Omega-3s for You and Me

Omega 3We know that eating seafood high in omega-3 fatty acids is good for our health. Omega-3s can reduce the risk of heart disease by decreasing the risk of abnormal heart beats, decreasing triglyceride levels, slowing down the accumulation of plaque inside blood vessels, and slightly lowering blood pressure (1).

There are three main omega-3 fatty acids: alpha-linolenic (ALA), eicosapentaenoic (EPA), and docosahexaenoic (DHA).

  • EPA and DHA are found in fish and seafood and provide the most health benefits.
  • Some plants contain ALA, which our body partially converts into EPA.
  • DHA is also added to some common foods such as milk, orange juice and eggs (2).

Use these quick, simple and delicious tips to meet the American Heart Association’s recommendation to consume 3.4 ounces of fish high in omega-3s two times per week (1).

  • Keep it simple. Squeeze fresh lemon juice on a fish fillet and sprinkle it with a dash of salt and pepper. Then grill, bake, or sauté it!
    • On the grill: Wrap seasoned fish in a foil packet and grill it using indirect heat for about 10 minutes.
    • In the oven: Place seasoned fish on a greased baking pan and bake in a 425-degree oven for about 15 minutes.
    • Quick sauté: Heat 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil, canola oil, or butter in a nonstick skillet. Add the seasoned fish and cook for 1-4 minutes per side, until each side is golden and the fish flakes easily.
  • Spice it up. Use your favorite seasoning mix (like lemon pepper or a seafood seasoning blend) to give fish a flavorful kick.
  • Make friends with your freezer. Purchase plain frozen fish fillets instead of fresh ones, and stock your freezer with healthful protein that’s ready in minutes. Avoid breaded or fried versions — plain is best.
  • Cook carefully. Fish is cooked through and ready to eat when it flakes easily with a fork and the flesh is opaque.

By Lynn Grieger RDN, CDE, CPT, CWC

References

  1. Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyDietGoals/Fish-and-Omega-3-Fatty-Acids_UCM_303248_Article.jsp. Reviewed 8-8-13; accessed 11-4-13.
  2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids. L. Bellows, M. Bunning and M. MacDonald. Colorado State University Extension. http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09382.html Updated 4-19-13; accessed 11-4-13.
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