Goji berries, matcha, camuu camuu powder. Exotic-sounding superfoods are hogging all of the headlines. But did you know that more common fare like salmon, bananas and strawberries provide a powerful dose of nutrients, too? Rima Kleiner, a nationally recognized food and nutrition expert opens in a new tab, helps us explore the everyday superfoods that deserve a spot on your plate.My clients are constantly asking me about the latest and greatest ingredient that’s popped up on their Facebook feed. Sure, it’s fun to experiment with adding new foods to your meals to mix it up, but when your goal is simply to get a healthy dinner on the table or eat a reasonable lunch, it’s not a bad idea to stick with the tried-and-true. This week I’d love to wax poetic on one everyday superfood that I wish everyone would eat more of: salmon.
First of All, What is A Superfood?
While there is no scientific definition or FDA regulation for the term “superfood,” the word is generally used to describe a food that is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants and are thought to be especially beneficial for optimal health. Let’s be clear: Superfoods are not magic. But, superfoods that deliver a big nutrient punch in a whole, relatively unprocessed package do deserve a place in your diet.
Ok, So Why Salmon?
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans opens in a new tab (DGA) recommends that you eat a variety of seafood at least 2 times (or 8 oz) each week. Salmon is a favorite choice because it contains significant amounts of essential omega-3 fatty acids opens in a new tab, which support heart opens in a new tab and eye health opens in a new tab.
This heart-healthy fish boasts a boatload of other nutrients, as well. Here are a few:
Protein. All seafood and animal-based foods provide high-quality protein, which is important for helping maintain muscle mass opens in a new tab during weight loss and as we age. The DGA opens in a new tab recommends shifting from animal proteins like poultry and beef to seafood, like salmon, a couple of times each week to meet nutrient needs.
Vitamin B-12. Salmon is an excellent source of vitamin B-12, which is important for healthy nerves and red blood cells opens in a new tab. Although some soy products and cereals are fortified with vitamin B-12, this water-soluble vitamin is naturally present only in seafood and animal-based proteins.
Vitamin D. Long associated with bone health opens in a new tab. Our bodies can synthesize vitamin D, but only after skin exposure to sunlight. For those of us who slather on sunscreen or live north of the invisible line between Atlanta and Los Angeles, we likely don’t produce enough vitamin D during wintertime months. Salmon is an excellent source of vitamin D and one of only a few foods that naturally contain it.
Selenium. Salmon is an excellent source of selenium, an essential mineral that is necessary for optimal immunity and fertility.
Vitamin B-6. Salmon is a very good source of vitamin B-6, which is important for proper functioning of the nervous and immune systems opens in a new tab.
Sounds Great. What Should I Make?
Salmon is versatile, easy-to-prepare and lends itself to a variety of flavors. Try these recipes for a power-packed breakfast, lunch or dinner. (No time to prep? Many stores have the ability to cook your fillets for a small fee. Just pair with prepared salad or cooked vegetables for a quick and power-packed meal.)
Salmon Breakfast Recipes
Smoked Salmon Frittata opens in a new tab Pair this protein-packed frittata with a mixed greens salad and whole grain bread for a delicious brunch.
Salmon Pumpernickel Bites opens in a new tab These smoked salmon bites make a perfect breakfast on-the-go.
Salmon Lunch Recipes
Salmon Salad with Avocado opens in a new tab Top whole grain crackers or bread with this delicious and light salad.
Mini Wild Salmon Cakes opens in a new tab Freeze a batch of these salmon cakes so you can grab a couple for a lunch-time salad topping.
Salmon Dinner Recipes
Cedar Plank Salmon Fillets opens in a new tab Serve this simply grilled salmon with grilled asparagus.
Salmon with Sautéed Swiss Chard opens in a new tab Prepare this dish for a superfoods-packed dinner.
St. Germain Salad opens in a new tab This Paris-inspired salad makes an easy weeknight dinner.
Find out what makes our fish more delicious opens in a new tab whether it’s responsibly farmed or wild caught.