If you’re skimping on salmon while trying to lose weight, you could be missing out on some serious slimming benefits. The fish is such a smart choice to help you ditch the gut or other excess bulge that after hearing them, you might be convinced to eat lox on its own the next time you have a bagel craving.
Salmon, known for being a “meaty” fish, delivers a double-whammy punch to the paunch, thanks to its solid protein content and heart-healthy omega-3s. Those oils, characteristic of fatty fish like salmon and sardines, actually help your body transform white fat cells (think of the fat you can pinch) into healthy, fat-burning beige ones, a 2015 study out of Kyoto University found. This is a big win for you and your attempts to whittle your middle; as we age, the number of these “good” fat cells dwindles, making it even easier to pack on the pounds with each passing year. The study suggests, however, that it may be possible to grow or restore your number just by choosing fatty fish like salmon a couple times a week.
On top of that, salmon’s fat-melting capabilities get paired with its powerful boost of protein, a well-known weight loss ally. The Holy Grail of weight loss — losing fat while retaining or putting on muscle — is possible if you keep your protein intake high with the help of foods rich in the nutrient, like salmon. Both covetable effects can happen simultaneously, as long as you consume a high-protein diet and lift weights, which signals to your body to retain muscle instead of using it for fuel, according to a 2016 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Muscle retention is key because muscle torches calories, keeping your metabolism elevated and burning through your unwanted fat storage.
How to Add Salmon to Your Diet
Twice a week, swap in salmon where you would use chicken. For example, you can pair it with whole grains and veggies as side dishes or put it on top of a healthy salad. Yes, lox is still fair game on a healthy diet, and it’s a good way to meet your servings each week, but you’ll obviously see better results if you pile it on top of some greens rather than a bagel. If you just can’t separate the classic breakfast combo, choose a whole wheat bagel and try to find bagel thins at your local grocery store to cut calories and carbs. Just go easy on sugar-laden spreads and opt for fresh herbs and spices for flavor instead.