Today’s global food systems face unprecedented challenges, and at the same time, offer many opportunities to drive widescale health, social and environmental progress. As the world’s population is projected to grow by billions in the coming decades, so too will the pressures on our planet’s resources. The status quo is no longer an option.
The link between environmental challenges, climate change, malnutrition, diseases and economic inequality is becoming clearer. Society is looking to the convergence of nutrition and sustainability for solutions. Change at speed and scale is essential to ensure global food systems can provide healthy, sustainable foods.
Sustainable aquaculture, including responsibly farmed salmon, plays a central role in helping to achieve global dietary and sustainability recommendations, and offering a sustainable food choice.
Here we share some of the many benefits eating farmed salmon can offer:
Responsibly-farmed salmon: A healthy, sustainable source of nutrition for a growing global population.
Farmed salmon is an excellent source of protein, healthy fats in the form of omega-3 and several essential vitamins and minerals. The average 3.5 oz. (100 g) portion of farmed salmon contains 41% of the recommended daily intake of protein and at least 20% of the recommended daily intake of vitamins B3, B5, B6, B12, vitamin D, vitamin E and selenium. It is also a good source of potassium, which is a nutrient of public health concern in the United States.
On average a 3.5 oz. (100 g) portion of farmed salmon also contains ~2g of the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA are unique to seafood and the best dietary sources are found in oily fish. These two omega-3s are important for human health and are associated with multiple improved health outcomes, especially when consumed from fish.
Global food-based dietary guidelines are government advice on how to follow a healthy diet and lifestyle. Around the world, these guidelines recommend regular consumption of fish, and particularly oily fish, due to its nutrient-rich profile, including protein, high levels of EPA and DHA, and other micronutrients. Eating seafood each week – including responsibly farmed salmon – can help support a healthy diet and achieve global dietary recommendations.
Some guidelines – including those published by Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Qatar and Sweden – are starting to recognize the importance of responsibly-sourced seafood in helping to meet nutritional needs. However, more awareness is needed around sustainable seafood certifications and the contributions seafood makes to a safe, sustainable and healthy diet. One way to do this is for guidelines to consistently recommend third-party sustainability labels, such as Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification. ASC is the most rigorous of farmed seafood labels based on environmental and social measures. That’s why GSI members are committed to achieving 100% ASC-certified production.
Spotlight on the USA
The United States published its latest healthy eating advice in December 2020, via the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. The guidelines recognize that seafood is an important source of nutrition that almost 90% of Americans – across all life stages – should eat more of. For adults, this means at least 8 oz. (around two servings) of seafood per week. Salmon, in particular, is credited as a source of calcium, vitamin D, EPA and DHA. The guidelines also recommend choosing seafood from the Food and Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency’s “Best Choices” list, which includes salmon.
GSI is proud to be a MyPlate National Strategic Partner! Through this partnership, we are spreading the word that switching to dietary choices rich in nutrition – like farmed salmon – is an example of a small diet and lifestyle change that can add up to big benefits over time. Find more educational resources to make every bite count at MyPlate.gov.
Shifts are needed within the protein foods group to add variety to subgroup intakes. Selecting from the seafood subgroup or the beans, peas, and lentils subgroup more often could help meet recommendations while still ensuring adequate protein consumption.
2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans
Research shows that eating seafood at least twice a week helps maintain a healthy heart and reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Regular consumption of salmon can promote health and development across the lifespan. Farmed salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which support vision, early brain development and heart health. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish have been found to help offset the adverse effect of heavy metals and environmental pollutants. Experts agree that the health benefits of eating fish, including farmed and wild salmon, far outweigh the possible risks from contaminants. You can learn more about food safety in our sustainability report here.
Helping maintain a healthy heart by lowering blood pressure, triglycerides and inflammation, and therefore reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular mortality.1,2
Reducing the risk of coronary heart disease.2
Supporting brain function and development in infants.3
Possibly preventing psychiatric diseases, particularly cognitive decline in the elderly.4
Possibly preventing inflammation and reducing the risk of arthritis.5
- Innes JK and Calder PC. Int J Mol Sci. 2020;21(4):E1362.
- FDA Announces New Qualified Health Claims for EPA and DHA Omega-3 Consumption and the Risk of Hypertension and Coronary Heart Disease
- Hibbeln JR et al. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 2019;151:14–36.
- Pusceddu et al. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2016;19(12):1-23pyw078
- Akbar U et al. J Clin Rheumatol. 2017 23;(6):330-339.
The food choices we make can have important impacts both on our health and on the planet.
Nutrient-rich and sustainable protein sources, like farmed salmon, are needed to feed a growing population with healthier more sustainable diets. With a population set to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050, and a need to conserve the earth’s resources, responsible aquaculture offers one solution in providing highly nutritious and eco-efficient food.
100 g of farmed salmon provides all 9 essential amino acids and ~20.5 g of protein, which is 41% of the daily required protein intake.
As food systems evolve, the GSI is proud to support the work of many global authorities, including the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy to ensure the industry continues to be managed responsibly, and support the recommendations for increasing seafood consumption.
GSI members help ensure farm-raised salmon is one of the most eco-efficient animal-based proteins available, while maintaining salmon’s nutritional integrity and reducing pressure on the ocean’s resources.