Wild vs Farmed Salmon: Which Is Healthier?


If you’ve ever wondered whether wild salmon is healthier than farmed salmon, I’ve outlined the facts for you.

My top pick for salmon is wild Alaskan salmon. Alaska has some of the highest fishing standards in the world. Wild Alaskan salmon is low in mercury and contaminants, higher in nutrients, and has a superior omega-6:omega 3 ratio, which means more anti-inflammatory benefits.


Farmed salmon has about double the amount of fat as wild, and is significantly higher in omega-6 fatty acids due to their unnatural diet of grains, vegetable oil, chicken(!!!), and other things. While the overall omega 6:3 ratio is decent compared to many foods (1:3), the wild salmon ratio is superior (1:10). (1, 2, 3)


Wild salmon is higher in a variety of nutrients including calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc. (1,2) Boston University researchers found that a 3.5 oz sample of wild Pacific salmon had four times more vitamin D (988 IU), compared with farmed Atlantic salmon (245 IU). (4)


The Environmental Working Group (EWG) found farmed salmon to be 5-10x higher in PCBs compared to wild.

According to EWG “PCBs are persistent, cancer-causing chemicals that were banned in the United States in 1976 and are among the “dirty dozen” toxic chemicals slated for global phase-out under the United Nations Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, signed by President Bush on May 23, 2001. Because of their persistence, PCBs continue to contaminate the environment and the food supply.” (5)


Fish farms can give fish antibiotics and pesticides (especially salmon which are prone to lice when in confined quarters) and add artificial colorant to make it appear more rosy.

Know what you’re eating! More tips like this in my book the Real Food Grocery Guide.

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