omega-3

Foods High in Omega-3 

Foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids have long been discovered to be an essential part of our diets. Omega-3 fatty acids are believed to have a role in fighting off many illnesses and diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer’s, inflammation, developmental disabilities, and atopic diseases. Omega-3 fatty acids are most commonly known for being found in fish and fish oil supplements but are also present in many other natural food sources. Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential part of your daily diet that the human body does not produce on its own. Below is a list of foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids:

  • Flax Seeds and Flax Seed Oil 

Flax seeds contain 7483mg of omega-3 fatty acid per tablespoon. Though flax seeds are higher in omega-3 fatty acids than other foods, the omega-3 fatty acids in flax seeds are not as easily converted by the human body. While flax seeds are still a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, your body will not absorb the full 7483 mg of omega-3 fatty acids.

  • Salmon 

Fish is, overall, the best source of omega-3 fatty acids. Some fish, such as salmon, contain higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids than others. Salmon is also an easily accessible fish that can be cooked with ease. Many other types of fish also contain a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, such as mackerel, sardines, white fish, anchovies, and herring. Fish remains the most popular source of omega-3 fatty acids, both when consumed from fish or fish oil supplements.

  • Walnuts 

Walnuts are the only nuts that are considered a significant source of omega-3 fatty acids. Walnuts contain approximately 2,664 mg of omega-3 per ¼ of a cup. While walnuts may not be your favorite snack, it is important to remember how versatile of an ingredient they are. Walnuts are easy to include in your daily diet, sometimes without you really even noticing. Some great ways to sneak in this healthy little nut is by adding them to homemade granola, use them in pesto, or even ground up for a pie crust.

  • Chia Seeds 

If you haven’t heard of chia seeds, you should check out my previous post on their benefits! Chia seeds are an up and coming superfood that contain 2,457 mg of omega-3 fatty acids in one tiny tablespoon. Chia seeds also contain a great deal of protein and other essential nutrients. Chia seeds are extremely easy to fit into your daily diet; they are most commonly added to smoothies for an extra protein punch.

  • Leafy Greens 

While leafy greens don’t contain as much omega-3 as the other mentioned foods, that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth pointing out. Leafy greens such as kale, collard greens, turnip greens, spinach, watercress, Brussel sprouts, etc. are not only a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids but also an ideal source of fiber!

Noticing that all of these foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids allows us to consider just what we are putting in our bodies and the benefits to reap from them.

Spotlight on Awesome Paleo Food: Salmon

Salmon photo

Salmon is a true nutritional catch from the animal kingdom, bringing to us the gift of superior health benefits (along with great taste) when it lands on our plates. Here are some great reasons why this fish packs such a healthy wallop of Paleo goodness.

