Fishy Business

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Phew!  That diagram looks complicated doesn’t it?  Fats are hard to understand so in this post we are just going to focus on one box – right in the middle of the diagram – Omega-3 EFA.  You can find this box by going to: Unsaturated Fat – Polyunsaturated Fat – Omega-3 EFA.  Although I would probably be better off by starting at the left-hand side of this diagram and slowly moving through all of the boxes, Omega-3’s have been on my mind a lot lately so that is where I will start this blog series on Fats (we have already talked a little about fats in the Avocado post).

Omega-3s are essential fatty acids (EFAs).  This means that the body needs these fats to survive and be healthy, however, they are not naturally present in the body.  We must consume Omega-3s through our diet, supplementation, or a combination of diet and supplementation.

Omega-3s are pretty amazing, they help us to build healthy brain cells (especially in fetuses and children), reduce heart disease risk, lower colon and breast cancer risk, elevate mood, and improve learning, attention span, and vision.  Sounds like a pretty good deal, but most Americans don’t consume enough Omega-3s in their diet.  In fact, they are pretty scarce.  You can find them in wild salmon (preferably Alaskan because the waters are cleaner, which makes the fish safer), wheat germ, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, flax oil, edamame, and Omega-3 eggs (chickens are fed an Omega-3 rich diet).

One of the best sources of Omega-3s and easiest for the body to absorb is salmon.  Dr. Sears, who just published a new book called The Omega-3 Effect, recommends that we eat two fist-sized servings of salmon per week, esepcially as we get older.  I know a lot of people avoid fish during pregnancy because of the fear of mercury (I was one of those people), but wild salmon is safe to consume and is really beneficial for your baby’s growing brain.  You do want to be careful and make sure that the salmon you choose is wild though.  If you choose farm-raised salmon there is more mercury and less nutrients.  Although any wild salmon is going to be great for you, earlier in the post I recommended wild Alaskan salmon.  It is quite pricey, but if you can manage at least some of this in your diet it is well worth the cost.  Alaska has some of the strictest guidelines surrounding their waters.  This leads to a pristine environment for wild fish, in turn leading to super nutritious salmon.  The season for wild Alaskan salmon is pretty short as you can imagine.  In fact, it just ended.  During the season we often buy fresh wild Alaskan King salmon at Whole Foods (we look for sales and buy a little extra for the freezer).  During the off-season we order from Vital Choice.  Vital Choice has a lot of great products, including salmon.  If you click on the banner below, you will go to the Vital Choice website.  Additionally, if you enter the promo code “LEANCHOICE” during checkout you will save 10% on your first order.

If you aren’t used to eating fish or eating salmon it is terrific grilled with a little extra virgin olive oil, pepper, and a dab of agave syrup.  We like to top it with a pineapple mango salsa or just a regular tomato salsa.  Pair your salmon and salsa with a salad and brown rice and you have a simple and nutritious weeknight meal.  Enjoy!