Are You Getting Enough Omega-3?
You’ve probably heard of omega-3 fatty acids before. They’re an essential fatty acid that your body needs to be in good health and are found in certain foods at higher doses, like fish. The American Heart Association has made it clear people should be eating 3.5 ounces of non-fried fish each week to keep the heart strong and healthy. Fish are high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, much more so compared to beef or chicken. For this reason, fish are sought after when it comes to healthy living and getting your omega-3.
But what exactly do omega-3 fatty acids do and how are they good for you? We’re going to look at a few ways omega-3 fatty acids help your body function and why you need a certain amount per week to keep yourself healthy and happy. We’re also going to take a look at a few recipes you can cook up at home.
The body is actually able to produce most of the fats it needs from other fats or materials. But when it comes to omega-3 fatty acids, the body must get it from outside sources, like fish. It’s an essential fat that can’t be made from scratch in the body and must come from food intake.
Why They’re Important
Your body simply can’t perform properly without omega-3 fatty acids, and ultimately keeping the levels in check will give you long lasting health benefits. Omega-3 fatty acids help cell functions in the body that create hormones which regulate blood clotting, maintain artery walls, and help with inflammation. They also play an important role in genetic function. They can help prevent heart disease and stroke, and control lupus, eczema and rheumatoid arthritis. This is all outlined in Harvard’s article titled, Omega-3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Contribution.
If you’re a runner, bodybuilder or other athlete, you’re familiar with inflammation. After an intense workout, your muscles can be torn and tired on a microscopic level. Once recovered, they’re stronger and better for it, but inflammation can make recovery long and arduous. Because of the anti-inflammatory nature of omega-3 fatty acids, recovery can be made easier if you’re getting the right amount.
The inflammation reducing properties of omega-3 supplementation also means asthma caused by exercise can be alleviated and lung function can be improved. Moreover, airway inflammation can be reduced and thus this type of asthma can be less of a burden for people who experience it otherwise.
In addition, because omega-3 fatty acids help your heart and arteries, your workouts and activity will begin to feel easier. Omega-3 can decrease heart rate and the amount of oxygen your body uses over time, so your body is operating more efficiently.
So, as an athlete, you can take omega-3 seriously and be more conscious of supplementing it into your diet because you’ll find it has long lasting effects on your health, but also shorter term benefits on your performance.
Tasty Omega-3 Rich Seafood Recipes
Let’s take a look at some delicious recipes that will offer you a ton of nutrients and health benefits and your needed intake of omega-3 fatty acids.
When it comes to super nutritious food that can also be delicious and is full of essential omega-3 fatty acids, mussels are in amazing choice. They’re also a sustainable food choice that don’t negatively impact the environment during farming and harvesting. You can be glad to know you’re eating something that’s really, very good for you and the planet.
Mussels are packed with protein and omega-3 fatty acids, iron, B vitamins and antioxidants. The farming process involves no by-feed because mussels filter water to get their food. They’re one of the cleanest proteins around and clean the water as they grow. They grow together in tight, compact areas and don’t take a lot of space while farming.
When it comes to seafood, mussels are relatively inexpensive. They’re super easy to make, and don’t take a lot of time. Talk about an incredible food and a truly amazing source of nutrition.
Try this beer steamed mussels recipe for a delicious and easy omega-3 fix.
Beer Steamed Mussels
|Calories: 452||Carbs: 24 g||Protein: 57 g||Fat: 15 g|
|Prep: 10 min||Cook: 20 min||Total: 30 min|
When it comes to cooking mussels, it couldn’t be easier. You essentially need to steam them until they open up, then you’re good to go. You can steam them in water but steaming them in beer or wine will give them a delicious, unique flavour. Serve these incredible Beer Steamed Mussels with some crusty bread. This dish is worthy of a restaurant menu. It’ll also cost you a lot less then dining out.
- 1 kg of mussels
- 2 tsp grapeseed oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 ¼ tsp table salt
- 2 clove garlic, minced
- 240 ml dark beer
- 2 medium whole tomatoes
- ½ lemon, squeezed for juice
- ½ tsp ground thyme
- ¼ tsp red chili flakes
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- 78 ml flat leaf parsley
- Bring a large saucepan to medium heat and heat the oil. Add your onion and salt. Cook until onion is transparent and soft, which takes about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute or so.
