What’s Healthier — Farmed or Wild Salmon?

With its heart-healthy fats and high protein content, you probably know fish, and especially salmon is good for you. But do you ever wonder whether farmed or wild salmon is a healthier or better choice?

Deep, almost red-colored, lovely, gamey tasting wild salmon is a cousin to mild-tasting pale pink, farmed salmon most of us have available for a better part of the year. Wild salmon is in season, readily available, and least expensive from May through early September. Farmed salmon is available year-round.

Both types of salmon are a great source of protein and healthy omega-3 fats. So besides the taste, is there any reason to spring for the usually higher-priced wild salmon?

Here’s a side-by-side comparison between wild and farmed salmon to help you decide.

If you're concerned about what you eat eats, and any risk for potential toxins, it might seem that wild salmon has a clear advantage, as long as it’s available and affordable. It’s important to note though, that all fish, wild or farmed, must adhere to FDA limits for PCB content and mercury levels - although some may measure just below the cutoff.

It’s also helpful to know the source of your seafood. Some, like Whole Foods Market, have stricter quality standards for their farmed fish. The company won’t source fish that have been fed antibiotics, added growth hormones, synthetic colorants, or poultry and mammalian by-products in feed. They also require farmers to minimize their impact on the environment.

There are clear health benefits to eating fish, and the American Heart Association recommends adults eat it twice a week as part of a heart-healthy diet. Like everything we eat, it’s good to aim for variety, so even though wild salmon is in season right now, mix it up with other healthy choices like arctic char, which is similar to salmon in taste and omega-3 content, or farmed rainbow trout which is a bit leaner and milder tasting, or ANY seafood you like!

Need a few recipes?  Check out my Sweet Chipotle  Grilled Salmon, or this very quick Sriracha Honey Glaze for salmon (or any other fish).

What's your favorite fish?

Eat well!


  1. Anne, this is a very informative post. I live in the Pacific Northwest and enjoy our salmon and I prefer the wild. Fresh if I can get it but I will take the frozen also. Good info, thanks. 🙂

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