Tag Archive | omega 3 fatty acids

Are You Getting Enough Omega 3’s?

Have you taken notice how many foods on grocery store shelves are touting their omega 3 content lately? Is it just some new fad? Is it an advertising gimmick? Or have I been missing out on an important practice for healthy living? With these questions in mind, I set out on a quest to see what I could learn about the fatty acids.

eggs

While neither the word “fatty” nor the word “acid” conjures up images of good health, it turns out that our bodies need omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids in order to survive. They are necessary to maintain healthy cell membranes and to build many important molecules in the body. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, “Omega-3 fats have been shown to help prevent heart disease and stroke, may help control lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis, and may play protective roles in cancer and other conditions”.   While our bodies are capable of producing omega 9 fatty acids, we must get omega 3 and 6, referred to as “essential fats”, from the foods we eat.

So, if our bodies need both omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, then why aren’t advertisers bragging about the omega 6 content in their packaged foods? The reason why the omega 3s are being pushed on the grocery store shelves, and not the omega 6’s is because the North American diet is already saturated with omega 6’s whereas most people are not consuming enough of the omega 3’s. The recommended ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 is 1:2 to 1:4. So for every unit of omega 3 you consume, you should consume about two to four units of omega 6. In North America however we consume an estimated ratio of 1:20. In other words, most people are consuming about ten times the amount of omega 6 fatty acids than they actually need! To make matters worse, while omega 3s have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body, which is important for disease prevention, too much omega 6 can have the opposite effect, making you more susceptible to diseases such as:

  • cardiovascular disease
  • type 2 diabetes
  • obesity
  • metabolic syndrome
  • irritable bowel syndrome & inflammatory bowel disease
  • macular degeneration
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • asthma
  • cancer
  • psychiatric disorders
  • autoimmune diseases

So, the bottom line is this: most of us need to focus on increasing the amount of omega 3 fatty acids in our diet, and reducing the amount of omega 6.

Foods that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids include:

-flax seeds

-chia seeds

-walnuts

-spinach and other green leafy vegetables

-canola oil

-sunflower oil

-and oily fish such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel.

Foods that are high in omega 6 include:

-corn and corn products (corn oil, corn chips, etc.)

-shortening

-margarine

-dairy

-eggs

-beef

-chicken

-pork

 

My favorite way to get my daily intake of heart healthy omega 3’s is by eating chia seeds. Just one tablespoon full of chia seeds has the omega 3 equivalent of 5 fish oil capsules! I like to throw a spoonful into my morning smoothie, but you can also add them to your cereal, pancakes, or muffins. Be creative. You can easily hide them in your children’s (or your husband’s) favorite foods.

If you are a fish lover, the recipe below is a great way to increase your omega 3’s, and as an added bonus, the sweet potato in this recipe has a disease preventing anti-inflammatory effect on the body AND is packed full of Vitamin C! Did I mention they are also delicious?

SALMON CAKES

salmon cakes

Ingredients

2 tins wild salmon (215 g)

1 large sweet potato

2 large white potatoes

1 medium onion, finely diced

¼ cup flour

1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons dried tarragon

1-2 teaspoons each of salt and pepper

1 cup Panko crumbs

Olive oil or canola oil for frying

Method:

Drain and mash the salmon with a fork. Boil sweet and white potatoes and mash. Fry onions until cooked. Combine potatoes with onions and salmon.   Add egg, flour, tarragon, salt and pepper. Let cool.  Form into cakes and roll in panko crumbs to coat the cakes.  Fry on medium high heat to brown on both sides. Note: Tarragon is a little expensive to buy, but it is what gives these cakes the WOW factor!

To learn more about eating for disease prevention, check out our book, 100 Perks of Having Cancer Plus 100 Health Tips for Surviving It!

 

 

 

Cha-Cha-Cha-CHIA! Week 3 of the 5 Weeks to Healthier Eating Challenge

chia 4

I know, I know….I missed a week in my five week series. It was supposed to be posted last weekend, but my week was a little crazy (I’ll tell you more about that in another post.) A sincere apology to my fans. YES, I said fans. Plural. There was a time when I had just the one fan, Mom. But last weekend, I found a second one, Elaine. (Hope your surgery went well, Elaine. Sending loving thoughts.) So, as to not disappoint my fanSSS, here is part 3 of my 5 part healthier eating challenge featuring my favorite super-foods.

Just to re-cap: Here’s the challenge: 5 weeks, 5 super-foods, and 5 ways to prepare them! We all want to eat healthier, right?   However, the secret to healthier eating is NOT to obsess about all of the foods you CAN’T eat, but rather focus on adding new, health promoting foods to your existing diet. For 5 weeks, I will be presenting one food a week for you to try….or to try in a new way.   All you have to do is try just one of the five recipes presented each week and decide….is this a food I can live with?

If you missed week 1, “Hail to the Kale”, click HERE. For week 2, “Get Keen on Quinoa”, click HERE.

Week 3: cha-cha-cha CHIA!

Chia pets have been around since the seventies: you simply moisten a terra cotta figurine and the chia seeds sprout to produce hair or fur. Here is what an early chia pet looked like:

chia pet 2

Through the process of evolution and insane marketing, this is what a modern day chia pet looks like:

chia duck

Did you know however, that chia seeds have more uses than just growing beards on Duck Dynasty dudes? They are super good for you!

First of all, let me tell you five of the benefits of eating chia seeds, taken from our book 100 Perks of Having Cancer Plus 100 Health Tips for Surviving It (thanks, Susan!)

