In a society where we have learned to be afraid of fat, it is hard to switch your brain mentality that fat is essential for human development and function. In fact, fat has a number of significant contributions to our bodily functions, including brain development and function, hormonal synthesis, and proper neurological functioning in the brain and spinal cord. Fat also helps you stay full longer so you are not looking for food an hour after a meal. It also helps keep your nails strong, your hair shiny and your skin looking healthy.
We all have heard that Omega-3 fatty acids are good for us. After all, it is advertised on many of the foods we buy in the grocery store today…from breads, to butters to eggs. Omega 3 fatty acid is an essential fatty acid (EFA) in that we can only get it through a dietary source. In fact every cell membrane in our body is made up of essential fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids derived from fish and fish oils consist of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) plus eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). DHA is required in high levels in the brain and retina to provide for optimal neuronal functioning and visual acuity.
Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids have been associated with inflammation, one of my favorite topics, that lead to so many diseases in our society today. Omega-3 fatty acids have been known to help with hot flashes, osteoporosis, moods swings, memory, cardiovascular wellness and lower heart rate. In fact, omega-3 fatty acids have been linked with the prevention and treatment of a host of diseases including heart disease, stroke, high cholesterol and blood pressure, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, asthma and many cancers.
There are many great, easy and gluten free sources of DHA’s in our diet. Remember my article last August on ‘How do Eggs get those Vitamins in There?’ My favorite is wild salmon (see my recipe below), but I do realize that salmon is not for everyone. It took my husband 40 years to eat salmon and if I can get my kids to eat two bits it is a miracle. Other sources include flaxseed, which if you follow my recipes, I sneak in all the time, hempseed oil, walnuts, canola oil, eggs, pumpkin seeds and algae. However, you might wonder, ‘well, how much do I need?’ Male adult and children need 1.6 grams per day, while female adults and children need 1.1 grams and 1.3 grams if you are breast feeding.
I have a routine…I know it is shocking…that every three weeks I make this delicious Salmon Salad for my husband for his lunches for the week. We then add variations of it, such as piled high on a tortilla with melted mozzarella, or on a half of a gluten free bagel toasted, or with thin slices of avocado on top. If you do not have these ingredients, come up with your own. Use mayonnaise, sour cream or Greek yogurt instead of the dressing. Add Dijon or honey mustard. Throw in a tablespoon of salsa. The important thing is that you are getting a great source of DHA’s in a healthy and delicious meal. Bon Appetite!
1- 6oz can wild Alaskan salmon
2 T Litehouse light Ranch dressing
1 T Spicy mustard
2 tsp horseradish
½ tsp crushed garlic
Mix above ingredients until well blended.
Serve on an open face slice of gluten free bread or a bed of lettuce.
Makes 2 servings.