- Pour beer, tomatoes, lemon juice, thyme, chili flakes and black pepper into the pan. Bring the contents to a boil, then reduce heat. Summer on medium-low uncovered for 10 minutes. Enjoy the amazing smell of your kitchen.
- Add mussels to the sauce pan, cover, and raise heat to medium. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until all the shells have opened. Discard mussels that have not opened and stir in parsley.
- Serve mussels and add some of the broth to your bowl. Serve with crusty bread. Enjoy!
Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA while being lower in mercury. EPA stands for eicosapentaenoic acid and DHA stands for docosahexaenoic acid. Among a number of nutritional benefits both EPA and DHA help reduce cellular inflammation and are key in a healthy diet. As a fatty (good fatty) fish they contain heart-healthy polyunsaturated fat, rather than saturated fat. Salmon is high in essential nutrients and of course an excellent dose of omega-3. Not to mention, they’re absolutely delicious.
Here’s a great, easy recipe you can prepare right at home.
Slow-Roasted Salmon with Fennel, Citrus, and Chiles
|Calories: 480||Carbs: 85 g||Protein: 31 g||Fat: 38 g|
|Prep: 10 min||Cook: 40 min||Total: 50 min|
This recipe serves 6 people. It can be portioned and put in the fridge for later or enjoyed with friends all at once. You’ll want to cook the fish to medium-rare. This dish is meant to be cooked together and then messily cut up into random but nicely sized pieces.
- 1 kg skinless salmon fillet
- 1 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- 1 blood or naval orange, thinly sliced, seeds removed
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced, seeds removed
- 1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced
- 4 springs of dill
- 177 ml olive oil
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Toss oranges, lemon, fennel, chili and dill in a baking dish. Season with salt and pepper.
- Season salmon filet with salt and pepper and place on top of the dish mixture. Pour some olive oil over top.
- Roast the salmon until fish is slightly opaque and a knife can slide through easily. This is about 30-40 minutes.
- Transfer the salmon to a platter and break up the pieces with two spoons. You want to have large chunks you can serve.
- Spoon the fennel mixture and oil all over the salmon, discard the dill sprigs. Season with salt, pepper, and a couple fresh dill sprigs.
BONUS | Omega 3 Rich Sides
Now, you need a side to go with this delicious fish. A side with omega-3 in it as well. A food rich in tons of nutrients that is delicious and beneficial to your health. We’re talking about a super food here – kale! Yes, kale is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and goes well with pretty much any main course. Let’s dive into just one delicious kale recipe you can whip up at home.
Sautéed Kale with Lime Pickle
This dish is absolutely amazing, and brings some spicy, unique kick to a kale recipe. It’s probably not like anything you’ve had when it comes to kale, but the lime pickle really brings out some incredible flavours in the kale. It’s easy to make and is a great side to almost any dish, or enjoyed on its own.
|Calories: 190||Carbs: 23g||Protein: 7g||Fat: 5g|
|Prep: 10 min||Cook: 12 min||Total: 22 min|
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
- 2 bunches kale, ribs and stems removed, leaves torn into 2” pieces
- 2 tbsp prepared lime pickle, chopped
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in shallot and cook until transparent and beginning to brown. This is about 4 minutes.
- Slowly add bunches of kale, tossing and stirring while cooking. Let each bunch cook down a bit before adding the next bunch.
- If pan looks dry add a splash of water.
- Add in the lime pickle and toss often until kale is wilted and soft. This should take 5-8 minutes.
- Season with a little salt and pepper and enjoy!
Omega-3? Omega-Yes Please!
So, there you have it. Three great recipes for getting some more essential omega-3 fatty acids into your diet. Your body and mind will thank you for giving omega-3 fatty acids more attention, and ensuring you get enough each week. There are tons and tons of other recipes online for omega-3 rich foods, so go explore. But make fish your friend in the upcoming months and really try to incorporate more of it into your diet. Bon appétit!