can boost the calcium in your bones and may reduce your risk of osteoporosis and may be able to help with arthritis.
- Better Skin
prevent premature aging, and acne, and protect your skin from sun damage.
- May Help with Menstrual Cramps
Studies have shown that women who consume omega-3 fatty acids have milder menstrual pain.
- Reduce Liver Fat
Omega-3s may reduce liver fat in people who have non-acholic fatty liver.
- Improve Sleep
Research indicates that omega-s may improve sleep.
- Reduce Asthma in Children
Omega-3 fatty acids has been shown to reduce asthma in children.
- Reduce Symptoms of ADHD in Children
Symptoms of ADHD in children may be reduced by eating foods, like salmon and salmon skin, with omega-3 fatty acids.
Good Source of Protein
The salmon skin is also a good concentrated source of protein. Protein is not only important for health, but weight loss and weight management. The protein in the skin of salmon may:
- Reduce appetite, hunger, and cravings
- Boost metabolism
- Lower high blood pressure
- Build muscle mass
Salmon skin is packed with B vitamins, especially vitamin B12. B12 may lower your risk of osteoporosis, and age-related macular degeneration. It may also improve your mood and help with symptoms of depression.
Vitamin B12 deficiency has been linked to memory loss in the elderly. Fatigue and lack of energy are also associated with B12 deficiency. Finally, B12 is important for healthy skin, hair, and nails.
The skin of the salmon, especially wild-caught salmon, is one of the few natural food sources of vitamin D. Vitamin D is important for strong healthy bones and may also help with inflammation and infections. There is some evidence that vitamin D may lower the growth of cancer cells.
Salmon skin is high in selenium which is a powerful antioxidant. It protects us from free radicals and reduces oxidative stress. Selenium also boosts immune function and helps with metabolism and thyroid function. It may also protect against cognitive decline and reduce the risk of certain cancers.
Phosphorus is a mineral that is important for strong bones and teeth. The body also uses phosphorus with protein to build and repair cells and tissues. Phosphorus can help the nervous system, kidneys, muscles, and heartbeat.
Potassium is an essential nutrient that helps the body maintain normal levels of fluids inside the cells. It’s also important for blood pressure and helping the muscles contract.
Ways to Enjoy Salmon Skin
Salmon is a great option for protein, especially for those of us trying to reduce our red meat consumption. Cooking salmon with skin helps preserve the nutrient value of the fish. Also, the oil and fat in salmon skin help keep the meat moist and flavorful during cooking.
The best way to eat salmon skin is when it’s grilled, pan seared, or baked and crispy. The salmon scales should be removed before cooking as they are really not edible.
There are various ways to enjoy salmon skin. But the easiest way is to simply eat the skin when you eat the rest of the salmon. Moreover, crispy salmon skin can be sliced and eaten as a snack when you’re craving something crunchy. You can add salmon skin to sandwiches and wraps. Or add the skin to salads like you would croutons or bacon bits.
Salmon skin can be added to soups, smoothies, cereal, omelets, casseroles, dips, pasta, grain dishes, and stews to add a bit of crunch as well as boost your protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Also try salmon skin crackers, salmon skin chips, salmon skin jerky or salmon skin bacon.
Will You Try Salmon Skin?
So as you can see that is a long list of the health benefits of salmon skin. Eating salmon skin is an excellent way to get protein, vitamins, and minerals in your diet. Plus, salmon skin has a high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids and healthy fats, which support heart health and brain health, metabolism, and growth. Plus you can have glowing skin, healthy hair, and beautiful nails from eating salmon skin.
The next time you have a salmon fillet with crispy skin, give it a try. Don’t throes away this nutrient rich food!
Remember that the quality of the fish is important. Choose Pacific salmon and avoid those from the Atlantic ocean or farmed raised,
Will you try salmon skin?