There’s no denying that salmon has superfood status. This nutrient-dense fish is one of the few nonfortified edible sources of vitamin D, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and gets its pink color from astaxanthin, a carotenoid with 10 times the antioxidant power of similar compounds, according to a study published in April 2021 in Pharmacological Research.
In spite of its status as a lean protein, salmon is renowned for its healthy fat, offering a rich supply of omega-3 fatty acids, which have benefits for heart and brain health, according to the National Institutes of Health. Omega-3 fatty acids are classified as essential fats, meaning your body needs them but is not capable of making them on its own, notes the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, so you have to get them from food like fish. Salmon tends to be a popular choice because its flavor isn’t as strong as that of other fatty fish.
One of salmon’s only drawbacks is that it can be quite expensive fresh, and prices are predicted to rise, at least in the near future. Indeed, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) just paid record prices for salmon as demand has been increasing and supply decreasing thanks, at least in part, to a potential salmon shortage.
The majority of Americans, as many as 90 percent, fail to get the recommended two servings of fish each week, according to a study conducted by the USDA. What’s worse, a previous study found that those who are socioeconomically disadvantaged are even more likely to skip the fish, suggesting that there is an inverse relationship between the cost of fish and the likelihood people will eat it on a regular basis.
One potential solution? Canned salmon. Like canned tuna, this shelf-stable staple is affordable while offering nutritional benefits similar to those of fresh fish. It’s also conveniently already cooked, and canned salmon tends to be higher in calcium than fresh fish because small bones are processed with the fish (and perfectly safe to eat), notes the USDA.
You’ll find two main types of canned salmon on grocery store shelves: pink and sockeye. Sockeye has more healthy omega-3 fatty acids and a richer texture and flavor than pink salmon, according to data from the USDA, making it the healthier choice. Opt for versions without any added salt if possible and those packed in water to keep calories in check; you’ll still get lots of benefits from the healthy fats in salmon. Here are five delicious, easy, affordable, and nutritious dishes you can make with canned salmon today.