| |

Sockeye Salmon vs Atlantic Salmon: Which is Better for Boosting HDL Cholesterol in the Blood?

Sockeye Salmon vs Atlantic Salmon: Which One Increases HDL Cholesterol Levels Better?

Sockeye vs Atlantic Salmon! We’re not talking just flavor, but their fight for top spot in boosting your HDL cholesterol.

In a world where what we eat really matters for our health, it’s important to know the differences between two types of salmon: Sockeye and Atlantic.

If you’ve ever pondered how these delicious fish affect your heart, get ready for some interesting info!

In this blog, we’re figuring out which type of salmon might be healthier for your heart. And our focus of this post is to compare the nutritional profiles: omega-3 fatty acid content of these salmon types – Sockeye and Atlantic, their potential to boost HDL cholesterol levels, and help you make informed decisions about incorporating these delectable fish into your diet.

So now, let’s compare the tasty and healthy aspects of Sockeye Salmon and Atlantic Salmon. Join us as we discuss the following:

  • Omega-3 power. Which salmon is better at protecting your heart, which one contains more omega-3 fatty acids?
  • Diet Differences. Does eating these salmon types boost the HDL cholesterol magic?
  • Farm vs. Wild. Does where they come from make a difference for your HDL levels?
  • Delicious Tips. What are some of the delicious ways to incorporate these HDL boosters to your plate?

Alright, it’s time to get into the real deal, Sockeye vs Atlantic Salmon: Which one is more effective in boosting HDL cholesterol levels in the blood? Let’s find out!

What is HDL Cholesterol and What Does it Do for the Heart?

HDL cholesterol, often referred to as the “good” cholesterol helps remove higher amount of cholesterol from your bloodstream and transport it back to your liver, where it’s broken down and removed from your body.

This helps prevent cholesterol from building up in your arteries. Here’s a breakdown of how HDL cholesterol benefits your heart:

  • Removes Excess Cholesterol. HDL picks up excess cholesterol from your tissues and blood vessels.
  • Prevents Plaque Buildup. Cholesterol buildup in your arteries can form plaque, which narrows the arteries and restricts blood flow to your heart. HDL remove cholesterol from these plaques, preventing them from growing and causing blockages.
  • Improves Blood Vessel Function. HDL helps keep your blood vessels flexible and elastic. This helps keep healthy blood pressure and reduces the risk of blood clots. Higher levels of HDL cholesterol are linked to a lower risk of heart disease.

In short, HDL cholesterol helps to keep your arteries clear and your blood flowing smoothly.

In general, an ideal HDL cholesterol level of 50 mg/dL or higher is considered to be optimal for adults.

Cholesterol Benefits of Eating Salmon

Studies have consistently shown that regular consumption of salmon can positively impact cholesterol levels.

Salmon packs a powerful punch when it comes to cholesterol benefits, making it a heart-healthy food. Here’s why:

  1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Salmon is rich in omega-3s, like EPA and DHA, these healthy fats do wonders for your cholesterol profile:
    • Omega-3s cut down on the production of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol that clog your arteries.
    • They boost HDL (good) cholesterol, removing the bad cholesterol out of your bloodstream.
    • Salmon helps balance omega-6s, reducing inflammation and improving heart health.
  2. Reduced Triglycerides. Salmon helps lower triglycerides. High triglycerides can lead to artery plaque buildup.
  3. Lowering Blood Pressure. Regular salmon consumption may help lower blood pressure, an added bonus for your heart.
  4. Replacing Saturated Fat. Compared to red meat, salmon is a lean protein with healthy fats, a smart choice for cutting down overall cholesterol and boosting heart health.

Sockeye vs Atlantic Salmon: A Comparison for HDL Cholesterol

Both Sockeye and Atlantic salmon are excellent sources of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which offers incredible benefits for HDL cholesterol.

