The process of smoking fish and meats predates written records - it is a process steeped in a global rich history. To answer the question 'how healthy is smoked salmon', it is important to understand not only the process of smoking, but also its history.
Based on our ancestors’ necessity to preserve their catches without access to the modern convenience of refrigerators, the salting and smoking of animal products was a means to facilitate a natural preservation of the product.
The smoking process removes the moisture from the product while killing the bacteria within, resulting in a long-life product that actually, by a fortuitous accident, tastes incredible.
Hot versus cold smoking:
There are two ways to smoke salmon: the hot and the cold methods. Cold-smoked salmon is not actually cooked - the smoking process never exceeds 30 degrees Celsius, whereas the hot-smoking process is actually a cooking process where the temperature of the smokehouse can surpass 74 degrees Celsius.
Both techniques have their own charm and distinct flavour profiles they add to the salmon, with a key differentiator being that the cold-smoking process retains a significantly higher degree of freshness within the salmon. At Smokin’ Brothers all our smoked salmon is produced using the cold-smoking technique.
Main health benefits of consuming smoked salmon
- Smoked salmon is a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for reducing inflammation in the body, improving heart health and brain cognitive function, and according to new emerging research may potentially contribute to preventing certain types of cancer.
- Smoked salmon also contains vital nutrients such as Selenium, Potassium, a collection of B vitamins, and vitamin D.
- Protein! A 3-ounce serving of smoked salmon contains around 15.5 grams of protein, making it a rich source, and a great choice, of protein.
- A 3-ounce serving of smoked salmon also provides 2.8 micrograms of the vitamin B-12, along with 384 milligrams of the essential long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA.
- Smoked salmon has a comparatively low calorie profile…and tastes absolutely incredible at the same time!
Smoked Salmon Concerns:
- A major concern with smoked salmon is its salt content. While reasonable quantities of salt are essential for good health, as with any substance overconsuming salt is not recommended and does not contribute to an optimum health profile. Smoked salmon does contain more salt compared to fresh salmon, however as with any sophisticated indulgence, when consumed in moderation smoked salmon remains a balanced choice.
- A frequent topic that arises when discussing how healthy smoked salmon is, is whether the smoking process damages the beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids within the salmon. While studies suggest that the oxidation of these fatty acids is not significant in the smoking process, they do differentiate between the hot and cold smoking processes, with hot smoking potentially leading to a faster degradation.
- Another discussion point surrounding how healthy smoked salmon is, is whether smoked foods contain small levels of PAHs - some of which are considered carcinogenic. Of all smoked products, smoked salmon generally contains lower levels of PAHs - and cold-smoked smoked salmon is shown to typically contain fewer PAHs than hot-smoked varieties.
- Cold-smoked salmon is recognised as a risk for Listeria monocytogenes, which can cause listeriosis, a serious foodborne infection. This risk is higher for vulnerable groups such as young children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems. While hot-smoked salmon is less likely to pose this risk due to the cooking process, it is important to note that typically Listeria is present on wild catch fishes (hence why wild salmon requires a shock freezing process in order to remove any risk to consumers). Farmed salmon (such as Smokin’ Brothers’ salmon) benefits from being naturally listeria free, so the risk of Listeria is greatly minimised by choosing to consume high-grade salmon from trusted farms and suppliers.
Smoked salmon is overall a very healthy choice, providing the consumer with not only an excellent taste experience but also a wide array of nutrients, vitamins, fatty acids and compounds.
At Smokin’ Brother we are committed to environmental responsibility in everything we do. We only source our salmon from the pristine Scottish depths, and ensure every stage of the supply chain is sustainable and a model of best practice for the wider industry.
We only select the highest quality raw salmon to be smoked - quality is key afterall, as the health benefits stated above are directly correlated to the quality of the raw materials.
And our brand ethos is one of quality and balance, which extends from the very start of the supply chain when we select our salmon right through to our customers, who enjoy our premium product - without exaggeration.