Scottish salmon’s nutritional value better than ever, study finds

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Scottish salmon contains higher levels of vitamin D and omega-3 fats than previously thought, researchers at the University of Stirling have found.

Levels of omega-3 fats and vitamin D – which is even more important in the winter months when lack of sunshine makes it harder for humans to produce it naturally –are among the reasons why nutritionists recommend salmon as a healthy food.

The analysis revealed that vitamin D and omega-3s are 7 to 8 per cent higher in Scottish salmon, compared with previous tests conducted in 2003 and 2020.

It also found that a single portion of salmon provides more than 70 per cent of daily vitamin D needs. Salmon also has 4.5 times the daily recommendation for special omega-3 fats found in marine foods, more than half our protein needs, and 42 per cent of the vitamin E recommendation.

The latest study was commissioned by industry body Salmon Scotland, and conducted independently by the Nutrition Analytical Service at the Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling.

Researchers collected 15 samples of farm-raised Scottish salmon flesh, representative of typical Scottish produce, and put them through a variety of laboratory tests to assess nutrient levels.

Dietitian and TV nutritionist Dr Carrie Ruxton said: “Vitamin D is essential for normal immune function, something focussing everyone’s mind at the moment, as well as supporting bones, muscles and teeth.

“More than a quarter of us are vitamin D deficient and this only gets worse in the winter when sunshine – which stimulates our bodies to make vitamin D – is in short supply.

“Omega-3 fats from marine foods – nutrients that many of us lack because we don’t eat enough fish – are proven to support vision and heart function. Experts also say these important fats contribute to infant development when eaten by mums during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

“If everyone followed advice to eat one serving of oily fish a week, such as a tasty fillet of farm-raised Scottish salmon, we would get more than two thirds of our weekly omega-3 recommendation in that single meal.”

Salmon Scotland chief executive Tavish Scott commented: “Year-on-year improvements to the way producers in Scotland are rearing and feeding their stock seems to have paid off in terms of the nutritional value of salmon.”

Dr Carrie Ruxton

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