Choosing between Sockeye and Atlantic salmon can be a tough decision, especially when it comes to heart health and HDL cholesterol.

Here’s a detailed comparison to help you make an informed choice.

Both salmon types are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, especially the long-chain varieties EPA and DHA. These fats are known to raise HDL cholesterol levels.

Many people prefer sockeye salmon because it’s a bit tastier than other salmon types, but let’s look at the omega-3 content for sockeye and atlantic:

  • Sockeye: 4-ounce serving contains 2.2-2.6 grams omega-3s, with ~60% EPA/DHA.
  • Atlantic: 4-ounce serving contains 1.2-1.5 grams omega-3s, with ~40% EPA/DHA.
Sockeye Salmon

Studies consistently show that Sockeye salmon contains more total omega-3s than farmed and even wild Atlantic salmon.

In one study, wild sockeye contained 81 mg/g omega-3s compared to 20 mg/g in farmed atlantic salmon. [1] [2]

Sockeye boasts higher levels of both eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the most beneficial omega-3s for heart health. It can have up to 3-4 times more EPA and DHA than farmed Atlantic salmon. [1] [2]

Sockeye salmon also has a more favorable omega-3 to omega-6 ratio compared to Atlantic Salmon. [3]

Atlantic Salmon

Farmed Atlantic salmon is widely available and often cheaper than Sockeye.

The omega-3 content in Atlantic Salmon can vary greatly depending on farming practices.

Farmed salmon fed fishmeal and fish oil generally have higher omega-3s than those fed plant-based diets.

Even with enriched diets, Atlantic salmon typically contains less EPA and DHA than Sockeye salmon.

Both Sockeye and Atlantic salmon can increase HDL cholesterol, but
Sockeye’s richer omega-3 profile, particularly its higher EPA and DHA content, likely leads to a more pronounced effect.

Wild vs. Farmed Sockeye and Atlantic Salmon – Omega-3 Fatty Acid Profile Compared

Let’s compare the varieties also, and see which one contains more omega-3s, and has greater effect on HDL cholesterol.

When it comes to choosing between wild and farmed salmon, mainly Sockeye and Atlantic, the omega-3 content can get a little murky:

  • Wild Sockeye Salmon. It’s loaded with omega-3s, with each 3-ounce serving packing a whopping 1,500 milligrams. That’s a whopping 200% more than its farmed counterpart!. This comes from its natural diet rich in small fish and marine invertebrates, brimming with long-chain omega-3s like EPA and DHA.
  • Wild Atlantic Salmon. While not as potent as wild sockeye, wild Atlantic salmon still packs a punch with around 700mg of omega-3s per serving. That’s still a respectable amount, exceeding most other fish in terms of these beneficial fats.
  • Farmed Sockeye Salmon. Due to dietary adjustments, farmed sockeye can surprisingly match the omega-3 content of its wild counterpart, reaching around 1,500mg per serving. This is achieved by feeding them fish oil or algae-enriched pellets.
  • Farmed Atlantic Salmon. Similar to farmed sockeye, Farmed Atlantic Salmon has seen a boost in omega-3 content, now averaging around 1,000mg per serving. Unlike wild salmon, this increase often comes with higher levels of saturated fat and lower levels of certain beneficial omega-3 sub-types.


  • Wild Sockeye. Is rich in krill and plankton naturally boosts omega-3 content, including EPA and DHA, further benefiting HDL.
  • Wild Atlantic. Rare, but generally higher in omega-3s compared to farmed fish.
  • Farmed Atlantic. Most readily available. Omega-3 content, is lower due to a diet rich in fish meal and oils. They may contain higher levels of saturated fats, potentially hindering HDL increase.

Sockeye vs Atlantic Salmon: Choosing the Right Salmon for Your Daily Specific Needs

Both Sockeye and Atlantic salmon are delicious and nutritious fish, but they have some key differences that might make one a better choice for you than the other, depending on your specific needs and priorities.

