Thursday, February 12, 2009
Salmon an aphrodisiac
Salmon is the common name for several species of fish of the family Salmonidae. Several other fish in the family are called trout. Salmon live in both Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, as well as the Great Lakes and other land locked lakes.
Typically, salmon are anadromous: they are born in fresh water, migrate to the ocean, then return to fresh water to reproduce. Folklore has it that the fish return to the exact spot where they were born to spawn; research indicates that at least 90% of the fish that spawn in a particular stream were born there. In Alaska, the crossing-over to other streams allows salmon to populate new streams, such as those that emerge as a glacier retreats. The precise method salmon use to navigate has not been entirely established, though their keen sense of smell is involved. In all species of Pacific salmon, the mature individuals die within a few days or weeks of spawning, a trait known as semelparity. However, even in those species of salmon that may survive to spawn more than once (iteroparity), post-spawning mortality is quite high (perhaps as high as 40 to 50 %.) Those species average about two or, perhaps, three spawning events per individual.
Salmon are incredible fish traveling thousands of miles throughout their life cycle and within two to five years returning to the very location where they were born to spawn and die. The specific characteristics and life cycles of salmon vary with each species. Their flesh ranges in color from pink to red to orange with some varieties richer in important omega 3 fatty acids than others.
Salmon is a popular food. Consuming salmon is considered to be reasonably healthy due to the fish's high protein and low fat levels and to its high Omega-3 fatty acids content. Salmon is also a source of cholesterol, ranging 23 - 214 mg/100g depending on the species. According to reports in the journal Science, however, farmed salmon may contain high levels of dioxins. PCB (polychlorinated biphenyl) levels may be up to eight times higher in farmed salmon than in wild salmon. Omega-3 content may also be lower than in wild caught individuals, and in a different proportion to what is found naturally. Omega 3 comes in three types, ALA, DHA and EPA, and it is DHA and EPA (important for brain function and brain structure, amongst other things) which traditionally wild salmon has been an important source of. This means that if the farmed salmon is fed on a meal which is partially grain then the amount of Omega 3 it contains will be present as ALA (Linoleic acid). The body can itself convert ALA Omega 3 into DHA and EPA, but at a very inefficient rate (2-15%). Nonetheless, according to a 2006 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the benefits of eating even farmed salmon still outweigh any risks imposed by contaminants. Type of Omega 3 present may not be a factor for other important health functions.
Salmon, especially the expensive ones, are rich, deeply flavorful fish that stimulates the appetite. It has been underrated yet equally as stirring as strawberries, champagne, caviar and chocolate. Eating them is considered to be truly healthy which could possibly induce that aphrodisiac-like feeling after consumption. Anyways, be it an aphrodisiac or not, eating it will surely benefit you.