We decided to do a beach picnic last week and enjoyed a most delicious dinner. Is it just me, or is there something about taking your meal outside that always seems to make the food taste better? It seems even the most basic meal can seem “special” if you just walk it outdoors.
Especially tasty on our picnic dinner was the wild “hot-smoked” salmon from Vital Choice (that’s our son holding up a piece of his salmon in the photo to the right.) Wild smoked salmon is a staple food in our house because our son loves it and it’s the perfect fast-food for making quick sandwiches or adding to a dinner salad. It’s a great picnic food too!
If you haven’t read our Clean Cuisine book, even though we primarily recommend a plant-based diet, omega-3 rich seafood is an important part of the anti-inflammatory Clean Cuisine program. Importantly, we don’t eat seafood as much for the protein as for the anti-inflammatory long-chain omega-3’s EPA/ DHA that are not found in plant foods.
Is Smoked Salmon Healthy?
In the past we have received questions asking “Is smoked salmon healthy?” This is a good question because if you are familiar with how delicate omega-3 fats are you might think that high-heat smoking would potentially destroy the omega-3 fats, or worse, cause them to oxidize, which would promote free radical damage in your body. But this is not the case…
Wild “Hot-Smoked” Salmon is Actually the Healthiest Choice
Although omega-3 fats are extremely heat-sensitive, interestingly, these super potent anti-inflammatory fats get even more stable when fish is smoked. A 2009 study published online on PubMed (1) showed when salmon was subjected to high heat temperatures (95 degrees C) during smoking the fish unexpectedly produced oils with fewer products of oxidation than their unprocessed counterparts.
Even more interesting was that the longer the fish was smoked and the higher the temperature it was smoked at the better the omega-3 fats were preserved. The smoking process also boosted the antioxidant profile of the extracted fish oil! However, antioxidant capacity in smoked salmon only increases after fish is heated above 75 degrees C.
Vitamin studies supported the antioxidant results, with smoke-processed oils displaying higher levels of alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) than raw fish oils.
Note: The study we are referencing from PubMed DOES NOT mean heating your fish oil supplements would be a good idea though. The study was done on whole fish heads, not fish oils supplements. What it means is simply that one of the world’s oldest food preservation techniques is a healthy method for preparing fish!
Is ALL Smoked Salmon Healthy?
No is the short answer.
It is super important to choose wild smoked salmon over farmed salmon. Not only is farmed salmon inferior to wild in taste, but it is inferior in nutrition too. Especially relevant is the omega-3/ omega-6 fat profile in wild salmon verse farmed salmon: wild salmon is much richer in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats and has much less pro-inflammatory omega-6 fat than what is found in farmed salmon. Wild salmon is also richer in antioxidants and vitamin D.
Our Favorite Wild Smoked Salmon
For smoked wild salmon, Vital Choice is our favorite brand. We’ve signed up to be a Vital Choice affiliate and are happy to share the following offer with our readers: Enjoy 10% off your first purchase with Vital Choice by using the code: VCAF14 during checkout.