Yummy ideas to help you reap salmon’s big health benefits

Oct 14, 2019
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Salmon is a delicious, fatty fish that's jam-packed with nutrients. Source: Getty

Salmon has been lauded as a super-food by health experts for decades, thanks to its array of vitamins, minerals and high levels of antioxidants.

That’s why eating salmon regularly is linked to so many health benefits, including improved heart and brain health. But if you didn’t eat a lot of fish, particularly oily fish such as salmon, growing up, knowing how to use it in a variety of meals so it doesn’t feel too repetitive can be difficult.

That’s why Starts at 60 spoke to leading dietician and Tassal ambassador Susie Burrell to find out not just why salmon is so good for you but also how to easily include it in your diet.

Salmon’s health benefits

Burrell says antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and B-vitamins, all of which are found in salmon, are linked to better brain power. Salmon is also associated with a reduced risk of depression, she adds.

Studies have also found that omega-3 fatty acids can lower blood pressure, as well as keeping the heart beating steadily. How? The omega-3s in salmon help reduce inflammation throughout the body – inflammation that could otherwise damage your blood vessels and lead to heart disease and stroke. The omega-3s are said to decrease triglycerides (a type of fat found in your blood), lower blood pressure, reduce blood clotting and reduce irregular heart beats.

“Salmon is generally the dietician’s number one super-food,” Burrell explains, “That’s primarily because it’s one of the richest natural sources of the long-chain omega-3 fats, which is powerfully related to anti-inflammatory effects in the body and long-term heart health.”

Salmon is also an excellent source of protein, which plays a major role keeping your body functioning well as you age. Everyone gradually loses muscle and bone mass as they get older, and if not addressed, weaker muscles and bones can impact your strength and balance over time. One way of ensuring you maintain your muscle mass and that your bones stay strong is to eat more protein – luckily, salmon has plenty.

Getting enough salmon in your diet

Burrell recommends eating at least two to three small portions of salmon per week.

That may sound like a large amount that could run up your food bill, since salmon isn’t one of the cheaper fish varieties, but the dietician says 150 grams of salmon is all you need to get the health benefits it offers.

If fresh salmon doesn’t fit your budget or taste buds, tinned salmon can be a more cost-effective solution, Burrell advises, because it’s still a good source of omega-3 fats. Plus, she points out that it’s likely to be less costly than regularly buying supplements that supply the same nutrients.

“I think that for optimal health, aiming for nutrient-rich foods and in particular omega-3-rich foods, at least two to three times a week is important and it can be really easy to get that using a food like salmon,” she says. “If you use a mix of some fresh, some tinned, you’re going to come in the budget, still tick the [health] boxes and avoid having to spend money on expensive supplements when you can get it from the fresh, natural food.”

Cooking with salmon

Apart from whipping up delicious grilled or baked salmon, Burrell says this versatile fish can be prepared in a number of ways. When it comes to quick and tasty dinners, she says it’s hard to go past a classic patty recipe. Salmon patties are delicious and also super budget-friendly because they can be made from tinned salmon and leftover mashed potato. Plus, they make a yummy sandwich filling for the next day.

Burrell also recommends barbecuing salmon – a marinade can really add to the taste – or tossing tinned or grilled salmon it through a fresh salad or pasta bake. And if you’re short on time, Burrell says smoked salmon is a great alternative filling for sandwiches and salads and for breakfast – nothing beats poached eggs topped with smoked salmon and a dollop of hollandaise sauce.

To ensure your salmon leftovers stay fresh for later use, Burrell says it should be stored in an airtight container, where it will keep for up to three days.

Cooking to impress? Here’s a delicious salmon recipe from Tassal developed with Burrell. 

Salmon and sweet potato patties

Ingredients

  • 450g left over salmon
  • 400g left over roast sweet potato, potato or pumpkin
  • 2 spring onions, white part only, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 2 spring dill
  • 3/4 cup Greek yoghurt

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 170C.
  2. Use a potato masher or fork to mash the roast vegetables. If you want a smoother texture, remove the skins.
  3. Add salmon and use a fork to break up the salmon. Add spring onion, parsley, salt and pepper, 3/4 cup breadcrumbs and egg. Mix together with a fork.
  4. Use clean hands to form 1 loaded tablespoon of mixture into a patty in the palm of your hands. Place the remaining 1/4 cup breadcrumbs in a shallow dish and place the patty into the remaining bread crumbs and lightly cover each side.
  5. Dust off any excess and place on a lined baking tray. Repeat with remaining mixture, it should make about 16 patties. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine yoghurt and finely chopped dill. Remove the patties from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving with dill yoghurt and enjoy!

Important information: The information provided on this website is of a general nature and information purposes only. It does not take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. It is not personalised health advice and must not be relied upon as such. Before making any decisions about your health or changes to medication, diet and exercise routines you should determine whether the information is appropriate in terms of your particular circumstances and seek advice from a medical professional.

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