If you ‘caught’ our latest article about omega-3 fatty acids, you will know that many varieties of fish are good sources of this essential nutrient. For some people, the thought of incorporating more fish in their diet is a daunting task. For some, it’s a matter of trying something new, for others, the taste is just unbearable. How, then, do you get your omega-3’s?
Try something new. Maybe you have tried the fishiest of fish, thought it was gross and swore off all fish forever because of it. This is my husband’s excuse, although he will occasionally dabble in the sushi world. Take a step back and try something a little more basic. White fish, like cod or haddock, are less fishy and usually take on the flavor of what it is seasoned with. Try using a seasoning you already like, for instance make fish tacos with cayenne, cumin, and paprika if you like Mexican. Lemon and pepper are also common seasonings. It may be easier to get used to the taste of this first, then graduate to fishier fish. Just remember, it takes repeated tries to get to like a flavor. Try this seared cod recipe from PaleoLeap.com.
Try canned. If cooking fish is not up your alley, start by trying canned varieties. A tuna fish salad is a go-to lunch around here, mixing canned tuna with mayonnaise, eaten with a fresh green salad. The prep is almost non-existent. Look for canned tuna that is packed in water instead of oil, and don’t skimp out. Pick a high-quality brand that uses sustainable fishing practices. Start with a white, or albacore, as these types have a lighter, less fishy flavor. Canned salmon and smoked trout are also available, but have a stronger fish flavor. I wouldn’t suggest them for beginners.
It’s not just fish. Remember that other sea creatures have omega-3’s as well. Crab, shellfish and shrimp are good sources of omega-3’s. Shrimp may be a good place to start, since you won’t have the shell to contend with. Buy deveined or do it yourself.
Certain plants contain small amounts of omega 3’s, too. They are great to add an omega boost, but aren’t nearly as plentiful of the animal-based sources. Flax, hemp and chia seeds are the best plant-based sources. These can easily be added to a morning smoothie. Walnuts and pecans are also high omega-3, but contain many more omega-6 than omega-3, creating an imbalance.
Land-loving animals have omega-3’s too! Animals that are raised on a grass-fed diet have omega-3 rich meat. Modern farming has switched animals to corn-based diets that promote rapid weight gain at a cheap price. That’s all great, except the trade off is lower quality, omega 6-rich meat. Just another assault on our omega-3 status. Find meats that were pasture raised, grass-fed, grass-finished. The same goes for eggs.
There are always supplements. The likelihood of eating the right ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 every day is unlikely, no matter how hard you try and eat it in balance. Think of taking a fish oil supplement as an addition to your multivitamin. Remember, you aren’t just taking in enough nutrients to get by, you are trying to boost all of your nutrient levels to promote optimal health. Consult with your dietitian to determine which options are right for you.
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