A Healthy Diet needs Omega 3’s
By: Lem Andrews
We’ve all heard about the research, we’ve seen the influx of products in the stores, and we’ve all had it just about drilled in us by now that Omega-3’s are a necessary part of any healthy diet. The rising tide of Omega-3 enriched products has inundated grocery shelves, and leaves most of us drowning in a sea of mostly bad choices. But, like most things worth doing, getting the proper intake of Omega-3’s must be done right. The proper balance must be struck in your diet.
Taking Omega-3 supplements is not the best option. Let’s be honest, taking fish oil pills is simply the least enjoyable way of getting it done. There’s probably only one man on Earth who wouldn’t mind adding another pill to his regimen, and those fish oil pills can get to some pretty intimidating sizes. If that’s not a good enough argument for you, taking Omega-3 supplements may not even be effective. If you’re like me, you want to live and eat well without a whole lot of fuss (or pills). So how can the average Jane make that happen? Well Life’s Healthy Pleasures has a cookie that gets you the nutrient from natural sources. But here are some other simple, but sure-fire ways to up your Omega-3 intake with sacrificing flavor or fun.
So you say you hate seafood? Well skip ahead, there is definitely more than one way to catch a fish (if you’ll pardon the expression). However, seafood is certainly the most cited method of naturally revving up your Omega-3 intake. And with good reason- seafood offers teh most bang for you buck when it comes flavor, fullness, and that essential nutrient.
When you purchase seafood, it’s always best to choose what’s fresh and wild caught whenever possible. Very few farms offer fish that are free of antibiotics and growth hormones and are fed a natural diet. Even though salmon is the poster child for Omega-3 rich fish, you can also look for Mackerel, Trout, and Herring.
Seafood is very versatile in terms of the culinary range it falls in. Cuisines from around the globe have seafood dishes, and there is a number of ways to prepare it. As long as you avoid the the habit of defaulting to baked nondescript, flaky white fish, you can eat seafood several times a week without it getting old.
Other ways of fishing Omeag-3’s from the sea (that don’t include fish) are seaweed and roe. I understand that most Americans shy away from both of these items as a general rule, but for the most part, they really aren’t that bad- in taste or in texture. If you’re skeptical but willing to try, here are two good ways to ease into the idea: Hijiki Burger and fish roe appetizer.
If you just need a little extra to kick up your diet, adding basil, marjoram, or cloves to your meal will also give your diet a bit of an Omega-3 boost. Now that Fall is here, you can use cloves to get that great seasonal taste in a number of ways. Think chai or spiced pears. Basil is a great herb for either savory or sweet recipes. No more plain ol’ spaghetti sauce! You can also use basil in a quick caprese salad. Marjoram is an excellent herb for Italian dishes too. If you’ve never cooked with it before, you should add it toward the end of the cooking process. It has a delicate flavor that can be destroyed by over-cooking.
While Basil, Cloves, and Marjoram do contain Omega-3, none of them are as good of sources as fish or flax (see below). However, they are easy additions that do make for extra tasty dishes.
Flax seed is the most often touted as the best way to get Omega-3. But flax has to be ground before its nutrients can be absorbed, and ground flax goes bad fast. Ground flax can be used in recipes such as this. Chia seed is less popular, but perhaps less of a hassle than flax. Chia also delivers a load of Omega-3, doesn’t need to be ground, and keeps pretty well. Chia is basically tasteless, so it can be added to anything you don’t mind giving a crunch to. Chia also works well in smoothies. Hemp seeds are known for the mighty protein punch they pack, however they are also rich in Omega 3. The downside to hemp is that it does have a higher ratio of Omega-6’s. Lovingthebike has a great recipe for hemp pesto. Nommers.
So there you have it. Nutritional news can often be built on shifting sands, but eating Omega 3 seems to be advice that is here to stay. What other ways do you meet your Omega-3 needs?