Salmon

Loaded with protein and numerous muscle-making amino acids

Why You Need It

Like beef and chicken, salmon is a top muscle food. It's loaded with protein, plus numerous muscle-making amino acids, which the body uses readily during exercise. When you're done working out, high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the meat provide all the raw materials your body needs to make anti-inflammatory compounds that soothe your body's aches and pains.

The omega-3's powers don't end there. In lab studies, those same fats appear to help thwart at least some of the skin-cell dam- age caused by ultraviolet light. Although research is ongoing, there's a chance eating salmon may provide similar protection to your flesh when you're lounging by the pool.

Besides saving your skin, hefty vitamin D levels in salmon keep your bones strong and may help ward off colon cancer and multiple sclerosis. A six-ounce serving of salmon provides 720 IUs of vitamin D, around half of what scientists and researchers say you need each day.

To top it all off, in addition to all the other nutrients beneath those scales, salmon is packed with selenium, a mineral that may help to lower your risk of prostate cancer. One six-ounce serving of cooked salmon gives you all the selenium you need over any 24-hour period.

How to Get More

Eat It for Breakfast
Scramble eggs with sliced smoked salmon (lox) and chopped red onion. Pair your creation with a whole-grain bagel, toast, or a roll.

Make a Patty
For an easy burger substitute, mash together 8 ounces canned or leftover cooked salmon; 1/3cup cracker crumbs; 1 small finely chopped red onion; 1 egg; and a dash each of salt, pep- per, dried dill, and lemon juice. Mix it just like you would meat loaf. Form the mixture into 2 1/2 -inch-thick patties and cook on the grill or in a nonstick skillet (with a bit of added olive oil to prevent sticking). Cook until golden brown and serve on whole-grain buns.

Get Saucy
Mix together a couple of tablespoons of mustard and mayo, plus as much pepper, dill, and brown sugar as you'd like. Then, once you've got your salmon fillet on the grill, spoon the glaze evenly over the top and cook until done.

Hide It
Add cooked or smoked salmon to salads, pasta dishes, or homemade pizza.

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