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Surprising Side Effects Salmon Has On Your Immune System, Says Science

We breakdown the key vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids that support immune function.
FACT CHECKED BY Kiersten Hickman

If you're at a restaurant and you're between chicken with a side of steamed veggies or salmon as the main, we recommend opting for the fatty fish. Especially if you're trying to strengthen your immune system.

Believe it or not, salmon is loaded in vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids that all help to improve immune function. Whether you prefer it smoked and on a bagel with cream cheese, or grilled and sitting next to roasted potatoes and asparagus, there are so many ways you can reap all of the fatty fish's immune-boosting benefits.

Below, we showcase four key nutrients that help you keep your immune system in tip-top shape. After, don't miss Eating Habits to Lose Abdominal Fat As You Age, Say Dietitians.

Gives you a healthy boost of vitamin D.

eating salmon

Vitamin D is essential for proper immune function and salmon happens to be one of the few food sources that pack a healthy dose of it—especially wild-caught salmon. Just half a fillet of sockeye salmon (198 grams), there is 815 IU (international units) of vitamin D, per the USDA. For context, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends that the average adult consume between 600-800 IU of vitamin D daily. Still, several studies suggest consuming at least 1,000 IU of the vitamin each day for optimal health. In fact, you can safely consume as much as 4,000 IU of vitamin D daily, which may be especially beneficial for those who live in areas where there isn't as much sunlight.

Along with salmon, here are The Best Foods That Are Rich In Vitamin D.

Packs vitamin B6.

salmon kale dinner

Salmon also provides a good source of vitamin B6, which as the Cleveland Clinic points out, is "vital to supporting biochemical reactions in the immune system." Fatty fish options happen to have one of the highest concentrations of vitamin B6 available in food. Whether you boil, sauté, or bake the fish, there are numerous ways you can reap the benefits it has to offer.

In case you need recipe ideas, be sure to check out 21+ Best Healthy Salmon Recipes for Weight Loss.

Provides a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids.

grilled seared salmon

When you're looking for a good that's rich in omega-3 fatty acids, look no further than salmon. Salmon is rich in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which is a type of omega-3 fatty acid, which is believed to reduce blood triglycerides and even harmful LDL cholesterol particles. In addition to keeping your heart healthy, omega-3 fatty acids provide a host of other health benefits. As Sydney Greene, MS, RD, and member of our medical board explained to Eat This, Not That! in a previous article, "Omega-3s make up the structure of cells in our body. We also need them for hormone production, immune function, and heart and lung support."

Offers a good source of magnesium.

salmon avocado cucumber toast

Finally, salmon also contains magnesium, a mineral that plays a key role in supporting your immune system. For reference, men need between 400-420 milligrams of magnesium each day whereas women require 310-320 milligrams of the mineral each day. A 3-ounce serving of farmed Atlantic salmon contains about 26 milligrams of magnesium, per the Cleveland Clinic. While this may not seem like a lot, if you pair it with a 1/2 cup of brown rice and avocado slices, you then add an additional 86 milligrams of the mineral to your meal.

Don't miss What Happens To Your Body When You Eat Canned Salmon.

Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the former news editor of Eat This, Not That! Read more about Cheyenne
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