Anyone who follows my recommendations knows that I’m wild about wild salmon. Wild salmon is a great medicinal food loaded with heart-healthy omega-3 benefits. Omega-3s are essential fatty acids (EFAs), which can’t be manufactured by the body (hence the name “essential”).
Omega-3 benefits affect the heart in many different ways. These healthy fats penetrate layers of cholesterol-laden plaque, soothing inflammation in blood vessels and preventing blood-clotting deposits from lining coronary arteries. Other omega-3 benefits include preventing spasms of the coronary blood vessels and rupturing plaque. In one study, people who ate two meals of fatty fish per month—such as salmon—experienced a 30 percent reduction in cardiac arrest. Four fatty-fish meals a month were associated with a 50 percent reduction in cardiac arrest!
Wild salmon also contains a powerful carotenoid called astaxanthin, which gives salmon its distinctive color. Astaxanthin packs a serious antioxidant punch to free radicals, helping to prevent the oxidation of fats in the body. And this super fish is also a great source of CoQ10, another potent antioxidant that is essential for cardiac health because of its crucial role in producing cellular energy.
Get more of Dr. Sinatra's advice on Omega-3s
Cellular energy is particularly important to the heart, because the heart requires more energy than any other organ in the body. So, the more energy the heart can produce, the more efficient it will be—making the CoQ10 in salmon perfect for supporting a strong heart.
Selecting Your Salmon
Not all salmon are created equal, however, which is why above I say that I’m wild about wild salmon. Wild salmon feed naturally on smaller fish.
Farm-raised salmon, on the other hand, are typically grown in pens and fed fish meal containing chemicals associated with cancer and reproductive problems. These fish are also fed artificial coloring to create the orange hue. In addition, farm-raised salmon are likely to contain PCBs, mercury, and other contaminants that combine to have an inflammatory effect on the body. So, whenever possible, select wild salmon. But if you can't find wild salmon, look for organic salmon from the tidal waters of Norway. That's the best alternative to wild salmon.
Try These Heart-Healthy Salmon Recipes
WATCH: Dr. Sinatra's Top 12 Healing Foods
Video courtesy of HeartMDInstitute