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Monday, July 4, 2011

Farmed or wild: What’s the best salmon to buy?

Farmed or wild: What’s the best salmon to buy?  I am re-publishing this excellent article close to it's entirety because it is so valuable as a resource.  I have learned a great deal about the various kinds of fish, including canned fish, that I didn't really know before.    Here is the link. Below is much of the content.

"Most everyone loves salmon. It’s rich in protein and healthy fats, it’s good for your health, and it tastes delicious.

But sometimes it seems like you need a marine biology degree before you hit the market. Should you choose Atlantic, Alaskan, or sockeye? Which has more heart-healthy omega-3s and fewer toxins—farmed or wild salmon?

And in addition to your own health, how does your choice—whether wild salmon from Alaska or farmed salmon from Chile— affect the environment?

Here are a few things to keep in mind the next time you’re stumped in the seafood aisle. 20 healthy salmon recipes

U.S. Atlantic salmon
Other names: U.S. farmed salmon
Should you buy it? Yes

It wasn’t long ago that buying U.S. Atlantic salmon was out of the question. Although wild populations are still nearly extinct, farms off the coast of Maine that grow U.S. Atlantic salmon are expanding.

Nutritionally, they are just as good as wild. "I lump wild and farmed salmon together," says Charles Santerre, PhD, a professor of food toxicology at Purdue University, in West Lafayette, Ind.

Farmed Atlantic salmon often contain at least as many omega-3s as wild salmon because they're raised on a diet of other omega-3-rich fish. 10 heart-smart fish recipes

Imported Atlantic salmon
Other names: Farmed salmon
Should you buy it? It depends

Most Atlantic salmon come from farms in Chile, Norway, and Canada, and they have elicited a litany of environmental complaints.

Chilean farms, in particular, pollute the waters where fish are raised with antibiotics and waste. On the other hand, farms in Maine and Eastern Canada are government regulated to keep their impact low, says Barry Costa-Pierce, PhD, professor of fisheries and aquaculture at the University of Rhode Island, in Narragansett.

Supermarkets in the U.S. are required by law to label the country of origin of many foods, including seafood. How to decipher food labels

Alaskan or wild salmon
Other names: Chum, keta, king, pink, red, sockeye, sake
Should you buy it? Yes

Wild salmon are caught off the coast of Alaska or the Pacific Northwest. If you have the choice between those two areas, opt for Alaskan salmon because the populations are not as depleted, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Either way, Costa-Pierce says U.S. salmon fisheries are kept in close check so they don’t take too many fish from the ocean.

By going wild, you’ll get a firmer, less fatty fish. While it is still just as healthy as farmed, Santerre says the wild variety is a slightly gamier-tasting fish.

Coho salmon
Other names: Silver salmon
Should you buy it? Yes

You may not know if your store has coho because, like other species of wild salmon, it’s just labeled wild.

Coho are smaller and eat less than other salmon, resulting in fewer polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which may cause cancer. (Mercury is not a concern in either wild or farmed salmon.)

Many experts say the risk posed by PCBs is outweighed by salmon’s omega-3 benefits. But David Carpenter, MD, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at University at Albany, in New York, says people should have only one meal a month of most salmon. But with coho, he says, you can have an "almost unlimited consumption."

Canned salmon
Brand names: Bumble Bee, Wildcatch, Chicken of the Sea
Should you buy it? Yes

What happens if you can’t find environmentally friendly farmed salmon where you shop? And wild salmon costs about twice as much, plus it isn’t always available between October and May. Then what?

Canned salmon is a good way to get wild salmon cheaper and year-round (most brands use wild Alaskan salmon), along with all the same nutritional benefits of salmon, Santerre says.

But you might have to taste-test a few brands to find the flavor and texture you like best. The 10 best foods for your heart

Genetically modified salmon
Other names: AquaBounty salmon
Should you buy it? Not yet

If the FDA approves genetically modified salmon, you could see a new type of farmed salmon within several years. (The genetic change doubles the growth rate.)

Its nutritional benefits, such as omega-3 levels, are similar to Atlantic salmon’s, but some people say we don’t know enough about its healthfulness.

There are more debates on the environmental side; some say that AquaBounty’s salmon would be an improvement (the fish grow faster and consume fewer resources) and others say the farming in inland tanks would be hard to manage.

 Farmed or wild: What’s the best salmon to buy?  

For the balance of the best fish to buy discussion, go to the link below:

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