Canned salmon is a good alternative when fresh salmon is not readily available because it is a source of high-quality protein and calcium. The United States Food and Drug Administration recommends that pregnant women and small children eat no more than two servings of canned salmon per week because of potential mercury contamination. One serving equals 3.5 oz. of canned salmon.
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Both pink salmon and red or sockeye salmon supply 23 g of protein per serving, according to the Alaska Seafood. If you consume a 2,000 calorie per day diet, you need about 60 g of protein, or 10 to 15 percent of your daily calorie intake. Eating one serving of salmon per day supplies 38 percent of your daily protein requirements.
Salmon contains 18 of the 20 amino acids that make up proteins, according to Alaska Protein Recovery. Of those, 10 are essential amino acids that your body can’t produce, so they must come from the foods you eat. Essential amino acids include arginine, which only infants need, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. Salmon contains all 10 essential amino acids as well as eight others.
Protein serves a number of purposes in the body, including acting as an energy source. Since protein, a complex molecule, takes longer to break down than carbohydrates, it supplies a longer-lasting source of energy. Protein repairs damaged tissue and builds new tissue.
Fish such as salmon have several benefits over red meat as a dietary protein source. Red meat contains more fat, ounce for ounce, and the fats in fish, particularly salmon and other large cold-water fatty fish, supply a healthier type of fat. While meat contains saturated fats, which can raise cholesterol levels, salmon contains unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce cholesterol levels and may benefit your heart. Eating more than 8 oz. of red meat per week may also increase your risk of developing colon cancer, the Harvard School of Public Health reports.