The last day of the present year and the first day before the New Year. I cannot think of a more perfect day to discuss the alpha-OMEGA of fatty acids – Omega-3 essential fatty acids that is.
I’m sure you have heard or read something about Omega-3 some point in between Acai juice, pomegranate seeds, Goji berries, Chia seeds, and Kombucha as a “must have” Super Food.
Truth be told, unlike the those vibrating weights, there is A LOT of research to support the health promoting claims of Omega-3 fatty acids. As such, I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to share a bit more about these little guys: where you might find them, why exactly they are so good for your insides, and a few recipe ideas for actually incorporating them into your meals.
Before I go on I also want to mention that I had a brilliant request from a Reader asking if I would be so kind as to calculate the nutritional and cost breakdown per serving of the recipes I post. Well, Reader, I think that is a fantastic idea, and as the Southern Belle I claim to be, I do declare…I’d be mighty obliged.
After all, without my Readers, I’m just a cooky lady typing away on laptop to herself because I rent my house and won’t get my Safety Deposit back if I scribble these musings on my [padded?] walls…
Two points for a tangent, and we’re back!
Everyone can benefit, but those with cardiovascular concerns and depression are likely to notice the most benefit from Omega-3
Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid – or more simply put, a fat that the body requires for certain functions but cannot self-produce and must be consumed through food.
There is never a bad time for Omega-3 ingestion. No need to set your alarm and consume in the middle of the night; waking hours will be just fine. As mentioned above, if you are feeling depressed or being told you have cardiovascular concerns – no time like the present!
Omega-3 fatty acids are found most abundantly in
• Fish: highest amounts in Anchovies, Tuna, and Salmon
• Nuts: highest levels in walnuts
• Oils: highest levels in Olive and Canola
• Seeds: highest levels in Flaxseeds
• Lowers triglycerides in the blood [useful because high levels of triglycerides cause plaque buildup in the arteries and ultimately lead to high blood pressure and increased risk of heart attack and stroke as the arteries become increasingly narrow]
• Decreases irregular rhythms and stabilizes heartbeat [useful for folks diagnosed with Arrhythmia a.k.a. Cardiac Dysrhythmia or simply “Heart Palpitations”]
• Reduces “stickiness” of blood platelets [related to the plaque mentioned above; sticky platelets are a major contributor to blood clots *note* a blood clot in the brain is essentially a stroke]. Keep in mind – what is bad for your heart is most always bad for your brain as well because the brain is fed from major arteries and Omega-3s keep ALL arteries clear, not just the ones directly around the heart
• Reduces depression by altering neurotransmitters without the use of prescription medications
• Increases lubrication for joints so you have less friction and grinding doing regular or extensive activities, which ultimately leads to less pain
• Reduces inflammation in already inflamed joints [some studies even support Omega-3 ability to help regenerate the meniscus (knee cap) membrane]
• Decreases chances of Macular Degeneration [blindness] as deficiency in Omega-3 has been shown to delay the ocular system that helps convert energy from neurons that travel to the retina of the eye and over time vision suffers and the eye does not receive the nutrients it needs and becomes compromised.
• Time to cook! Now before we get started, I want to say, please have an open mind – this first recipe is actually a “first” for me as well. I have horrible memories of anchovies – hairy little greasy nonsense on Caesar salad that my Italian mother used to rave about. However, since I’m asking my clients to be vulnerable here with me and step outside their comfort zone, I decided I would be remiss if I did not go outside mine. Alas, I’ve lived to tell this tale; all is not lost.
Recipe #1 Alpha Omega Anchovy Salad
- One can of white anchovies [ I purchased a 4.375 oz can from Wild Planet ® that is sustainably sourced in the Pacific Ocean and packed in water without extra ingredients * note* like any canned food, it’s sodium content is higher than fresh foods, just shoot for less than 300 mg. The protein, calcium, and iron benefits of these little guys outweighs any negative backlash from the extra sodium]
- 2.5 cups of rinsed fresh kale [I purchase organic and rinse with a bit of salt and lemon juice]
- ¼ cup shaved or grated Parmesan cheese
- Onion/garlic *optional
- First, open the anchovy can. Take necessary time for dry heaving, gagging, laughing, eye rolling, etc. Ludicrous! Anchovies are absolutely ludicrous looking. Completely unappealing to the eye. Moving right along…
- Drain the water out and place the anchovies single file on a cutting board
- Gentle lift up each anchovy [one at a time] and use a sharp knife to cut the anchovy open long ways. Once again…Take necessary time for dry heaving, gagging, laughing, eye rolling, etc. I completely sympathize. I almost gave up here. Now, remove the spine. It will come out with shocking ease… so much so that I wonder if anchovies were somewhat of a “tweener” in the vertebrate/invertebrate categories… with such a weak spine, why even have one, I mean really?
- Anywho… continue removing said spine until you have paralyzed all anchovies
- Now rinse off your hands as they may appear sparkly from the scales
- If you are an onion/garlic fan chop up a half cup and one clove [respectively] and sauté in a skillet with a bit of olive oil and cracked pepper; if you despise onion and garlic skip this step. If you aren’t sold on the health benefits of onions and garlic Click Here
- Next rinse off kale as mentioned above and tear into small pieces [never cut lettuce, etc it bruises the leaves, always better to tear your greens];place in clean bowl large enough to fit it, put in microwave for about 45 seconds to slightly wilt it [this will remove some of its inherent bitterness]
- Toss anchovies into skillet with onion/garlic. They are already cooked, so just mix them around gently for 60 seconds or so
- Sprinkle with Parmesan to taste [ I used the ¼ cup for the cost/nutritional breakdown I’m providing]
- Transfer skillet mix to bed of kale
Enjoy with baked sweet potato chips [roughly 14 per serving]
Makes one serving; adjust accordingly to make enough for that special someone in your life…nothing says I love you like Anchovy breath. Especially with the garlic and onions. Yum.
If the taste was only so-so at least know that you only cost yourself roughly $3.76 and 390 cals
While you gained 770 mg of Omega-3s, 21 g of protein, 40% of your daily calcium intake, and 11% of your daily iron intake; 6 g of Total fat [no trans fat]; 4g fiber; 18 g carbs [only from the chips, sans chips you are looking at less than 1 g].
Recipe #2 Alpha Omega Apples
No anchovies required!
- Simply slice up 1 lb of apples [4 or 5 small to medium sized apples]; leave skins on, that’s where all the nutrients are!!!]
- Place in skillet on stove; heat Medium
- Add a cup of water
- Mix in approx. ¼ cup of flaxseed oil [available at generic stores now-a-days]
- ½ cup walnuts
- Cinnamon to taste helps stabilize blood sugar
- Mix around ensuring the apples get coated with some oil and cinnamon
- Let simmer until apples are soft
- Enjoy by itself or mix into oatmeal, Greek yogurt, or even frozen yogurt!
Makes two servings
Cost per serving $ 1.78
Nutrition highlights [of just the apples]:
3,700 mg Omega-3
215 mg potassium
CHEERS to a New Year and a New You