Alaska canned salmon has long been part of domestic food and nutrition assistance programs’ food basket. Since 2004, it has been available for international food aid in school meals; food banks and pantries; disaster relief; nutrition programs for women, infants, children, and individuals with chronic diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. Food aid organizations have included Alaska canned salmon in their programs in Bolivia, Cambodia, Cameroon, Guatemala, Guinea Bissau, Jamaica, Laos, the Philippines, and Uganda.
A few of the many benefits Alaska canned salmon offer to food aid programs:
- Alaska canned salmon is highly nutritious
- It is suitable for people of all ages
- It is therapeutic and good for people living with HIV/AIDS
- It is easy to handle and has a long shelf life
Domestic and international food programs typically use canned pink salmon, the most widely used and often the least expensive. Canned keta salmon and canned red (sockeye) salmon are also provided when available. While nutrition is very similar, the three species can be distinguished by their color and flavor.
Super Food: Alaska canned salmon is naturally high in many essential vitamins E, C, D and A, and minerals including zinc, iron, calcium, and selenium. Canned salmon that includes the soft edible bones is a particularly rich source of calcium, and is a wonderful choice for people of all ages, who don’t consume dairy products but need high amounts of calcium to build strong bones. Some varieties are very high in vitamin E, an antioxidant, which has proven to strengthen the immune system, and lower the risk of heart disease by reducing the buildup of plaque in coronary arteries.
Rich in Healthy Essential Fats – Omega-3 Fatty Acids (DHA & EPA): Canned salmon is rich in these essential healthy fats. Studies demonstrate positive effects of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) on human health and aging. Both are thought to help reduce inflammation and might reduce the symptoms of depression. DHA is vital for the healthy development of the fetus, brain, nervous and visual systems. In middle-aged adults, higher DHA levels are related to better performance on tests of nonverbal reasoning and mental flexibility, working memory, and vocabulary. Omega-3 fatty acids’ natural antioxidants are thought to stop the thickening and damaging of artery walls. Recent research has also linked omega-3 fats to a slowdown in cartilage wear and tear that leads to osteoarthritis (Bazan, et al Annual Review of Nutrition, Vol. 31: 321 -351, August 2011)