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Superfood of the Month: Salmon

Posted 7/1/2014 by UHBlog

Superfood of the Month: Salmon

With its distinctive orange-pink color and its meaty texture, salmon is a favorite choice for lovers of seafood. This oily fish is also a rich source of protein, iron, vitamin B12 and the all-powerful omega-3 fatty acid.

The Brain-Boosting Fish

According to outpatient clinical dietitian Renee Cooper, RD, LD, omega-3 fatty acids may increase good cholesterol, prevent blood clotting and lower high blood pressure. Cooper explains that salmon is one of the best food sources of a particular type of omega-3 that supports brain health called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). “It’s actually present at the nerve endings in our brain,” says Cooper. “It’s important for cognitive behavior, memory and brain performance.” According to Cooper, low levels of DHA are associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Buy the Best

Fresh salmon is best if you are able to purchase it close to the Great Lakes or the coast. Frozen salmon should come in vacuum-sealed packaging. Cooper recommends choosing wild salmon, since farmed salmon is more likely to be infected with parasites and diseases. And canned wild salmon is actually still a good choice, Cooper says, because it’s inexpensive, has a long shelf life and is cooked and ready to eat. Keep in mind, though, that canned fish is often higher in sodium.

Get Creative with Preparation

Cooper recommends the following preparations for fresh salmon

  • Grill salmon steaks instead of burgers for a healthy barbecue
  • Panfry salmon filets in extra-virgin olive oil and fresh herbs
  • Spread canned salmon on whole wheat crackers for a quick snack
  • Top baked salmon with a dollop of nonfat Greek yogurt, chopped cucumbers and fresh dill
  • Dip salmon cuts in egg white and dredge in breadcrumbs and herbs before baking
  • Marinate salmon in citrus juice, olive oil and herbs before broiling

Renee Cooper, RD, LD, is an outpatient clinical dietitian at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center.

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