What Happens to Your Body When You Eat Farmed Salmon

Fish is, by all accounts, a miracle food. A great source of lean protein and other vital nutrients, it’s often highlighted as the “health-conscious” alternative on restaurant menus. A flaky pink salmon, especially, is the go-to “lighter fare.” But before you order that filet, consider—where did the fish come from? And, maybe more importantly, does it matter? In short: yes and no. Salmon can either be farmed or wild-caught, and there is a debate between experts in the nutrition community about which method is superior—and what happens to your body when you eat farmed salmon.

“Both farmed and wild salmon have been shown to accumulate a variety of toxic pollutants,” says Dr. Rashmi Byakodi, a health and wellness writer and the editor of Best for Nutrition. She notes, however, that farmed fish does include a higher number of contaminants compared to its wild-caught counterpart.

Plus, there are environmental concerns to consider. Chris Airey, M.D., explains that the salmon controversy continues, there: “In some areas, it can be better to farm salmon in facilities and leave the natural population to grow, while in some places the farmed salmon make their way into the natural habitats and wreak havoc.”

While both of these aspects need to be considered when choosing to eat farmed salmon or wild salmon, we were most intent on answering just one question. Even though fish farms get a bad rap for “breeding nastiness,” as one dietitian put it, what actually happens to your body when you eat farmed salmon? Here’s what the experts had to say, and for more healthy tips, be sure to check out our list of The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.