Sockeye salmon is the clear winner when it comes to the omega-3 fatty acid content.

It can have up to 3-4 times more EPA and DHA than farmed Atlantic salmon.

Sockeye salmon is also a good source of vitamin D, which is vital for bone health and immune function.

Atlantic salmon has lower levels of vitamin D. It tends to be slightly higher in calories and fat than sockeye salmon. But, both are still considered healthy choices.

So, which salmon is right for you?

Price: Sockeye salmon is typically more expensive than Atlantic salmon. This is because it is less readily available and has a higher omega-3 content. Farmed Atlantic salmon, is often the more affordable option.

Taste and Texture: Sockeye salmon has a richer, oilier flavor and a firmer texture than Atlantic salmon. Atlantic salmon has a milder flavor and a slightly flakier texture.

Fat Content: Atlantic salmon tends to be slightly higher in total fat and saturated fat compared to Sockeye.

Mercury Levels: Farmed atlantic salmon, can have higher mercury levels than Sockeye due to some environmental factors. If mercury is a concern, opting for wild sockeye salmon is a better choice.

To finalize everything:

  • If you are looking for the most omega-3s, then sockeye salmon is the better option.
  • If you are on a budget or prefer a milder flavor, then Atlantic salmon may be a better option.

Ultimately, the best salmon for you is the one that you enjoy eating and that fits your budget and dietary needs.


Sockeye salmon is the best for heart health because it has more omega-3, which boosts HDL cholesterol, compared to Atlantic Salmon.

Sockeye salmon has 3-4 times more good fats than farmed atlantic salmon, making it really good for increasing your good cholesterol.

But sockeye shouldn’t be the only fish praised for its omega-3 benefits. Other factors like budget, taste, and personal preference also come into play when choosing your salmon:

  • Price: Sockeye salmon is pricier because it’s rare and has lots of omega-3. If you’re on a budget, go for farmed Atlantic salmon; it’s usually more affordable.
  • Taste: Sockeye boasts a richer, oilier flavor, while Atlantic leans towards milder and flakier. Choose whichever tickles your taste buds more!.
  • Fat content: Atlantic comes with slightly higher total fat and saturated fat. Sockeye might be better for those watching their total fat intake or cholesterol levels.
  • Mercury: Wild Sockeye is a safer option for those concerned about mercury levels because Farmed Atlantic can have more mercury due to environmental factors.

Overall, the best salmon for you is the one you enjoy eating and that fits your dietary needs and budget.

In a nutshell:

  • To increase good cholesterol (HDL), choose Sockeye, the omega-3 king.
  • For affordable options, consider Atlantic, especially farmed.
  • For flavor, Pick based on your preference – rich and oily (Sockeye) or mild and flaky (Atlantic).
  • For health concerns, Opt for Sockeye for lower fat and mercury, especially if you’re watching cholesterol.

No matter which one you choose, incorporating any of these varieties into your diet is a delicious and nutritious way to support your heart health. So, keep calm and salmon on!.


  1. Investigation of the nutritional composition of different types of salmon available to Canadian consumers. [view article]
  2. Lipid and fatty acid concentrations in wild Pacific salmon, Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout from European aquaculture. [view article]
  3. Omega-3 fatty acid composition of Atlantic salmon fillets [view article]
  4. The Effect of Eicosapentaenoic Acid and Docosahexaenoic Acid on Serum Lipid Levels in High-Risk Patients With Coronary Heart Disease. [view article]
  5. Dietary intake of n-3 fatty acids and serum HDL cholesterol levels in young women: a pilot study. [view article]
  6. Fish Facts: Salmon and Cholesterol. [view article]
  7. Investigation of the nutritional composition of different types of salmon available to Canadian consumers. [view article]
  8. The Differences Between Atlantic Salmon vs Sockeye Salmon. [view article]
  9. American Heart Association
  10. Environmental Working Group

Similar Posts