- Salmon contains unique compounds linked to cholesterol reduction
- Eating salmon provides at least 30 health-boosting metabolites
- READ MORE: Do you want to live to be 100? Try to eat this food every day.
Dietitians have long recommended including salmon in meals, because studies show that people who eat a lot of it are more likely to be thin and disease-free.
But the question of what exactly it is in salmon that offers health benefits has remained largely unanswered—until now.
Researchers at the University of Colorado believe they have identified at least four compounds in fish that they say can reduce the “bad” type of cholesterol.
This is the fatty substance that builds up in blood vessels and damages them, dramatically increasing the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Salmon Contains Unique Compounds Linked to Lower Cholesterol, Study Shows
His new study, published in the nutrition magazineshowed that by eating salmon you can ingest at least 30 metabolites, substances produced during digestion or other chemical processes.
Four of these metabolites are linked to significant improvements in cardiovascular health.
In the study, researchers asked 41 participants between the ages of 30 and 69 to eat a Mediterranean diet that included a variety of fish, low-fat meats, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables.
They then assessed how healthy his cardiovascular system was by analyzing his blood and performing other tests. Tests were performed before and after the diet.
The diet included two servings of salmon per week for two five-week periods, with a one-month break in between.
The participants were obese or overweight, but none had any active metabolic conditions such as type 2 diabetes.
Samples of the food administered to the participants were also analyzed in a laboratory to identify their metabolites.
The researchers found a total of 1,518 compounds in the feed, but only 508 turned out to be unique to salmon.
If the researchers found a compound in salmon but not in other foods, they classified it as a compound specific to salmon food.
They found increases in two specific salmon compounds and two metabolites that have long been known to lower cholesterol and are linked to a healthier cardiovascular system.
Many of these substances were fats, providing additional evidence for the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish.
What’s more, they found that those with high levels of these substances in their blood had greater reductions in total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, and apolipoprotein B, which is an indicator of heart disease.
“We are the first to identify salmon-specific bioactive compounds that increase in plasma after consuming (a Mediterranean diet) approximately 4 to 8 ounces (one to two fillets) of salmon per week,” the researchers wrote.
“In addition, several of these food-specific compounds were associated with short-term improvement in indicators of cardiometabolic health.”
There are several different types of salmon: five types of Pacific salmon and two types of Atlantic salmon.
Wild-caught Pacific salmon are generally considered the healthiest. In wild salmon, the amount and type of omega-3s found are based on the algae and plankton in the fish’s diet.
In farmed salmon, it is based on the type of food it eats.
The Mediterranean diet is made up of abundant fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and olive oil.
A large amount of research has designated the Mediterranean diet as the reference dietary regimen.
A study published last year found that switching to a Mediterranean diet from the normal Western diet can help you live longer, and the sooner you start your life, the better.