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Farmed Salmon: Naturally Nutritious

Farmed salmon is a healthy and nutritious food that offers health benefits for people of all ages. Salmon is one of the best sources of DHA and EPA Omega-3 fatty acids. It’s also a healthy source of high quality protein, rich in vitamins and minerals – and very low in saturated fat.

An Excellent Source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

All seafoods are healthy, delicious, natural sources of omega-3’s. And the Omega-3 content of farmed salmon surpasses all others.

Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Reduced Risk of Stroke and Heart Attack
Eating fish regularly appears to protect men and women from heart disease. Consumption of broiled or baked fish 3 or more times per week has been linked to a 49% lower risk  of death  from coronary heart disease (CHD) compared to those who ate these foods less than once per month. A 2006 study by Harvard researchers  also revealed that modest consumption of farmed salmon could reduce the risk of death from CHD by 36%. This reduced risk of CHD is due to the omega-3 fatty acids in fish - and the health benefits are greater for oily fish like salmon. At increased consumption levels, omega-3 fatty acids may also dramatically cut the mortality rate in heart attack survivors.

"We also found that fish or fish oil intake reduces total mortality by 17%, a remarkable reduction considering that this is the benefit for deaths from all causes,"

Dr. D. Mozaffarian, Harvard School of Public Health

Reduced Incidence of Alzheimer’s Disease

Omega-3 fatty acids are important components of the brain and nerves. Eating fish may therefore be favorable for optimal brain function. A study at the Rush Institute for Healthy Aging revealed that consumption of fish once a week among people aged 65-94 reduced the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease by 60%, compared to those who rarely or never ate fish.

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Other Autoimmune Diseases

Omega-3 fatty acids from seafood play a powerful role in modulating immune function. Omega-3’s are beneficial in the management of inflammation, joint pain and auto-immune diseases - such as arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and lupus erythematosus.

An Important Nutrition Component for Unborn and Breast-fed Babies

Seafood consumption during pregnancy and lactation may have a range of benefits. Getting enough omega-3’s is needed to build a developing child’s nervous system. DHA, one of the types of omega-3 fatty acids in salmon, is critical for normal eye and vision development in infants. Other studies suggest that omega-3’s improve cognitive development. These positive effects persist beyond infancy to influence cognition in later childhood. A 2006 study by Harvard researchers indicated that infants could obtain the benefit of omega-3’s from pregnant or nursing mothers who consumed fish.

Reduced Depression

A large-scale study by Dr. Joseph Hibbeln, chief of the outpatient clinic at The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, showed a connection between people in countries that consume large amounts of fish and low rates of depression.

A more specific study by Dr. Andrew Stall at McLean Hospital in Belmont, MA, focused on patients with bipolar disorder. Half of the subjects were given fish oil tablets while the other half received a placebo. After four months, half of the placebo patients had relapsed into depression while only two of the 15 fish oil patients had relapsed.

How Much Omega-3 Provides Benefits?

Canada’s Food  Guide advises Canadians to eat at least two 150 gram servings of fish every week - especially the kinds that are highest in omega-3 fats such as farmed salmon.  These recommendations are consistent with advice by experts around the world.

Low in Saturated Fats

Farmed salmon is lower in saturated fats than other protein sources.

Saturated Fat Content

Note: From http://www.northatlanticaquaculture.com/healthnutr_safe.php

Source of Important Vitamins and Minerals




Aids normal bone and tooth development and maintaining the health of the skin and membranes


Factor in energy metabolism and tissue formation


Factor in the formation and maintenance of bones and teeth and enhances calcium and phosphorus absorption and utilization


Aids in normal growth and development as well as being a factor in energy metabolism and tissue formation




Factor in the normal function of the thyroid gland


Factor in red blood cell formation


Factor in energy metabolism and tissue formation


Factor in the formation and maintenance of bones and teeth

Note: From www.northatlanticaquaculture.com/healthnutr_safe.php

Safety Assured

"Unfortunately, the media and others have… greatly exaggerated the unsubstantiated claim of a health risk from fish. These results from over two decades of research clearly show there is a greater health risk if adults fail to eat fish”
                                             Dr. E.  Rimm, Harvard School of Public Health

The Color of Salmon
The characteristic pink to red-orange color of wild and farmed salmon is due to naturally occurring pigments known as carotenoids. In addition to salmon, astaxanthin gives many crustaceans – such as shrimp, crawfish, crabs and lobster – their characteristic color. Living organisms require carotenoids for their proper growth and development. Carotenoids are like vitamins; if intakes are inadequate, health may be compromised. Only plants - and their microscopic relatives called microalgae – can actually make carotenoids. Animals must obtain carotenoids by eating plant material – or by eating an animal that consumes plant material.

In the wild, salmon fulfill their carotenoid requirement by eating small crustaceans and fish – whose food sources include the carotenoid-producing microalgae. Like their wild relatives, farmed salmon also need carotenoids for their normal growth and development. However, within their sea cages, farmed salmon do not have access to sufficient small crustaceans and fish to meet their requirements. As a result, salmon farmers must add carotenoids, along with other key vitamins and minerals, to the salmon diet to ensure good health as well as proper skin and flesh color.

PCB’s and Dioxins
Harvard researchers recently reported that they found that the benefits of eating fish far outweighed the potential risks of PCB’s (polychlorinated biphenyls) and dioxins. The levels of PCBs and dioxins in fish species are low - similar to other commonly consumed foods such as beef, chicken, pork, eggs, and butter. Furthermore, only ~9% of the PCBs and dioxins in the food supply come from fish and other seafood; more than 90% comes from other foods such as meats, vegetables, and dairy products

“The cardiovascular benefits of eating omega-3 rich seafood – like farmed salmon - are greater than the PCB/dioxin risks by a factor of at least 300:1. Seafood is likely the single most important food one can consume for good health"

Dr. D. Mozaffarian, Harvard School of Public Health



  1. To date, there are no studies that link PBDE (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) levels contained in food to any human health effects. Based on data currently available on exposure to PBDEs through food consumption, Health Canada has concluded that levels detected in Canadian aquaculture products are much below levels that would be considered unsafe to human health.  


Research has shown that the levels of mercury in Canadian aquaculture products are far below the levels that could adversely impact health. Health Canada has only advised limited consumption of those predatory fish that are higher in mercury (fresh or frozen tuna, shark, swordfish, marlin, orange roughy or escolar).

For Further Information

The Institute of Medicine "Seafood Choices Study". This study lists farmed salmon as highest in Omega-3’s and lowest in mercury content. For the full study, visit  www.salmonfacts.org/omega3   

Harvard School of Public Health “New Study Shows the Benefits of Eating Fish Greatly Outweigh the Risks”. This report discusses the benefits of consuming farmed salmon and the low level of risk associated with different seafood choices. For the full report, visit: www.salmonfacts.org/mercury


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