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Diet and Salmon



Salmon is a typical fish of some subarctic and arctic areas. Its breeding, however, can also take place in more southern areas, although it is certainly NOT a characteristic animal of central-southern Europe.

The fish colonizes salty, fresh and brackish waters, and makes some migrations (2-3) from the sea to the rivers in order to reproduce.
Salmon, understood as a food, belongs to the 1st Fundamental Food Group. From a nutritional point of view, its consumption is aimed at achieving the recommended rations of: proteins, mineral salts, some B vitamins, vitamin D, vitamin A and essential fatty acids.
In the diet, salmon could be consumed on a “weekly” basis. A 150-250g portion, at most every 2-3 days, is in fact sufficient to satisfy the basic criteria of a healthy and correct diet. In this regard, it is necessary to specify that it is always advisable to maintain a certain variability in the diet; it is therefore better to avoid consuming only salmon, excluding other fishery products, since it too (like any other food) has aspects that are not entirely positive or controversial.
It should then be added that iSalmon is a food very rich in fat; therefore, it is recommended to carefully evaluate the portions (which must be related to individual needs) and to avoid, especially in the case of overweight, its contextualization within recipes rich in seasoning fats (oil, cream, etc.).

Salmon as Food: How is it eaten?

Salmon is a food that lends itself to various types of consumption.

In the “fresh state” its meat is delicate and pleasant (where “fresh” means “NOT processed” with preservation methods other than freezing); there is also no shortage of other products obtained using alternative systems, among these, the most characteristic is thesmoking (accompanied by a light salting), but today the preservation of the canned salmon by means of a governing liquid (brine). Less consumed (and less valuable) is salmon in the form of pate.
What many people ignore is that only the muscle and fat of salmon are NOT consumed, i.e. what is commonly understood as “meat”. Her egg, especially in certain localities, are considered a real delicacy. Be careful though! Those expecting a more or less “anonymous” taste, similar to that of lumpfish or flying fish roe, or those accustomed to the delicate flavor of Russian caviar, could be unpleasantly disappointed; salmon roe are in fact distinguished by an “explosive” hint of omega 3, so intense that it overpowers any other ingredient in the dish. Even certain ones offal some salmon seem edible and overall pleasant to the taste; the liver is certainly the best known. Like the aforementioned organ of cod, blue shark and other cold sea fish, salmon liver is also very rich in omega 3 and, together with other “waste” parts in the related meat trade, is often used for the formulation of food supplements. In itself, the salmon liver it represents a fairly simple product to cook but, being an organ significantly exposed to certain contaminants, if intended for human consumption, it should be obtained from controlled animals, ignoring instead creatures bred without respecting the regulations.
Returning to the salmon meat, we briefly mention the most popular recipes in our country which, to be honest, does not boast a real culinary tradition specific to this food. Fresh salmon (even defrosted), especially in recent years, is often included in raw fish recipes. Alone or within more or less exotic mixed salads, it represents a now fundamental ingredient of Japanese sushi (sashimi, nigiri, oshizushi, futomaki etc.), in which it is also possible to combine it with foods that contain eggs (it grows). Always raw, salmon meat is suitable for the production of carpaccio or tartare from fresh, smoked or marinated fish. As far as cooking systems are concerned, however, steam and oven cooking are more common, with or without the use of a salt crust.
There are two different types of smoking, one industrial (perhaps also chemical, as for certain cured meats), which also involves initial salting and subsequent vacuum packing, and another home-made. The latter (watch the video recipe) can also be done in your home oven; It involves a light initial salting and is carried out “cold” (with the oven turned off, into which smoking wood is inserted), which is why it does not extend the shelf life of the food very much. On the other hand, it allows you to customize the taste based on the type of wood used.
As for the marinade, there are several different recipes. Some are based on the dehydration of salmon by salting (with a little sugar) and subsequent rehydration in flavored suspensions (water, citrus juice, herbs, oil, etc.); others directly exploit flavored liquids with an osmotic power much higher than that of meat (generally with very high percentages of sugar and salt), in order to “firm” the tissues while flavoring them.
In any case (since it is a food to be consumed raw) we remember that before smoking or marinating it is always necessary to apply the temperature reduction to avoid any risk of parasitosis.
If fresh, smoked or marinated salmon meat leaves room for culinary imagination, there is not much to specify regarding canned salmon and paté salmon. The latter is often used in the formulation of canapés, snacks, appetizers and sandwiches, while the jarred one goes very well with dry pasta as a filling for tortelli or as an accompanying sauce.

Quality and Controversies of Salmon in the Diet

Let us now focus on the quality of the raw material available on the market. There are various species of salmon, but in Italy (and also in the rest of Europe) Atlantic salmon is mainly consumed (binomial nomenclature: Salmo salar).

