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Is Salmon Good for Diabetes? Nutritional Value and Benefits
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Is Salmon Good for Diabetes? Nutritional Value and Benefits

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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on 2022 September 20
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4 min

Salmon is a healthy fish with a rich, buttery flavor – but is it good for diabetes? This article evaluates the key benefits of salmon.

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Salmon is a perfect source of healthy fats, protein, and minerals. Due to the high amount of omega-3 fatty acids in salmon, it is associated with decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. This is good news for those suffering from diabetes, with an increased risk for cardiovascular complications.

Experts have proven that diabetes is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, causing death in about 10% of patients. Moreover, there is a significant increase in mortality from stroke. Because of this, health authorities are campaigning for diabetes prevention through increased physical activity and diet modification.

In modifying our diet, the quality of nutrients we get from food is an important factor in choosing what to eat. With that being said, eating fish provides high-quality nutrients, making them an important part of our meal plan.

Is Salmon Good for Diabetes?

The answer to this question is yes! Those who have diabetes can add salmon to their weekly meal plans with less worry about blood sugar control. 

A lesser-known fact about eating salmon is that it naturally contains no carbohydrates and sugars. This means that people with diabetes can enjoy it without worrying about increased blood glucose levels.

Diving deeper into its valuable properties, salmon contains abundant polyunsaturated fats in the form of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These are beneficial in lowering the inflammation in our body, preventing common diabetes-related complications such as heart disease and stroke.

Aside from its health benefits, salmon dishes are versatile, relatively easy to prepare, and widely available. Like most fish, they can be cooked in various ways and go perfectly with a side of leafy green salad, brown rice, or roasted vegetables. Remember that the ingredients you use in cooking can alter the nutrients you get.

Is Canned Salmon Good for Diabetes?

Canned salmon in olive oil gives the same nutritional benefit as fresh salmon, with the exception of higher calcium levels due to edible bones included. For those who are on the go, canned salmon is an excellent, portable alternative to fresh-cooked fish.

Does Salmon Affect Blood Sugars? 

Having no carbohydrate content, in theory, salmon will not cause increased blood sugar on its own. Findings from numerous research on its actual effect on blood sugar levels still remain inconclusive to this day. Knowing this, it is still important to ensure that salmon meals are prepared in a healthy way.

Preparing a healthy meal of salmon is easier using apps like Klinio, which allows users to have personalized meal plans covering daily calorie intake and macronutrient composition. Klinio has more than 45,000 recipes with switchable ingredients and diet plan modifications based on your progress. 

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3 Benefits of Salmon for Diabetes

Salmon has plenty of benefits starting from mental health to preventing cardiovascular diseases, etc.

Here are 3 key benefits of salmon:

#1 Promotes a healthy heart

Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are proven to help in reducing inflammation, and it is a key player in the prevention of heart disease. Another important thing to mention is that salmon contains high potassium content that helps maintain normal blood pressure levels.

#2 Supports mental health

Amino acids make up the protein content of salmon, and these serve as building blocks of neurotransmitters. These are chemicals that help regulate mood and reduce the risk for depression. Omega-3 has also been suggested to slow down cognitive decline, which can lead to Alzheimer’s disease.

#3 Prevents osteoporosis

Salmon is an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D – two essential minerals that help build bone. As we age, we easily lose these important nutrients, making us at risk for osteoporosis. These losses are replenished when we eat fish, diminishing the chances of developing osteoporosis.

Nutritional Value of Salmon

According to the USDA, 100g of raw pink salmon contains the following:

Nutrients (per 100g)Amount
Calories (kcal)127 
Cholesterol (mg)46 
Protein (g)20.5 
Total Lipid (Fat) (g)4.4 
Saturated Fat (g)0.81
Carbohydrates (g)0
Calcium (Ca) (mg)7
Potassium (K) (mg)366 

Zero carbohydrates

Salmon is naturally free of carbohydrates and sugars, making it a good source of healthy fat, proteins, and minerals for those with diabetes.

High in fat

Fat content slightly varies depending on whether salmon is farmed or caught wild. The total fat content of salmon is about 4.4g per 100g serving. Of this, approximately 2.3g is omega-3 fatty acids. Wild salmon contains less fat, as it is leaner.

Saturated fat, which increases artery-clogging LDL (bad) dietary cholesterol, is relatively low in salmon at 0.81g per 100g. 

High in protein

The recommended daily intake of protein is 0.36g per pound body weight – or 54g in a 150lbs individual. Salmon contains about 38% of this value, making it an excellent source of protein. This supplies the essential amino acids our body and brain need to function.

Rich in minerals

Wild salmon is a good source of vitamin D. Fish consumption also contributes to our mineral stores, including calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, and phosphorus. These help our bodies carry out a number of functions, from building up the immune system to regulating thyroid functioning.

Moderate amount of calories

According to studies, an average adult male needs 2,500 calories, while an average adult female requires 2,000 calories daily. A 100g serving of salmon contains 127kcal, a modest contribution to our daily caloric intake. In contrast, other fatty fish, like fresh sardines, tend to have a higher calorie content.

A Word From Our MD

The high nutritional value of salmon makes it a worthwhile addition to the diet. Its high omega-3 fatty acid content, along with generous amounts of protein, amino acids, vitamin D, and minerals, provide a good portion of the nutrient requirements of people with diabetes. Furthermore, without carbohydrates or sugar, a healthy salmon meal lessens the worry of managing blood glucose levels.

Like most fish, there is a possibility of mercury content; however, the benefits of eating fish outweigh this risk. One to two servings a week of fish, such as salmon, is recommended to get optimal health benefits.

Cooking methods and ingredients also play an important role in ensuring healthy fish meals. For example, smoked salmon tends to have higher sodium levels, while grilling is an easy way to cook while preserving nutrients. It is also advisable to use olive oil, as it’s less harmful than other kinds of cooking oil.

Conclusion

A versatile, healthy, and easy-to-find fish, salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that help protect your cardiovascular health. In addition, its high protein, vitamin D, and mineral content makes it a superior choice for your meal plan. There are plenty of benefits, including controlling your blood sugar level – an essential part of diabetes management.

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed byRosmy Barrios, MD
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