Monday, May 3, 2010

Omega Fatty Acids Part 2


Omega Fatty Acids Part II:
Omega 3 (in EPA and DHA form) is your BFF

In addition to the reasons your body needs Omega 3 in order to function normally, there are also a number of health benefits provided by consuming it. Please keep in mind, there have been numerous studies proving, as well as disproving, some of the benefits below. I will expand on this a bit more with each individual item.


1. Reduces the risk of heart disease
-This has been proven through numerous clinical trials and studies. Let me remind you that heart disease is the number 1 killer of Americans, so this is nothing to sneeze at.

2. Lowers levels of bad cholesterol naturally
-There are many studies that have proven that this is true. Studies of particular populations of people who consume high amounts of cold water fatty fish have conclusively shown that they have higher levels of HDL cholesterol (aka good cholesterol) and lower levels of triglycerides (bad cholesterol-fat in the blood) as compared to the general population. Studies have also shown that consuming Omega 3 in fish oil form lowers triglycerides.

3. Reduces blood pressure
-Numerous clinical studies have shown that consuming 3 grams of Omega 3 in fish oil form per day can reduce high blood pressure.

4. Helps lower risk of a stroke
-This has been proven through numerous studies. However, the "too much of a good thing" rule applies here. People who consume more than 4 grams of Omega 3 per day can actually increase their risk of a stroke. 3 grams per day seems to be the magic amount from the research I have done. So rule of thumb:

**KEEP YOUR DAILY INTAKE OF OMEGA 3 TO AROUND 3 GRAMS PER DAY**

5. Helps balance good vs. bad cholesterol levels in diabetics
-Many people with diabetes cannot efficiently convert Omega 3 in ALA form (IE, from plants, seeds, nuts & oil) to EPA and DHA form (the form your body needs Omega 3 in order to utilize it). They also often have an imbalance of good vs bad cholesterol levels. Consuming Omega 3 in fish oil form or by consuming fish has been shown to help correct cholesterol levels in diabetics. However, diabetics should speak with a doctor first before adding a fish oil supplement to their diets.

6. Treats symptoms of arthritis
-More and more studies are being done showing that people who suffer from arthritis may benefit from a diet high in Omega 3, which is essential in the synthesis of anti-inflammatory hormones. However, this information is still considered to be in its preliminary stages and is not to be confused with a cure. The debilitating progression of arthritis still occurs, despite the intake of Omega 3. It can be used to treat the symptom of inflammation and the pain caused by it.

The following benefits are still being studied and, in general, the results should be considered inconclusive at this point. However, there is potential that consuming Omega 3 also has the following health benefits:

1. Helps increase levels of calcium in the body and improve bone strength- potentially good news for people with osteoporosis and super important for all the ladies out there

2. Increases beneficial effects of prescribed antidepressants

3. Decreases relapses and mood swings in people with bipolar disorder when taken with prescribed treatment

4. Helps decrease behavioral problems(such as temper tantrums) in children with ADHD

5. Helps treat psoriasis along with prescribed medications

6. Relieves symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

7. Reduces menstrual pain

8. Reduces the risk & slows the progression of colon cancer

9. Reduces the risk of breast cancer

10. Reduces the risk of prostate cancer

Again, I want to reiterate, these benefits are still being studied and results are not yet conclusive. And I also want to reiterate that ALL of the benefits listed are through consuming Omega 3 in EPA and DHA form. If you are a vegan purchasing supplements, please check to ensure the Omega 3 present is not in ALA form. Vegan friendly DHA and EPA are sourced from microalgae.


Recipe

Spicy marinated Cod Fish Tacos with rice and beans on the side

Marinade:

1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
3 chopped jalapenos (chop 4 total, 1 for salsa see below)
3-4 limes juiced
1/2 clove chopped garlic (chop extra for salsa see below)
1 chopped shallot (chop 1.5 shallots, .5 for salsa see below)
to taste:
chopped basil (I use 1 tbsp packed)
chopped cilantro (I use 3/4 cup packed) chop extra for salsa, see below
cayenne pepper
salt
pepper
chili powder

Mix all of the above in a shallow glass dish large enough to accommodate 1lb of Cod fish arranged in a single layer

Score surface of the cod lightly, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes

Salsa/Pico de Gallo whatever you want to call it

2 large chopped tomatoes
5 chopped scallions
1/2 chopped shallot
1/2 chopped mango
1 jalapeno
1 lime juiced
to taste:
cilantro
fresh garlic
salt
cayenne

mix everything in a bowl and put it in the refrigerator

Rice:

1 c black jasmine or brown rice
cook in:
2 c low sodium vegetable broth
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt

cook for normal amount of time

Beans:

I usually heat up a can of organic black beans. It's the easiest way. The real way would be to purchase dried black or pinto beans, soak them overnight and cook them in your own seasoning.

With about 10 minutes left on the rice, remove the fish from the marinade and cook in a saute pan over medium to medium high heat for about 3 minutes per side or until it is just cooked through (the fish will begin to flake or separate naturally). When you flip the fish, add some or all of the marinade to the pan. If you add it right at the beginning it will overcook or burn.

Additional taco toppings:

chopped spinach
sliced avocado

Tortillas:

I prefer blue corn but you can use whatever you want. Heat them right before serving on the stove burner about 45 seconds per side or until they start to brown.

Serve the rice and beans on the side.

Lots of color in this recipe, and you will be getting a great dose of B12 and Omega 3. It takes time to cut everything up but the good thing is, you can create the marinade and salsa ahead of time and then the rest is easy. I highly recommend using fresh herbs as regularly as possible.

Motivational Kitten

You never know when you're going to be attacked by a dinosaur! Motivational kitten says get in shape and be prepared for the unexpected.


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