  1. It’s an omega-3 superstar. Salmon has an unusually high omega-3 fatty acid content and it’s one of the food’s biggest health benefits. A 4-ounce piece, whether baked or broiled, probably contains at least 2 grams of disease-preventing omega-3 fats. This is more omega-3 intake than the average U.S. adult consumes from all food over several days’ time.
  2. All those omega-3s help your heart in several different ways. Intake is associated with decreased risk of heart attack, stroke, heart arrhythmia, high blood pressure and high triglycerides in the blood. Eating omega-3-dense fish is also connected with improved metabolic markers for cardiovascular disease. These benefits start with even one omega-3 fish meal weekly. More of the benefits, however, kick in with eating these meals 2-3 times per week.
  3. It’s good for eye health too. Eating fish rich in omega-3 fats has been associated with decreased risk of two eye-related problems: macular degeneration and chronic dry eye.
  4. Salmon also supplies the best forms of omega-3s. Approximately half of the fatty acids in salmon are comprised of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and slightly less are in the form of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)—which are also unusually high amounts of these types of fatty acids found in common foods. These are the forms of omega-3s that have been shown to provide the most health benefits.
  5. It has a stellar ratio of omega-3 to omega-6. An average serving usually will contain a very low amount of omega-6—less than a half a gram, which is a ratio of 5.5 to 1 for omega-3s to omega-6s. In the standard American diet, there’s the continual problem of the omega-3/omega-6 ratio being lopsided in the opposite direction, containing at least 4-5 times as much omega-6 fat as omega-3 fat. This is counter-productive for our health, as studies have shown that these two types of fatty acids compete for the same conversion enzymes. This means that the higher the omega-6s that are in the diet, the more directly they’ll affect the conversion of omega-3s found in plant foods, to the EPA and DHA form of omega-3s, which protect us from disease.
  6. Salmon gives you beneficial proteins and amino acids. It features short protein particles known as peptides, which are proven to be bioactive and may also act as anti-inflammatory agents. It has also been shown to supply important amounts of taurine, an antioxidant amino acid.
  7. (Alaskan) salmon is sustainable. Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California, just declared Alaskan salmon as a “best choice” in salmon selection because it is the only low-risk salmon to meet four sustainability criteria: the level of population vulnerability, the effects of fishing on the habitat, the state of wild stocks, and the by-catch (the other types of fish that are caught unintentionally during salmon fishing).
  8. Salmon is a great source of selenium. A 4-oz. serving contains over 61% of the recommended daily value of this immune-boosting mineral. An adequate supply of selenium in the diet has been linked to decreased risk of joint inflammation and prevention of specific cancers, including colorectal. Selenium has also been shown to play an important role in cardiovascular protection.
  9. The DHA salmon provides is considered by many researchers to be the most important fat in the human brain. High salmon intake is associated with decreased risk of certain brain-related problems like depression, decreased risk of hostility in teenagers and decreased risk of cognitive decline in seniors. Some studies show a correlation between higher IQ and omega-3 intake and omega-3 fish.
  10. Other types of wild-caught salmon are still relatively low in contaminants (remember to buy wild-caught only). While contaminants like mercury, pesticides and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) continue to be a problem in salmon habitats and with the fish itself, other wild-caught varieties like Southeast Alaskan chum, sockeye, coho, pink and Chinook, as well as Kodiak coho, pink and chum still pose a low risk of contaminants.

The many ways that salmon nourishes us makes it a perfect addition to a Paleo table if it’s not on yours already. Try eating salmon 2-3 times a week as a delicious and healthy way to fortify and protect your body and mind.

Issue No. 23

10 Benefits of Flax Seeds and The Amazing Nutrient Profile

flax seed photo
Photo by muffinn

Flax, also known as linseed, is a fiber crop that has long been used for manufacturing household linens. Flax seeds are harvested from the flax plant itself. Flax seeds come in a number of varieties, that of which all contain the same nutritional value, with the exception of yellow flax seeds. Flaxseeds are widely used for their nutritional value, and also used to produce a form of vegetable oil that is considered to be one of the oldest commercial oils in production. According to, Wikipedia, the culinary uses for flax seeds range from roasted to being milled for bread.  Flax seeds are packed full of nutritional value, such as Omega-3 fatty acid, fiber, protein, vitamin B1, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, vitamin B6, iron, potassium, copper, and zinc.

The Benefits of Flax Seeds

1  Gluten Free

Even if you don’t live by a strict gluten-free diet, doesn’t mean that consuming some gluten-free options isn’t a good choice. The healthier choices you make, the better your overall health will be. Flax seeds are a great alternative to traditional grains and can be used as a substitute in cooking and baking. Flax seeds are a natural replacement for gluten-filled grains. Flax seeds can be ground and used alone or combined with coconut flour for baking and cooking.

2  High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

If you are reading anything related to healthy lifestyles or diets, you have probably seen omega-3 fatty acids a time or two. Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to be the key to unlocking great health and warding off many diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Cancer. More research is needed to prove whether or not Omega-3 fatty acids are the key to a successfully healthy life, but one thing is for sure, they are great for your body and an optimal part of leading a healthy life. Flax seeds are full of omega-3 fatty acids and are a great option for people with an allergy to fish, who are looking for a natural way to get their daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids.

3  Reduces Risk of Cancer

Many studies have suggested that flax seeds can aid in reducing ones’ risk of getting certain types of cancer, such as, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer. Lignans that are found in flaxseed are converted by the body into enterolactone and enterodiol, which aid in the natural balance of hormones that are believed to be the culprit of some cancer growth. A large part of this can be chalked up to its high omega-3 fatty acid value and anti-inflammatory properties.

