Posts Tagged ‘omega-3’

New Superhero Foods

July 14th, 2009

Today, it’s widely recognized that you are what you eat, with some foods appearing to be better for you than others. When you fill your diet with the so-called superfoods, you’re getting a whole lot more than the traditional nutrients they contain. Foods with compounds such as phytochemicals, botanicals, bioactives, probiotics, Omega 3s and more are being closely studied for their ability to enhance your health and wellbeing, and help you age successfully.

Chances are you already know about many of the superstars. You can find them in every food category, such as oats and other whole grains, vibrant colored fruits such as blueberries, mangoes and kiwi fruit and yogurts with prebiotics ( healthy bacteria ).

Even culinary herbs and spices are providing their worth as superfoods in the way they can boost the anti-oxidant activity of meals. Here, we take a closer look at two of the new superheroes in town.

Acai Berries

Acai berries

Acai berries

Scientists are very interested in studying indigenous cultures that have long revered certain foods for their health and medicinal properties.

Acai berries are found in the deep jungle of Amazon, seems to have phytochemicals that hold a potent health powers. The acai berries grows in clusters on the acai palm and has very high anti-oxidant activity, with Brazilians apparently describing it as “the milk of the Amazon” . Traditionally, they have used acai berries to treat skin conditions and digestive disorders but the claims around this popular health food supplement abound.

In a recent University of Folrida study, acai berry extract was shown to trigger a self-destruct response in up to 86% of leukemia cells in a test tube environment. However, scientists are quick to point out that human studies are needed before claiming any anti-cancer properties. When it comes to fruit, whole is best, as there are beneficial interactions or synergy between different components. Yet, as acai fruit perishes quickly on picking, foods with extracts of the berry may be the way to go.
Simply Sardines

Sizzling sardines

Sizzling sardines

There’s nothing new about sardines, but the fact that they have been largely overlooked in the Omega 3 stakes is, well just a little bit fishy!

Sardines are a great health bargain as they are easy to find , versatile, relatively inexpensive and pack a powerful Omega 3 and Vitamin D punch. For example, sardines in olive oil contain approximately 200mg of long chain Omega 3s ( DHA and EPA ) per 100mg, compared with canned tuna and salmon in the range of 200mg-400mg per 100g.

Hailed for their heart health benefits and their role in helping to reduce the symptoms of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, long chain Omega 3s are now being studied for their mind and mood benefits, too.

In another plus, sardines contain calcium from their edible bones and are very low on the food chain, so they are likely to have lower levels of contaminants than other deep sea fish.

Sardines are also one of the richest dietary sources of the bone-building vitamin D. Low levels of Vitamin D have been associated with chronic medical conditions such as some cancers and auto-immune disorders such as multiple sclerosis.

Heart – healthy Fish Alert !

January 4th, 2009

I read an article in a health magazine that some chemicals or growth hormones were injected into chicken wings to reduce time to market them. I believe something which is not natural will bring cause some bad results in the future. Bad chicken!

bad chicken

You would think that with the common belief that  fats are a major cause of heart disease there would be over whelming evidence to support this theory.  This is not the case.  This can be best demonstrated by the fact that Eskimos on a traditional diet high in fat have little or no heart disease.

eskimo

While their traditional diet is high in saturated fat it is mostly comprised of  seafood (seal fat, fish, etc.) which is high in omega-3 fatty acids.  You might conclude that Eskimos have good genetics and not prone to heart disease. But, when on a typical North American style diets their risk of heart disease is about the same as the average North American.   It is believed that the key difference is the high consumption of seafood and the corresponding high level of omega-3 polyunsaturated fat in their diet.

Just recently, I changed my diet to “mostly fish” rather than “occasional chicken.”

rubber_chicken

But today, when I was at work I came across an article about some ‘ unhealthy fish ‘. For a while I was wondering, “ Is there such things beside yeah I know some sea creatures contain Mercury in them… but fish obviously never cross my mind “.

There are only some fish which is rich in omega-3, a heart – healthy substance which helps in reducing inflammation. On the other hands, most of the fish which are packed with omega-6 fatty acids in addition to omega-3s, which may actually cause inflammation to your heart.

img_safecar

Surprisingly, two of the most popular fish in United States ( both farmed tilapia and catfish ) fall into the category of the one that causing inflammation.

catfish

Catfish

tilapia

Tilapia

This handy chart will help you choose fish with the highest omega-3 content.

Type of fish Total omega-3 content per 3.5 ounces (grams)
Mackerel 2.6
Trout, lake 2.0
Herring 1.7
Tuna, bluefin 1.6
Salmon 1.5
Sardines, canned 1.5
Sturgeon, Atlantic 1.5
Tuna, albacore 1.5
Whitefish, lake 1.5
Anchovies 1.4
Bluefish 1.2
Bass, striped 0.8
Trout, brook 0.6
Trout, rainbow 0.6
Halibut, Pacific 0.5
Pollock 0.5
Shark 0.5
Sturgeon 0.4
Bass, fresh water 0.3
Catfish 0.3
Ocean perch 0.3
Flounder 0.2
Haddock 0.2
Snapper, red 0.2
Swordfish 0.2
Sole 0.1

Source: The Health Effects of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Seafood.

So, if any of you are going to order dishes with fish or buying them at the market… go for trout, salmon, sardines, mackerel.

omega-3-benefits-711963

Rainbow Trout

Mackerel-Dscn1117

Mackerel