Salmon! Fresh off the boat! Wild-caught Alaskan salmon! We’ve all heard that salmon is an excellent health food, but most of what’s sold is farmed, pale and flavorless. Scientists are even genetically-modifying salmon and that’s some Frankenfish you don’t want to touch… and we definitely don’t want them to breed with real salmon. Seemingly these interventions are to keep a steady supply of such a high-demand commodity protein. As much as I’d like to eat salmon several times a week, I just don’t. I pay the premium price for fresh Alaskan salmon a few times in the summer and then have frozen salmon later in the year. I also supplement with high-quality fish oils. Pacific salmon has been overfished and even disappeared in Pacific Northwest rivers. Slowly salmon is making a comeback, thanks to the efforts of sustainable fisheries, and there’s great sources of Alaskan salmon with low risk for mercury-contamination. This is the time of year to savor flavorful, meaty salmon from Alaskan rivers and celebrate its incredible health benefits.
Salmon is the just about the finest source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are hugely beneficial to cellular function, mood and cognition, cardiovascular health, and immune system regulation. Omega-3s have also been shown to help protect against multiple cancers and prevent unwanted inflammation in the body. Salmon has incredible potential to support joint health and recovery from stress and strain. In addition to the anti-inflammatory properties from omega-3s, along with its high joint-supportive selenium content, new research indicates that a special protein molecule called calicitonin in salmon plays a role in maintaining collagen and minerals in our bones and connective tissues.
On top of all that, many of the ingredients in this primarily seasonal recipe also contribute to joint health. To name a few, spinach (available year-round) contains a variety of nutrients that are good for our bones and joints, including vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and folic acid. Lemon provides extra vitamin C (which is vital for collagen production) and scents the dish with its fragrant flavor, while turmeric, one of my favorite and most potent healing foods, adds powerful anti-inflammatory properties and little more complexity to the grains. Even, quinoa, which is high in protein, healthy fats, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds can be healthy for the joints among people who tolerate grains (quinoa is not technically a grain, but we call it one anyway). I do want to note, that since this gluten-free superfood has triggered some controversy in recent years as another commodity food, we can look for information about sourcing and eat it in moderation.
So whether you are an athlete, dealing with a joint-related illness, or looking to strengthen your body with real food nutrition, this dinner should hit the spot.
* This recipe was updated in July of 2015