  1. They make you feel full, which may aid in weight loss. When left in juice or water for about 15 minutes, they absorb the liquid and thicken the consistency (great for smoothies!).
  2. They are high in Omega 3 fatty acids. If you want to learn more about Omega 3 vs. Omega 6 fatty acids, you can read pages 49 to 53 in our book. I don’t want to go all technical on you, but here is my understanding: Omega 6 is bad, Omega 3 is good. Omega 6 increases the inflammatory response, which is the root cause of all evil in the body, such as cancer and heart disease. Omega 3 creates an ANTI-inflammatory response. Many people take fish oil capsules to increase their daily ratio of Omega 3 fatty acids. However, just one tablespoon of chia seeds contains the Omega 3 equivalent of FIVE fish oil capsules!
  3. One ounce of chia seeds provided 18% of your recommended daily dose (RDA) of calcium, once again dispelling the myth that only dairy contains calcium.
  4. While you can get 30% of your RDA for calcium from a cup of milk, you get ZERO fiber from milk…or from any other animal based product for that matter. Chia seeds on the other hand are a good source of calcium AND fiber, giving you 42% of your RDA. Fiber is not just good to get your bowels moving, it also has anti-cancer properties by helping to move toxins out of the body. And did I mention that fiber helps you to feel full, which really helps when you are trying to lose weight.
  5. One ounce of chia seeds contains 4 grams of protein. Used in a smoothie or sprinkled on your morning cereal, it is a great way to get in a dose of protein early in your day.

Now for five ways to eat these delightful little seeds:

1. Sprinkle Them Everywhere

You can add a tablespoon of chia seeds to pretty much anything you are eating! While sitting around the staffroom table at lunch time yesterday, the topic of chia seeds came up. (We are a very health conscious staff!)   One woman said that she “hides” chia seeds in many foods that she makes for her kids, such as pancakes, burgers, pizza, and muffins.   Chia seeds are also great sprinkled on your cereal, and will give your smoothie a rich, thick consistency, helping you to feel full longer.

2. Create Your Own Smoothie

smoothie post

Smoothies are a great way to start your day with a cancer-fighting punch! There are many possible ingredients for smoothies, and since the possibilities are endless, I have created this generic recipe for you to follow.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk (or cow’s milk if your body really needs that added fat and cholesterol. Regular cow’s milk contains 8 grams of fat and 30 mg of cholesterol per serving, whereas the same amount of almond milk contains only 3 grams of fat, and ZERO cholesterol. Both almond milk and cow’s milk contain the exact same amount of calcium, 30%)
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen fruit, if using fresh, throw in a handful of ice cubes to cool the mix
  • 1 cup greens, try spinich, kale, lettuce or other greens of choice, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup frozen berries, remember, when it comes to cancer prevention, the darker the berry, the more anti-oxidents
  • 1 tablespoon nuts, such as cashews, almonds or walnuts, optional, but gives it an extra boost of protein

Directions

Always look for organic produce. Throw all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth! Here is where you can use your imagination to create your own unique smoothie recipe. Try combining anti-oxidant powerhouse berries (such as blueberries or blackberries) with fruit, such as a banana or frozen mango. If your smoothie is a little tart, try adding a teaspoon full of natural sweetener such as agave, pure maple syrup or honey, or some fruit juice.   If it is too thick, just add more liquid to get the desired consistency.

3. Chia Seed Chocolate Pudding

choc pudd

Using very little sugar and all wholesome whole ingredients, you can make this chocolaty dessert that just happens to provide a boatload of Omega 3 fatty acids.

Ingredients

  • 1 banana very ripe
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2-3 tablespoons pure powdered cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut sugar or 10 drops stevia or 1 tablespoon honey (if you don’t have healthier alternative to sugar, I guess you can use 1-2 teaspoons of sugar),
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds

Directions

In a blender or processor, blend water and banana until very thin. Add other ingredients except chia seeds and blend very well. Stir in seeds with a spoon. Let it sit 1 hour, stirring occasionally while it thickens up. Pour into 2 or 3 small dessert dishes, garnish with berries (optional) and refrigerate for about 15 minutes. Enjoy!

 

4. Strawberry (OR Blueberry) Chia Seed Jam

Jam

Simple and fun and you’re turning jam into an Omega-3 powerhouse! Magic!  (Now I know what I will do with all of those wild blueberries my mom picked for me!)

 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound strawberries (or any berries) washed, hulled and chopped into quarters
  • 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup (or less if you don’t want it sweet)
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds

Directions

If using blueberries or raspberries you do not need to chop, just wash.

Add fruit along with sweetener to a saucepan and heat over medium heat.

Once the berries heat up, carefully smash them with a fork or masher until you get the consistency you like.

Allow the fruit to come to a boil and allow to gently boil for about 5 minutes until it forms a sauce.

You can taste it here to see if you’d like to adjust the sweetener.

Stir in 2 tablespoons chia seeds and stir allowing to cook for one more minute.

Remove from heat

Wait until the jam thickens about 10-15 minutes. It will thicken as it cools. If it’s thin, add another teaspoon or two and stir well and allow to sit.

When it’s cooled to room temp, you can eat.

Keep in airtight jar in fridge for up to 2 weeks.

 

5. Almond Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding

chia3

This light and fruity dessert also makes a great breakfast food or snack.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1 (16 ounce) package fresh strawberries hulled
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Puree almond milk and strawberries in a blender until smooth; pour into a bowl. Stir chia seeds, honey, and vanilla extract into the strawberry puree.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, about 4 hours.

So, there you have it folks, 5 good reasons to eat chia seeds and 5 delicious ways to prepare them. If you are serious about eating for cancer prevention, I encourage you to sign up for our FREE 4 day Cancer Plan 4 Life Kickstart program, (click the button below) where you can access these plus hundreds of other delicious, cancer-fighting recipes. Survive and Thrive!

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