Most of the salmon present on national banks comes from foreign aquaculture and arrives in Italy in the frozen form, to be defrosted only before retail sale. There is therefore no valid reason to buy it “on the market” rather than in a freezer counter (where, moreover, it would cost even less). The only detail that REALLY makes the difference between “salmon and salmon” concerns the origin, understood as farmed fish or caught fish. Highlighting the fact that aquacultures are NOT all the same (some are distinguished by the high quality of the feed and the low population density), it is necessary to remember that the caught salmon (or rather called “wild”) is qualitatively better than the other. Nowadays, the composition of feed can be varied based on the product you want to obtain, also managing the nutritional concentration and pigments responsible for the coloring of the salmon; this last characteristic can also be enhanced by limiting the presence of crustaceans, which are naturally present in the diet of salmon in the wild (very rich, indeed, in these molecules). In practice, the meat of these fish could be “coloured” by integrating the feed with pro vitamins of type A, a bit like what happens with salmon trout. Please remember that the latter is NOT a hybrid species, but rather a rainbow trout with pink meat obtained by feeding the fish with flours particularly rich in carotenoids.
Unfortunately, wild salmon fishing is NOT sufficient to meet market demand, which is why farming is completely necessary; Nonetheless, even this measure does not protect the environment from the ecological damage inflicted by the super-demand for salmon. Fish farms, in fact, also require the presence of small fish and crustaceans which are therefore fished, an activity which rather significantly weakens the foundations of the marine food chain.

Role of Salmon in the Diet

Fresh salmon is a product that often appears in diets, regardless of whether it involves nutritional therapies or not. As we will see below, however, it is not adaptable to any diet; in fact, due to its high caloric value, it could be contraindicated in the diet of sedentary overweight subjects. Its most interesting dietary application concerns diet against metabolic diseases (mainly dyslipidemia and hypertension). This last application is due to the particular nutritional value of salmon, which stands out for its richness in essential fatty acids of the omega 3 group (in particular EPA and DHA) and astaxanthin (carotenoid). As is now well known, the lipophilic molecules of the omega 3 group cannot be produced autonomously by the body, therefore they must necessarily be introduced through food. Their metabolic effect (in addition to the energetic one) is bivalent: they are precursors of some “good” eicosanoids and constituents of the cell membrane; furthermore, it seems that their presence lowers cholesterol, improves the LDL/HDL ratio, lowers hypertriglyceridemia, reduces hypertension, fights systemic inflammation, prevents the onset of thrombi to the advantage of cardiovascular risk and reduces complications related to type 2 diabetes mellitus.astaxanthin, on the other hand, is a pro vitamin A with an antioxidant and coloring effect; this is the molecule responsible for the pink color of salmon meat, which plays a metabolic role in protecting against free radicals and a beneficial skin function against sunburn.
It is curious to learn that among the various omega 3 supplements there is also the so-called salmon oil (for humans and animals). In addition to the well-known chains of essential fatty acids, this orange oil (marketed in collagen pearls) is promoted by virtue of the presence of antioxidant astaxanthin and phospholipids (probably obtained from the nervous tissue of fish). The extraction method of salmon oil is little known to the public, but it cannot be ruled out that it involves the recycling of certain waste obtained from the marketing of the meat.
On the other hand, it should be remembered that salmon falls into the category of fatty fish, therefore it constitutes a food with a high caloric value. This means that any constant and significant food abuse (perhaps associated with other “questionable” conduct) could favor the onset of overweight. Let's not forget that among the various causes of onset of the metabolic diseases we mentioned above (in reference to the positive effects of omega 3), in addition to individual predisposition, sedentary lifestyle and unbalanced diet, there is also overweight itself. In light of what has been said so far, it is certainly not difficult to understand why salmon rarely appears in the diets against obesity. To be precise, this food could be contextualized in a more or less effective way even in these nutritional schemes, but being careful to reduce the overall seasoning oil; however, respecting the criterion of “applicability” of the portions (i.e., weights at least sufficient to give a sense of satiety), including salmon in the diet of a sedentary person would become quite complicated and not always justifiable.
Let's also not forget that salmon is a food rich in proteins of High Biological Value, that is, with a rather good pool of essential amino acids and in considerable quantities; this aspect is particularly appreciated by athletes and bodybuilders.
As for the sali mineralssalmon meat is fairly rich in iron, potassium and phosphorus, while as regards the vitaminspro vitamin A (Astaxanthin), vitamin D (Cholecalciferol), vitamin PP (Niacin) and vitamin B1 (Thiamin) are abundant.
For subjects without complications, salmon is always very relevant in the diet and in any form, while for pregnant women it is necessary that it be cooked to further avoid the risk of microbiological contamination.

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