By Dr. Kirsten West, ND, LAc
Salmon is one of my favorite foods. It is distinctively delightful and is also chaulk full of health benefits. Many of those benefits are because of its high Omega 3 content. Omega 3s are also known as essential fatty acids. Our bodies do not make them, we must consume them. Omega 3 fatty acids are not only good for our neural health, have been shown to stave off depression, manage cholesterol levels and ratios, and promote the health and fluidity of cell membranes, but they also, and most importantly, decrease and fight the fires of inflammation. You see, unlike other fatty acids (like Omega 6s- which the Amercian diet is far too high in!) which can be both inflammatory and anti-inflammatory (depending on the state of the “terrain”), Omega 3 fatty acids are only enabled entry to the anti-inflammatory club. This is a big deal and in fact, the best “club” to be a part of as far as lifelong well-being is concerned. And guess what? Salmon is one of the best ways to gain entry to this club and remain a lifelong member.
The consumption of salmon, along with additonal beneficial fats such as olive oil, olives, nuts and seeds, may be one of the reasons why the Mediterranean diet has gained such acclaim in regards to its researched health benefits and most notably, its association with lower rates of cancer.
Of course, it is imperative that the source of salmon is wild caught. And unfortunately, due to the state of our waters, even wild caught fish should be eaten in moderation (1-2x/week at most). Farm raised fish are fed antibiotics, are treated with pesticides, and many times, coloring is even added to make them more appealing to the consumer’s eye, when displayed on store refridgerator and freezer shelves.
Without futher ado, here is a pretty excellent recipe to make your brain, your cells, and your appetite happy. Oh, and I should mention, the addition of sesame oil to this dish helps to support platelet health, ginger gives this dish an additional anti-inflammatory punch while also supporting GI motility, and garlic helps to protect DNA from cancer causing substances, enhance DNA repair, and also has natural bactericidal properties (i.e, it can be an overall great way to support microbiome health; supporting our “good” bugs while decreasing the “bad”).
2-3 pounds salmon filet
2/3 cup tamari or shoyu
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons grated ginger
juice of 1 large lime
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 scallions, finely chopped
Roast chunks of red pepper on the grill while cooking the fish to serve as a garnish.
• To marinate: put tamari, oil, ginger, lime juice, garlic and scallions in a small mixing bowl; whisk together. Place fish in a shallow pan and pour marinade over top. Let sit in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
To grill: when coals are white, place fish (skin side down) on the grill. Brush the top with some of the marinade and grill for 5 minutes. Turn the fish over and remove the skin (it should come off easily). Brush with marinade again and cook for 4-7 minutes. Rule of thumb: 10 minutes of cooking time per inch of thickness.