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Today's blog post and recipe are written by Illinois State University students and dietetic interns, Amanda Dieugenio and Samantha Concha!

Salmon is a fish that tastes delicious during any time of year, but for some reason it tastes just a little better when warm weather approaches and summer begins to hit. Salmon is best known for its anti-inflammatory effects and the omega-3 fatty acids it contains. Whenever we hear the word "fat," we are generally inclined to believe that those foods are bad or unhealthy for us. However, there are many healthy types of fat that are essential to our health and well-being, and omega-3 fatty acids are one of them!

There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). A majority of the health benefits come from consuming adequate amounts of EPA and DHA, so that's what our main focus should be! By consuming 1-2 servings of fatty fish, such as salmon, per week we can ensure that we are consuming enough of these fatty acids to provide us with some major health benefits.

Omega-3s, found in salmon, protect the heart and play a huge factor in the prevention of coronary heart disease. In addition to its heart healthy benefits, salmon can also lower inflammation in the body and help to boost the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory drugs for people suffering from arthritis. Can you imagine receiving all those health benefits just from consuming fish, like salmon, 1-2 times per week? If salmon isn't your cup of tea, you can also receive these same benefits from fish like tuna, anchovies, sardines, herring, and lake trout! Give it a shot this Memorial Day weekend with the recipe below and your body will thank you!

Quinoa-Salmon Salad (Printable PDF)

4 (4 oz.) salmon fillets

2 Tablespoons salt-free seasoning blend

1 ½ cups jasmine rice & quinoa blend

4 cups chopped leafy greens

1 cup chopped red onion

½ pint cherry tomatoes

1 avocado, sliced

8 Tablespoons favorite vinaigrette dressing

2 Tablespoons hemp seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 300°F. Place salmon on lined baking sheet. Evenly coat salmon with salt-free seasoning blend and place into oven. Once salmon has reached internal temperature of 145°, about 8-12 minutes, remove from oven. Cook jasmine rice & quinoa blend according to directions on package. Evenly divide salmon, rice blend, lettuce, onion, tomatoes and avocado into four bowls. Toss each with your favorite vinaigrette and garnish with hemp seeds.

Yield: 4 servings

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 500 calories, 23 grams fat, 200 milligrams sodium, 38 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams fiber, 33 grams protein