The salmon that is sold in the supermarkets sometimes vary in color. Sometimes it is bright red and sometimes dull pink. This is the reason why people prefer wild salmon instead of the farmed one.
People usually think that the red salmon is healthier and fresher than the pink one not knowing that some of the companies use artificial colors to achieve the bright red color. This is why you need to be very careful when buying salmon. You should always ask how it was harvested and where it comes from.
Why is the salmon red?
Seafood, complex plants, fungi and microalgae contain astaxanthin which is an anti-inflammatory compound and antioxidant. The salmon gets its color from the bright red carotenoids which are plant pigments
It improves the blood flow, enhances the production of mitochondrial energy, protects the mitochondria by improving the strength of the cell membranes and increases the strength endurance by 50 %.
The difference between wild salmon and farmed salmon is the fact that the wild one eats plankton rich in astaxanthin. Since the farmers cannot afford this luxury food for the farmed salmon, they use pellets that contain synthetic antioxidants.
Most of the astaxanthin sold today for aquaculture is synthetically produced from petrochemical products such as coal which are toxic.
Wild salmon vs. farmed salmon
These are the main differences between these 2 types of salmon.
- Toxic pollutants
POPs or Persistent organic pollutants are chemicals which are toxic and affect the health of the people and also the environments all over the world. The wildlife ingests and absorbs these chemicals and they are very harmful for the humans.
These toxic chemicals are associated with some serious diseases like obesity and type 2 diabetes. In women this pollutants increase the risk of stroke.
According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, farmed salmon in some regions contained 13 fat soluble organic pollutants. These levels are 10 times higher than the levels measured in wild salmon.
- Nutritional content
The USDA data show that the wild salmon contains fewer calories and 50% less fat than farmed salmon.
CTV News Investigation compared the farmed salmon and the wild one and discovered that the second one has bigger nutritional value and it contains more vitamin D (8 times more) and more vitamin A ( 3 times more ) than the farmed salmon in 100 grams.
- Harmful contaminants
Both EPA and FDA have studied extensively the contamination with mercury in fish.
The results show that the wild salmon has very low mercury contamination, so the risk of causing contamination with mercury in humans is also low, even if people consume it more than once in one day.
Farmed salmon is much fatter and accumulates more fat soluble toxins like PCBs which is a very harmful substance mainly found in carcinogenic asbestos.
- Chemicals which can cause cancer
According to a study published in 2005, in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the risk of getting cancer from farmed salmon, from certain regions, can be 3 times bigger compared to the wild salmon.
Compared to the wild fish the farmed ones are more exposed to chemical and environmental pollutants which elevate the risk factors.
Since the farmed salmon are kept in overcrowded fishponds and nets they are prone to many infections and bacteria. The environment in which they live is perfect for the bacteria to grow and to spread causing massive illnesses and deaths. This means loss of profits for the farmers.
In order to prevent the bacteria growth and illnesses the farmers expose the fish to massive dosages of antibiotics in order to keep them healthy until they are sold.
Wild fish are not exposed to these kinds of chemicals, so they don’t contain antibiotics in the system.
Besides affecting the fish, the antibiotics also create antibiotic resistance of the specific bacteria that the farmers want to eliminate.
According to the FDA the use of important antibiotics in foods and food products from animals is concerning because this plays significant role of creating antimicrobial resistance also in humans.
Variety of wild salmon to try
- Pacific coho salmon – This fish is the most low-fat, low-calorie salmon of all the variety of salmons. It also contains enough omega 3 acids and D vitamin which makes it ideal for people who are on diet. This fish can be farmed also, so before buying it check if it`s wild or farmed.
- Chinook (king) salmon – It contains almost 2 times more omega 3 acids that the other variety of salmons. This type of salmon can also be farmed, so check the label before buying the fish.
- Sockeye salmon – The sockeye salmon is also known as the red salmon. It contains higher amounts of cholesterol and vitamin D than the other salmon types. It consumes only phytoplankton and krill, so it contains higher levels of Astaxanthin which gives the red salmon the specific color. The sockeye salmon is mainly wild because it`s very hard to farm.