Today for dinner I had salmon. Normally I don’t like it pan-fried but my mom strongly encouraged me to eat some, saying that salmon is “good” for you. Even though she couldn’t answer my favourite question “why”, because “mom knows best” the salmon ended up in my stomach. I honestly think parents have the hardest time answering the “why” so to help my mom and others, I’ve compiled a list of superfoods and the science behind them. It also gives me an excuse to eat Kit Kats everyday!
1. Salmon (Sushi)
Salmon has high levels of protein, vitamins (B6, B12, D) and minerals (potassium, selenium). As a quick review, protein is needed for generating new cells, muscles, organs, etc. Vitamins and minerals aren’t produced by the body and are only obtained by eating food. They too are needed for the body to properly function. Vitamin B6 helps make neurotransmitters (chemicals that allow nerve cells to communicate), vitamin B12 is involved in DNA synthesis and vitamin D helps in the formation of bones. The main difference between vitamins and minerals is that vitamins are organic (contains carbon) whose structure can be broken down if sufficient amounts of energy are provided. Minerals on the other hand tend to keep their shape and can be divided into two types – macrominerals and trace minerals. Examples of macrominerals include calcium, sodium and potassium. As the name suggests, high amounts of them are required. Conversely, minimal amounts of trace minerals are needed by the body, which includes iron, copper and selenium. Rarely do you ever see someone eating a bar of iron for breakfast!
But what most people care about is the high amount of omega-3 fatty acids in salmon and other fish like tuna, mackerel and sardines. There are different types of omega-3 fatty acids, but the best ones are the eicoaspentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA), that comes primary from fish. Both help with maintaining the heart, joints and a healthy functioning brain. New studies have also found that regularly consuming fish may lower the risk of developing cancers or other chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s, depression and diabetes. Maybe that’s why the world’s oldest person was Japanese!