4  Menopausal Symptom Relief 

According to, WebMD, there have been significant studies showing that flax seeds can help relieve the symptoms of menopause. Consuming a proper dosage of flaxseed daily is believed to relieve hot flashes, night sweats, and other mild side effects of menopause. The flax seed is suggested to have similar effects to that of hormone therapy. Studies have shown that women consuming the recommended amount of flaxseed twice a day showed a 50% decrease in the number of hot flashes they had in a day and a decrease in intensity of the remaining hot flashes.

5  Lower Cholesterol 

Flax seeds ability to help lower cholesterol is mainly credited to its omega-3 fatty acid and fiber content. Flax seeds are also rich in lignans, which have been shown to decrease plasma cholesterol, high plasma cholesterol is associated with atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease. Studies have shown that flax seeds can reduce bad cholesterol, low density lipoprotein cholesterol, by 14%-18%

6  Gut Health

Flax seeds are a great source of fiber and are packed full of natural fiber to help keep your gut healthy. The high soluble fiber count makes flax seeds the perfect supplement for anyone looking for a natural laxative or regulating supplement. A key tip for using flax seeds for digestive health, is to use ground flax seeds; whole flax seeds are harder for your body to digest and absorb all of the beneficial nutrients. Flax seeds also contain mucilaginous fiber, which increases the intestine’s ability to absorb nutrients.

7  Blood Sugar

They are low glycemic, meaning that they can help to prevent or reduce spikes in blood sugar. When consuming flax as a normal part of your daily diet, blood sugar levels will begin to level out and show less effect from other foods that you consume, such as foods that are high in sugar. Flax is a great option for diabetic’s looking to more naturally control their blood sugar levels.

8  Weight Loss

Recently the seeds have become growingly popular for people looking to use their nutritional benefits for weight loss. Eating flax before a meal can help to reduce your hunger and give you the feeling of being full sooner. Similar to chia seeds, flax seeds absorb liquid and swell to create that “full” feeling. Thus, allowing you to feel full for longer and consume less food for meals.

9  Inflammation

There is no doubt that these seeds are filled with nutritional value and regardless of whether you are looking to use them as a weight loss aid, natural health remedy, or just as a source of vitamins; flax seeds are great for your body. A hot topic on flax is their anti-inflammatory benefits. The high levels of omega-3 fatty acid, lignans, flavonoids, and fiber all work in sync to reduce inflammation in your body, including inflammation caused by arthritis and Parkinson’s Disease. A daily serving of flax seeds has 140% of your daily value of these anti-inflammatory vitamins.

 10 Skin Health

Generally speaking, we all know that we need optimal nutrition to keep our bodies healthy on the inside. The same is also true for the outside; our skin and hair need all of the essential vitamins and minerals as the rest of your body. Flax seeds benefit your skin by increasing your body’s natural oil production, helping to keep your skin moisturized and hydrated.

Photo by Veganbaking.net

Sardine Boats

Sardinesimage have excellent health benefits and are tasty as well. I know, when I first heard about sardines, I was hesitant to try them. But time and time again, I read about the anti-inflammatory properties of sardines, as well as, the high omega-3, which is great from everything to skin health to preventing cancer. Honestly, if you like canned tuna fish (but maybe find it a little dry), this oily fish is a great alternative.

Some things about buying sardines:

  1. Make sure that they are skinless and boneless. There are still a few tiny, tiny bones, but they just make the fish a little crunchy. The ones that still have the skin and full bones still scare me a little bit (especially to eat!).
  2. Buy sardines that are packed in oil. The ones that I usually buy are in olive oil. Yes, they are an oily fish, but the ones packed in water just don’t taste as good.

So, this really isn’t a cooking recipe as a great snack or breakfast idea. Often times, I have a little basil plant in the house, and a trim off a basil leaf and fill it with sardines…. so simple, but so delicious. Sometimes I put hot sauce or tomato with the sardine filling, or mix the sardines with some Paleo mayo to create a “sardine salad” with the basil. Really the sky is the limit with this little snack gem.

