Salmon is not only Paleo, it’s one of the healthiest foods we can get. In addition to fat and protein, it comes loaded with micronutrients, such as calcium, iron, selenium, iodine (which we can only get from seafood) and an array of B vitamins.
Paleo and PUFAs
When it comes to macronutrients, the fat provided in fish is nothing to sneeze at. Even a lot of fat-phobic vegetarians have a hard time arguing against the benefits of eating fatty fish. Salmon, as with most fish, is high in polyunsaturated fats (PUFA), which most of us living a Paleo lifestyle generally try to avoid, but there’s more to the story.
Omega-3 vs. Omega-6
Salmon is especially high in omega-3 fats, a type of PUFA with anti-inflammatory properties. One of the main problems with the Standard American Diet (SAD) is it tends to be very high in omega-6 fats (which are inflammatory) and low in omega-3 fats. We should be consuming at least as many omega-3 as omega-6 fats (if not more) in order to counteract the inflammatory effects of the omega-6 fats.
The Benefits of Smoked Salmon
One thing we have to worry about with PUFAs is that they are unstable and likely to oxidize when exposed to heat and light. For this reason, salmon is best when cooked gently, or better yet, smoked.
Farmed vs. Wild
That said, not all salmon is created equal. Wild-caught salmon tends to be pricey, but you also get more nutritional bang for your buck. Farmed salmon is fed protein pellets and pumped with antibiotics and pesticides. The result is less protein, more fat, and the added fat tends to be a heavier dose of the inflammatory omega-6 fats, rather than the more favorable omega-3 fats. Mark Sisson has a list of reasons to buy wild over farmed salmon.