Foods High in Omega-3s: Eat your nutrients, what's more natural than nature?
Omega-3 fatty acids have been a buzz in the health community for some time now and the health benefits are pretty remarkable. Studies and trials have shown that omega-3s support heart health, can lower your cholesterol, and help fight the battle against many health conditions from Alzheimer's to Depression.
There are some great supplements and companies out there making products to help Americans increase their dietary intake of omega-3s. Smart Balance is one of our favorites, and one of the few companies that makes a delicious and healthy butter alternative. The original butter substitute, margarine, was one of the great travesties of our time. Read more about how margarine is the worst thing man has ever made.
As always we prefer to eat our nutrients rather than taking them in pill or manufactured form. Let's be clear about one thing, eating is way more fun than taking a pill! We've laid out three easy steps to increase your weekly intake of omega-3s. There are other foods in each step but to make it simple we've highlighted our favorites. Here are seven foods straight from mother nature packed with Omega-3 fatty acids.
Step 1: Go Nuts
1) Flax Seeds
Our favorite way to eat flax seeds is to simply sprinkle a serving (2 tablespoons) onto cereal, oatmeal, or yogurt. Another great option is to add flax seeds to a smoothie or after workout shake.
Raw! A handful of walnuts and a glass of water is a great snack and a great way to kill the afternoon hunger craving. You can also add crushed walnuts to your yogurt or better yet roast them!
Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper, drizzle the walnuts with honey, a little bit of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and a dash of cayenne pepper. Roast them in an oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
Step 2: Eat More Fish
Sardines are not part of the traditional American diet, which is probably a great sign that you should eat more of them. These little guys are packed with nutrients and are high in: vitamin B12, selenium, phosphorus, protein, vitamin D and calcium to name a few. Don't be intimidated by sardines, they're actually quite tasty!
Simple Mediterranean style dishes can make sardines very enjoyable and easy to prepare. Some of our favorite and painless ways to eat sardines include:
- Tossed in with pasta
- Atop avocado toast
- Minced sardines added to a salad dressing, true Cesar salad style.
- Sardines and crackers - a personal favorite snack
- Sardine bruschetta: tomatoes, basil, oregano and balsamic vinegar
Lemon juice, salt and olive oil are your friends when making sardine dishes as they help keep the fishiness at bay. Olives, onions and fennel in salad recipes also help tone down the sardine taste.
Probably no surprise here. We prefer Alaskan wild caught salmon. Here's quick and easy way to cook salmon:
Braise and broil - heat a cast iron pan over medium high heat with a little olive oil. Sear the bottom of the salmon for about 6 minutes. Deglaze the pan with white wine and then place the salmon under a broiler for 8 - 10 minutes. Top with a little lemon juice and one pinch of coarse sea salt.
Step 3: Listen to your Grandma and eat your (cruciferous) vegetables
5) Brussels Sprouts
Roasted Brussels with olive oil, pepper, and a good amount of salt are way better than french fries right? Well we love them. So easy to make and so delicious. Roast the brussels sprouts on a tray at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.
Make sure you cut your sprouts into similar size pieces so they cook at the evenly.
Think of the white color of cauliflower as an open canvas to decorate with beautiful colors, and what's more beautiful than yellow gold! Toss the cauliflower with turmeric, ginger, cayenne pepper, olive oil, salt and black pepper to taste. Roast at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Cutting the florets into smaller pieces will ensure you have crisp and tender cauliflower. Larger pieces will be slightly under cooked at this temp and time.
7) Mustard Seeds
Unless you truly enjoy bird food it's often best to eat mustard seeds along with other foods. Add additional ground seeds to a prepared mustard to give it an extra health punch.
- Coat lean chicken breasts with mustard prior to baking.
- Marinate salmon fillets in a Dijon mustard sauce or simply finish your braise and broil salmon fillet with mustard for even more omega 3 power.
- Rice, quinoa and pearl couscous when sprinkled with ground seeds and spices can really kick up boring whole grains.
By consuming the foods above you'll get plenty of all three types of omega 3 fatty acids:
- the plant based foods provide your diet with ALA (alpha-linolenic acid).
- from the fish you'll get EPA and DHA (eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acid).
Well that about wraps it up. By now you're well on your way to a high omega-3 diet that keeps you feeling great and your heart healthy. All the foods above are also powerful anti-inflammatories. This will help keep your muscles happy and less sore, which mean you can train even harder next time you hit the gym. Most importantly, foods rich in omega-3s can be delicious and true staples of a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Eat great, feel great, and do great things.