 

Ingredients

1 package of sardines (boneless, skinless and packed in oil)

1/4 cup of Paleo Mayo (we will have a recipe soon on the site)

1 tomato, sliced (any type will do. Each type has a slightly different texture and taste, so experiment with different types)

8-10 basil leaves

 

Instructions

Mix Paleo Mayo with sardines in a bowl. Place a little bit of the “sardine salad” into each basil leaf.

Place tomato slice on the top.

Enjoy

 

Print Recipe
Sardine Boats
Super easy recipe combining basil leaves with sardines.
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 package sardines boneless, skinless and packed in a Paleo-approved oil
  • 1/4 cup Paleo Mayo recipe to be posted soon
  • 1 sliced tomato any type of tomato - each has a different flavor and texture
  • 8-10 basil leaves
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 package sardines boneless, skinless and packed in a Paleo-approved oil
  • 1/4 cup Paleo Mayo recipe to be posted soon
  • 1 sliced tomato any type of tomato - each has a different flavor and texture
  • 8-10 basil leaves
Instructions
  1. Mix Paleo Mayo with sardines in a bowl.
  2. Place a little bit of the "sardine salad" into each basil leaf.
  3. Place tomato slice on the top.
  4. Enjoy!
Share this Recipe

Why You Should Try Sardines Today.

Sardines
Health Benefits of Sardines

I learned early on in elementary school that bringing sardines in for lunch was…not the most popular choice. The fish have a very distinct smell, but they certainly are tasty! Before you give up on these little guys because of their pungent aroma, take a minute to learn more about why these snacks of the sea are so great.

There are actually many fish known as “sardines,” but they’re all so closely related genetically that they’re usually just considered to be the same fish. It’s said that Napoleon was responsible for the sardines’ rise in popularity—who knew?

Why Eat Sardines?

  1. They are packed with calcitriol, a form of vitamin D that regulates cell cycles. Because cancer is caused by cells functioning incorrectly, keeping these cycles regulated is a very effective form of cancer prevention.
  2. The protein within gives us necessary amino acids that build and regenerate our bodies. These amino acids repair tissue by grabbing into oxygen and carrying it around efficiently.
  3. The most prevalent nutrients are vitamin B12, clocks in at a whopping 337% of what you need every day! B12 reduces homocysteine, which is known to be a degenerate bone through osteoporosis. Thanks to their homocysteine-smashing properties, sardines support bone health.
  4. They are one of the absolute best places to get omega-3 fatty acids. This healthy omega-3s help reduce the risk of inflammatory conditions like heart disease by fighting oxidation.

Anchovies, sardines—tiny fish get a bad rap sometimes. But these small fish have a rich, flavorful taste without a fishy aftertaste, so there’s really nothing unusual about them at all. When you’re ready to take the plunge and become addicted to delicious sardines (it’s easier than you might think!), there are a few things to keep in mind.

How to Choose Sardines

  1. If you want whole, uncanned, some stores have them at the seafood counter. You can ask them to remove the large bones for you, but you can leave the little bones; cooking the sardines softens them, and you won’t even know there are still a few bones floating around.
  2. You can buy canned in water, soy oil, canola oil, tomato sauce, and olive oil—make sure to read the labels. It’s best to avoid those packed in soy oil, canola oil, or tomato sauce (which is filled with sugar). Water is always a solid choice; you can spice up your fish with some homemade Paleo mayo or get creative.

Remember that while sardines are a great snack, that’s just one of their many uses. Try mashing your sardines with avocados for a great veggie dip. Be adventurous!

Fish Oil and Alzheimer’s – Is This the Cure?

Fish Oil and Alzheimer’s – Is This the Cure?

 

 

What is the link between fish oil and Alzheimer’s? Alzheimer’s is a life changing diseases that affects every aspect of a person’s health and as of now, has no known cure. Some medications may relieve symptoms, though, there is still no scientific evidence of the effects; Fish oil contains healthy omega-3 fatty acids that some believe can prevent and even cure Alzheimer’s Disease.

What is Alzheimer’s?

