Should You Eat The Skin On Salmon?

You're sitting at a fancy restaurant and you order the salmon dish, and it comes out with the crispy skin intact and in your face. Maybe you're at your favorite Japanese restaurant and you notice that there's a salmon skin roll. Or perhaps you've looked up a few recipes or articles on how to perfectly cook salmon, and they recommend not only leaving the skin on, but cooking your salmon on the skin side — not only does it act as a heat shield, leading to a more evenly cooked salmon with better texture, but it also prevents too much of the white albumin, which is really just coagulated protein, from leaking out as the salmon cooks.

Which gets you thinking, as you take various close-up photos of your meal to post to Instagram — instead of just peeling that salmon skin off and shoving it to the corner of your plate, should you actually be eating it instead?

Salmon skin can be healthy and delicious

One of the main health benefits of eating salmon is that it's a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which our bodies cannot produce on its own, and which may help with heart, brain, skin, and eye health, reports Greatist. Turns out, salmon skin contains the highest concentration of omega-3s in the entire fish, and cooking salmon with the skin on helps retain oils and nutrients that would otherwise be lost (via Healthline). Salmon skin also offers antioxidant benefits and may also help treat type-2 diabetes, according to Medical News Today.

There are some concerns with eating salmon skin to be aware of, and it largely comes down to knowing where your fish comes from. Fish, including salmon, can easily absorb pollutants, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and methylmercury, in the water, so if you're not confident your salmon comes from clean waters, it may be best to skip the skin, especially for those in a sensitive group like pregnant women and young children, warns Healthline. Atlantic farmed salmon is generally considered to be the most contaminated, while wild Pacific salmon is considered to be the least.

Otherwise, try eating that salmon skin next time. Enjoying the crispy salmon skin with your fillet adds a great textural contrast and taste. You can also enjoy salmon skin on its own, as a bacon alternative, salad garnish, noodle topping, or as a healthy snack, recommends Wide Open Eats.