If you're like me, you love a good salmon fillet drizzled in citrusy goodness and cooked to perfection, but you don't go near its skin. Don't get me wrong, I love fish, but the skin weirds me out. It's a different color and texture than the meat, and this seems questionable to me. However, it turns out that not only can you eat salmon skin, it's full of health benefits that would make even the most squeamish inclined to take a bite!
Health Benefits of Salmon
Salmon skin is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and contains even more than the fish itself, a great reason to get over any aversion to scales and eat the skin! These acids are shown to lower blood pressure and to reduce the risk of heart disease. Along with this, salmon has high amounts of the antioxidant astaxanthin, which accounts for its red coloring. This antioxidant lowers the risk of heart disease and increases good cholesterol in the body.
Salmon is also known to be an excellent choice for weight loss. Because it is high protein, salmon increases your metabolic weight, helps with appetite control, and causes you to feel full after eating. Like other fatty fish, salmon is considered an anti-inflammatory food, so eating it reduces the risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
Along with these benefits, salmon is replete with vitamins b and d. B vitamins are essential in helping your brain and nervous system operate efficiently. Vitamin D protects bone health by regulating the amount of calcium in the body. It also helps with mood regulation and strengthens the immune system. Because of all of these benefits, you can and should eat salmon and its skin!
It's essential to cook salmon with its skin on, because the skin retains nutrients and oils inside the salmon during cooking. Taking it off beforehand can cause certain nutritional benefits to be lost in the process. Because of the numerous health benefits of salmon, the Food and Drug Administration or FDA recommends eating salmon a few times a week. Eating it with the skin on is the best way to reap the rewards of these many benefits and improve your wellness.
Risks of Eating Salmon Skin
However, it's important to pay attention to where your salmon comes from if you plan to eat the fish skin, because the skin soaks up more than the flesh. While it is incredibly healthy and delicious, salmon also has the potential to be contaminated by pollutants and contaminants. Some of these contaminants are polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) and methylmercury, both of which have been linked to birth defects. Because of this, pregnant women are advised to avoid all types of salmon skin.
The most contaminated type of salmon is farmed salmon from the Atlantic Ocean. Wild salmon from the Atlantic is a better choice than farmed, but it is still potentially contaminated with toxins. If you're cooking Atlantic salmon, experts suggest avoiding its skin to stay on the safe side. Wild salmon from the Pacific is your best bet to enjoy salmon skin while avoiding pollutants. Chinook salmon is one popular Pacific species, so this is good choice when buying and cooking salmon.
While salmon skin is tasty when eaten with the flesh, it can also be cooked on its own. Crispy fried salmon skin is a yummy alternative to bacon, and baked salmon skin is the perfect healthy snack or salad garnish. Whether you choose to eat the salmon skin on its own or with the rest of the fish, it'll be more than worth it for its plenitude of health benefits!
Salmon Skin Recipes
Even if you want to reap all of the health benefits of eating salmon skin, some people can't get past the scaly texture or silvery appearance. In that case, you can make other recipes with the salmon skin to enjoy it in salads, on noodles and more. These crispy salmon skins from The Spruce Eats are the perfect solution for those getting over their salmon skin aversion. Use them a a topping for an Asian salad, serve them with salmon tartare, or top your ramen with them.
You can also make crispy salmon skin rice bowls with this recipe from The Woks of Life. The salmon skin goes great with the flavors of rice, avocado, and salty tangy soy sauce. This is the perfect way to use up all of your food, which is great for your budget and for the environment. Plus, you'll be gaining all of the health benefits that come with this unpopular part of the salmon filet.
This post was originally published on December 7, 2020.