Farmed Salmon is Full of Antibiotics and Mercury, Here’s How To Tell If Your Salmon Is Safe



I like to enjoy salmon once every week. There are two main reasons why I love it. it has a great versatile flavor and it is rich source of various types of rarely available nutrients that help enhance performance. There is another great reason – salmon is so easy to cook. It can also be eaten raw, but in that case you must ensure that you are getting the good thing.

I would tell you that it is important to buy only good salmon. The situation is just like with beef – all salmon is not good!

The following characteristics of this food depend on many factors like how and where the salmon lived:

– Fattiness

– Flavor

– Nutrient profile

In this guide I will share with you the in-depth knowledge of the powerful compounds found is this tasty fish. You will also learn how to choose good salmon and the best ways for cooking a Bulletproof recipe with this fish.

Salmon has Astaxanthin: Natural Anti-Aging Food Color

Most of us know that there’s a lot of connection between the color of the food and its nutrient profile. The same is the case with salmon.

Sockeye salmon has a vigorous and satisfying red color. And when choosing your salmon, make sure that is exactly what you see. If that’s not the case with a salmon, you should know that it’s farmed.  Farmed salmon is going to be pale and you will immediately know that it’s sickly.

Salmon gets its natural color because of astaxanthin. This is a bright red molecule that exists in algae, krill and plankton. It is a highly potent stuff. Its main health benefits include:

– A powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant

– Protecting your cells’ mitochondria by making the cell membranes stronger and keeping out the damage-causing oxygen species

– Improving blood flow

– When taken as a supplement, it helps in increasing strength endurance by over 50 percent. This was found by a study sponsored by a company making astaxanthin supplement. It was a placebo-controlled study, randomized and had a large number of participants, so the results cannot be denied fully.

– Improving mitochondrial energy production

Wild salmon gets all its astaxanthin from the food it consumes. The best example is sockeye salmon because it consumes almost nothing else but plankton which is rich in astaxanthin. Because farmed salmon consume only food pellets, farmers have to add synthetic astaxanthin to their diet. Unfortunately, most of this commercial astaxanthin is made using petrochemicals such as coal. In fact, it has a chemical composition that is different from natural astaxanthin.

Fish feed also contains various other components like fish oils and fish meal. They are high risk for fish for causing mercury and dioxin contamination.

More recently, farmers have realized the damage caused by heavy metal contamination and have tried replacing fish oil and fish meal with corn and soy-based proteins and vegetable oil. But this raises another concern because corn and soy are not part of salmon’s natural diet. This causes decrease in their meat quality. This forces farmers to make use of antibiotics for maintaining their health. And these antibiotics reach the salmon meat you consume, even if in trace amounts.

Due to vegetable oil consumption, salmon meat has reduced levels of omega-3 fat. This can also cause introduction of mold toxins.

In simple terms stop eating farmed salmon. You should eat only wild-caught salmon.

Damaging Effects of Mercury Found in Farmed Salmon

You would have found this introduction to farmed salmon to be highly concerning. Both the EPA and FDA have been conducting studies over mercury contamination in fish. They found that the risk is very low in wild caught salmon. They have claimed that it is safe to eat salmon several times a week.

Best Wild Salmon

So now you know that you should eat only wild salmon. But which one? The answer to this question depends on the kind of nutrients you are looking for.


1. Sockeye Salmon

You must consume sockeye salmon. They have highest levels of vitamin D, astaxanthin, and cholesterol (much higher than in other types of salmon). This is because they have a unique diet that comprises exclusively of plankton. Interestingly, the special eating habits of sockeye also make them very hard to farm. In other words, they are almost always wild.

This fish is also rich in omega-3s. You can also tell them from their strong flavor. Sockeye is great for your health and is delicious when smoked (we will share more on smoked salmon here).

2. Chinook Salmon (King)

It has almost twice the number of omega-3s found in any other species of salmon. They live in the deep and cold water, and the additional omega-3s are required for keeping this fish warm. They don’t freeze because the fat remains in liquid form in their body.

But Chinook salmon is not like sockeye salmon when it comes to farming. They can be farmed. So in this case, you must ensure that this high-omega-3 salmon variety is wild-caught before you buy it.

3. Pacific Coho Salmon

This is also a great salmon variety. This variety contains the third-highest amount of fat. It is also rich in vitamin D and omega-3s.

So these three are your best choices if they are wild-caught.  They are different in their taste and you should check them before choosing the best flavor for you.

Cooking Salmon

You will find smoked salmon to be amazing. It is almost Bulletproof. One of the main concerns of smoking meat is that it causes production of histamine. This compound is capable of causing inflammation in those who are sensitive. You should first test some smoked salmon and check how you feel. It will be better to choose cold-smoked salmon, if available. This can help in preserving the omega-3s.

Do you get salmon raw? You should be trying this recipe we picked up form Bulletproof: The Cookbook. This recipe brings out the rich flavor from the fish because of its simplicity. The lemon juice has its acid balancing the fat.

Recipe: Perfect Parchment-Baked Salmon

This recipe will serve 2!

If you can cook it the right way, salmon can be the ideal super food. This is a sure shot recipe that doesn’t involve any guesswork. This helps ensure that you get your omega-3s without losing them.

Ingredients required:

– Center-cut Wild Salmon Fillets – 2 (8 Oz each)

– Bulletproof Brain Octane Oil – 1 tsp (you may also use coconut oil or MCT)

– Sea salt

– Grass-fed unsalted butter – 1 tbsp

– Minced fresh herbs – 1 tbsp (like chives, dill or parsley)

– Lemon wedges (for serving)


– Start by preheating your oven to 320°F.

– Take a piece of parchment paper and put the salmon over it on a baking sheet.

– Take the Brain Octane oil and rub it over the fillets.

– Use sea salt for seasoning and top it up with butter.

– The parchment should be wrapped around the fish. Fold the seams and tuck them. This will prevent the steam from escaping.

– Let it bake until the salmon gets medium rare. This wall take around 18 minutes.

– The sprinkle herbs and lemon juice (after squeezing)



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