Amazing Omegas: Vital Fats for Your Health and Wellness
There was a time when people thought that if you ate fatty foods they would make you fat. We now know that there are different types of fats, some of which are vital to our health and wellness. Two types, in particular, are Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids consist of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), both found in oily fish, and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), found in various oils, nuts, seeds, beans, and greens.
Your body also needs Omega-6's to function properly. These are found in vegetable oils, safflower oils, meat, poultry, and eggs. Because these foods are abundant in our society, most people eat TOO MUCH omega 6 and TOO LITTLE omega 3. This imbalance cause inflammation in the body. A 1:1 ratio is ideal for optimal health - many people eat a ratio of 20:1 or higher.
The benefits of consuming omega-3 fatty acids include lowered triglycerides, decreased inflammation, improved mental health, improved eye health, and brain development during pregnancy and early life.
It is recommended to eat fish at least twice a week and regularly include omega-3-rich plant sources — such as flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts — in your diet. Most people should aim to consume between 250-4000 mg of Omega-3 fatty acids per day depending on their health needs.
TOP 10 SOURCES OF OMEGA-3's
Most people can get all of the omega-3's that they need from food, instead of taking a supplement. Here are some choices that are packed with healthy fats:
Flax Seed - 2,338 mg per TBSP
Chia Seed - 4,915 mg per ounce
Walnuts - 2,542 mg per 7 nuts
Soybeans - 1,241 mg in 1/2 cup
Salmon - 2,260 mg in 3.5 ounces
Herring - 1,729 mg in 3.5 ounces
Sardines-1,480 mg per 3.5 ounces
Anchovies - 951 mg per 2 ounces
Mackerel - 5,134 mg in 3.5 ounces
Oysters - 565 mg per 6 oysters
Cod Liver Oil - 2,664 mg per TBSP
SALMON WITH WALNUT PESTO
The pesto can be made ahead of time and used any day you want to enhance your dinner and omega-3 intake.
Servings: 4 (1 serving = 1 fillet)
Calories per Serving: 250
Total Fat: 16g
Saturated Fat: 3g
Monounsaturated Fat: 7g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g
Trans Fat: 0g
Total Carbohydrate: 5g
Dietary Fiber: 2g
Vitamin A: 28%
Vitamin C: 6%
1 cup Basil, fresh
2.5 tbsp Olive Oil
0.25 cup chopped walnuts
2 cloves of garlic
0.25 cup Parmesan cheese
0.25 tsp salt
salt & pepper to season
the juice of 1 lemon
16 oz., Salmon, cut into 4 fillets
Put all ingredients (EXCEPT salmon, lemon juice, extra salt, and pepper) into the food processor.
Divide pesto equally onto 4 pieces of salmon. Place salmon on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until the salmon is cooked through to your liking.
Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
Serve on top a mixed green salad, along with steamed/sautéed vegetables, or pair with whole grain rice or pasta for a complete meal.
Think your diet is sub-par and you may be missing needed nutrients? Our registered dietitian has over 20 years of experience helping patients make healthy food choices! We invite you to schedule an appointment with our nutritionist by calling us at 703.349.5100 or clicking here to request an appointment. To stay up-to-date on the latest news and tips from us, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and sign up for our monthly newsletter for even more information sent straight to your inbox!