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Thursday, March 12, 2009

The salmon with the highest omega 3 content

Salmon is probably the most notable fish for containing heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. I've said many times that all salmon are not created equal. I always advocate eating wild Alaskan salmon. Wild salmon has a huge advantage over farmed salmon. In the wild salmon is allowed to eat its natural diet. Natural diet consists of krill and plankton. These two foods play a major part in the salmon developing its omega-3 content. Farmed salmon does not have this advantage. Plus farmed salmon has other environmental and health issues.

So here's a post I just found about Yukon River salmon. The Yukon River is located in Alaska. This river is over 2200 miles long, which is the longest river in Alaska. Since wild salmon return to the river that there were born, the fish instinctually knows the journey that lies in front of them. Once salmon starts swimming up the stream they stop eating. This is a very important aspect of the instinctual part. Since Yukon River is so long the salmon must pack on or store extra fat for their long journey. To put things in perspective other popular rivers in Alaska are around 300 miles long. So for example a salmon that swims up the Copper River has different requirements, or less fat storage, then a salmon that swims up the Yukon River.

Heart healthy omega-3's are found in the fat of the salmon. So of course a salmon that has more fat content will also have more omega-3's.

So that's the great news about the Yukon River. The bad news about the Yukon River is that they have a very short salmon season. I look for the salmon season in the Yukon River around July of every year. Some years the season runs longer, maybe three weeks, and sometimes as little as one week. Some years they never commercially fish king salmon from this river. So if you ever see Yukon River salmon do not hesitate, your in for a treat. Of course frozen chum is more readily available all year long but still not as popular due to its supply.

So here's a company that actually tested their Yukon River fish. And of course they're touting the increased omega-3 levels of this fish. So if you are on a Aroma Thyme's e-mail list you will be the first one to know when Yukon River salmon is in.

Kwik'pak touts Yukon salmon's omega-3 levels

yukon salmon By SeafoodSource staff
12 March, 2009 - Oil-rich Yukon river king and keta (chum) salmon have "shockingly high" levels of nutritious omega-3 fatty acids, according to results of recent laboratory tests.

"We've known our salmon have the highest oil content because of the length of the Yukon River," said Jack Schultheis, general manager of Kwik'pak Fisheries in Emmonak, a village at the Yukon Delta in northwest Alaska. The fish are known to store extra fat for their long migration up the 2,000-mile river.

"But we have only just recently had them tested for omega-3s," said Schultheis. "Everyone we have shown the results to is astonished."

Recent tests by Bodycote Testing Group of Portland, Ore., measured an average of 4.15 percent omega-3s for chums and 4.38 percent for kings. These levels are twice, and in many cases three or four times, the levels of any other fish in the U.S. Department of Agriculture database, according to Kwik'pak.

When Seattle nutritionist and registered dietician Dr. Evette Hackman, R.D., reviewed the results for Kwik'pak Fisheries, the omega-3 levels were so high she contacted the lab to make sure there hadn't been a mistake.

"I was shocked," said Dr. Hackman. "We don't usually think of chum salmon as being a good source of omega-3s but when you look at the red color and cook and taste this fish, it is no surprise. It's wonderful when something so good for you can be so delicious."

Dr. Hackman shared the test results with Dr. Joyce Nettleton, nutrition consultant to the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, who wrote, "I was quite surprised by the very high total fat and omega-3 values in these fish. These are astonishingly high values."

Omega-3 fatty acids, which come from fish oils, are known to have numerous significant health benefits, including aiding the cognitive development of infants, reducing the risk of cancer and congestive heart failure, and improving overall health.

"One 3 1/2-ounce serving of Yukon River chum or king salmon per week would equal, from an omega-3 standpoint, three servings of other salmon," said Dr. Hackman. "But omega-3 factors are only part of the story. I would rather see people eat more fish, not less. The nutrient composition is good and people do not usually fry salmon. It tends to be grilled or baked and that leads to less unhealthy fats. There are many other reasons to eat more fish."

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