Most anyone you ask has surely heard of Alzheimer’s disease, but most mistakenly believe that is a natural part of growing old. That is a false assumption. Alzheimer’s Disease is in fact a type of Dementia, that develops slowly over time and often worsens as time goes on. Alzheimer’s is a Neurodegenerative Disease. It is most typically noticed long after it has begun to develop, but rather worsens to a point that it becomes noticeable to those around you. Some of the early signs of Alzheimer’s Disease can seem minimal, but are sure to progress as time goes on; such as forgetfulness and the inability to remember to most recent of events. As the disease progresses, the symptoms often worsen to things such as: disorientation, loss of language, inability to properly care for ones-self and behavioral issues. As persons Alzheimer’s Disease worsens, their body slowly loses function, ultimately leading to death.

It is generally believed that genetics are to blame for one developing Alzheimer’s Disease, but there is no sure scientific answer, nor is their currently a cure. Some medications may be used to slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s or minimize the effects, but they will only prolong the end result. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the symptoms of Alzheimer’s will inevitably continue to worsen over time. The average person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, will live four to eight years after the time of diagnosis; but may live for up to another 20 years depending on the severity and effects of the disease. Alzheimer’s comes in stages, though the severity and the time frame may differ from person to person.

  • Preclinical Alzheimer’s disease is considered the beginning stage when symptoms are not yet noticeable, but slow changes in the brain are taking place.
  • Mild Alzheimer’s Disease is the early stage of Alzheimer’s. In the early stages most people with Alzheimer’s continue to function independently in their daily lives. A person may begin to feel as though they are having lapses in memory and family may begin to notice signs and symptoms.
  • Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease is the middle stage. This is most often the longest stage and may last for years. In this stage a person may become more and more dependent on the help of others to complete everyday task.
  • Severe Alzheimer’s Disease is considered the late stage. By this point a person will most likely require constant daily care to complete the basic needs such as personal care. A person may begin to loose awareness of the most recent events as well as their surroundings. A person will also start to experience changes in their physical abilities such as walking, sitting, and eventually even their ability to swallow and consume solid foods. At this stage people become more vulnerable to illness and have increased difficulty communicating.

What is fish oil?

Fish oil, is as it sounds, an oil extracted from the tissues of oily fish. The extracted fish oils contain a high concentration of Omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. The fish used in the extraction of fish oils do not naturally produce the fatty acids, rather, they accumulate them through consumption of other fish with fatty acid stores. The Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil are thought to be beneficial in the treatment of many diseases and conditions, none of which have been scientifically proven. Many people still continue to consume fish oil supplements daily in hope that fish oil will help prolong one life and decrease the risk of many health conditions. Fish oil is among the most popular supplements on the market, with approximately $800 million in annual sales. Many physicians recommend taking fish oil supplement’s daily, though there is still no compelling evidence to support and of the thought benefits of fish oil consumption.

Is fish oil the cure for Alzheimer’s?

Many would love to believe that fish oil is a long sought after cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, but thus far there is no scientific evidence to support this theory. Studies have in fact shown that patients who began to supplement their diets with fish oil prior to the on-set of Alzheimer’s, have shown a decreased risk in developing the disease. Studies have also shown, those who continuously eat a healthy diet rich in fish, especially those containing high levels of fatty acids, are also less likely to develop Alzheimer’s Disease.

Studies suggest that the fish oil aids in preventing inflammation, which many believe may be the underlying cause of Alzheimer’s Disease. Researchers have conducted a vast number of studies and the out-come is mostly conflicting data that still leaves us with no answers. Scientist believe that for fish oil to have any effect on the development of Alzheimer’s Disease, it would need to have been taken far earlier on in one’s life.

According to a review published by, The Cochran Collaboration, they based their findings on a study of 4080 patients over a 40-month period. The research concluded that the trials show no supporting evidence of the benefits of fish oil and cognitive health in older individuals. The review included studies of healthy participants over the age of 60 who were fully cognitively healthy at the beginning of the study. Participants were randomly selected to receive either extra omega-3 in their diet or the placebo, olive oil.  The main points of interest within the study were newly diagnosed cases of dementia during the study time period; along with any decline in cognitive health and side effects. The overall outcome of the review is that further, longer and more detailed research is still needed to confirm any real benefits on cognitive health by taking fish oil supplement’s daily.