If you've ever bought a whole salmon, you know how large this fish can be. A whole or half salmon will always need to be butchered into several smaller fillets. A single salmon portion size is usually between 3 and 4 ounces.
Between 3 and 4 ounces of salmon is usually considered a healthy serving size.
Consumption of Salmon Per Person
The USDA's website, ChooseMyPlate.gov, recommends that you consume at least 8 ounces of seafood per week. You can consume more seafood as part of a healthy diet as long as it's low in mercury. The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health recommends the consumption of 12 ounces of low-mercury seafood products like salmon every week.
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Generally, a healthy serving size is considered to be 3 to 4 ounces of salmon per person. While the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health considers an appropriate salmon portion size about 3 ounces (85 grams), other institutions, like the American Heart Association, say that a healthy salmon serving size can be a bit larger, ranging between 3.5 and 4 ounces (100 to 113 grams).
Consuming fish such as salmon two to three times a week is generally considered a healthy choice. It's particularly beneficial when you're consuming salmon instead of other animal proteins, particularly red meat.
According to a February 2016 study in the Journal of Scientific Reports, salmon has more healthy unsaturated fats compared to other commonly consumed animal proteins like beef, lamb, pork and chicken. These animal proteins tend to contain more saturated fat, which can be bad for your cardiovascular health when consumed in excess.
Nutritional Benefits of Salmon Consumption
Salmon is a fatty fish that is rich in a variety of different nutrients. The USDA says that a 3-ounce serving of cooked sockeye salmon has 22.5 grams of protein and 4.7 grams of fat. The majority of the fat in salmon comes from healthy unsaturated fats known as omega-3 fatty acids.
The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health says that these omega fats have a variety of benefits for your health, including helping to lower your blood pressure, heart rate and triglyceride levels. They can also help reduce the risk of certain diseases, including depression, stroke and Alzheimer's disease. Omega-3 fatty acids can even help promote healthy neurological development in growing infants.
Salmon can also provide you with a variety of essential nutrients, including phosphorus, selenium, B-complex vitamins and vitamin D. However, keep in mind that you may consume different nutrients depending on the type of salmon you've decided to eat.
Whether your salmon was farmed or wild-caught influences its nutrition. For example, the study in the Journal of Scientific Reports found that farmed salmon can have more fat than wild salmon. However, this increase in fat meant there was an overall increase in both the saturated and unsaturated fat content of farmed salmon.
Given this difference, Harvard Health Publishing recommends different salmon portion sizes for farmed versus wild salmon. Consuming two 3-ounce servings of wild salmon or one 3-ounce serving of farmed salmon each week should help most people get an adequate amount of omega-3 fatty acids.
- ChooseMyPlate.gov: "All About the Protein Foods Group"
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: "Fish: Friend or Foe?"
- American Heart Association: "Meat, Poultry, and Fish: Picking Healthy Proteins"
- MyFoodData: "Nutrition Facts for Cooked Sockeye Salmon"
- Journal of Scientific Reports: "Impact of Sustainable Feeds on Omega-3 Long-Chain Fatty Acid Levels in Farmed Atlantic Salmon, 2006–2015"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Fish: Friend or Foe?"