Salmon is a quality meat that provides the body with healthy nutrients such as potassium, vitamin B12, omega 3 fatty acids and plenty of protein. The combination of these nutrients helps the brain, joints and heart to function better.

Considering that a large number of the world is consuming salmon on daily basis, it is extremely important to be aware of the proper way to choose a salmon during your shopping spree. The difference between salmons quality can be tremendous and one way to choose the correct one is to pick the right shade of color.

Salmon caught in the wildlife will have a much more distinct red color compared to a farmed salmon which has a comparatively much lighter red leaning into a pink color. The reason for the red color of the salmon is the molecule called Astaxanthin which is found in other healthy sea life such as algae and krill. Astaxanthin is a molecule that is considered an antioxidant as well as anti-inflammator, it helps with the cardiovascular system and makes the powerhouse of the cell the mitochondria to produce more energy.

The difference between the color red between the wild salmon and the farmed salmon is in the diet. Wild salmon feeds in its natural environment whereas farmed salmon is continually fed pellets that are just a lower quality version of the natural ingredients needed for a salmon to survive. The farmed salmon often has less quality in its meat because of the nature of the pellets which do not contain natural Astahanthin but rather a synthetic version. Because of the food they absorb the salmon is more prone to develop mercury and dioxin contamination. Furthermore when the quality of the salmon decreases, antibiotics are introduced to keep the salmon healthy, however there could be traces of the antibiotics that can slip through the cracks into our food chain.

Based on the research done by the environmental protection agency fresh salmon is not contaminated by mercury and it is safe to eat by pregnant women. Farmed salmon however is at a greater risk of mercury and antibiotic contamination.

Here are some of the most nutritious types of wild salmon to look for:

Sockeye Salmon – This type of salmon is almost always found in the wild because it is tough to farm. The food that it feeds on is plankton. The diet of Sockeye Salmon is the reason that it contains the most amount of Astahanthin, cholesterol and vitamin D, as well as omega 3’s. Because of its strong flavor it is usually served smoked.

Chinook (King) Salmon – This is the larges salmon in the world and can easily get to 100 pounds. It has twice the amount of omega 3 acids in the body because of the natural environment that it swims in. The cold waters it travels into has evolved the salmon to keep the omega 3 acids in a liquid form to keep itself warm enough to survive. Chinook (King) Salmon is good when its grilled or smoked.

Pacific Coho Salmon – This salmon has the third highest content omega 3 acids out of all the salmon types. It contains a large amount of vitamin D and omega 3. This type is often used for sushi.