With another lockdown in place and Christmas on the horizon, cooking and healthy food are a hot topic for many of us right now. Here we have compiled a list of easy recipes with powerful omega – 3 fatty acids and many other nutrients, to help you and your family stay healthy during this time of the year. We will talk about how to prepare these ingredients to preserve the health benefits of omega – 3 fatty acids and will show you some recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks of course!
The omega – 3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) provide us with a range of health benefits from improved heart health (https://norwayomega.co.uk/blog/the-top-3-benefits-of-omega-3-a-powerful-anti-inflammatory/) to a stronger immune system (https://norwayomega.co.uk/blog/how-omega-3-fish-oil-can-boost-your-immune-system/) and even benefit our skin and hair! (https://norwayomega.co.uk/blog/how-is-omega-3-good-for-the-skin/). These fatty acids naturally occur in a range of foods which we rely on, because our body cannot produce those essential fats itself.
Which foods contain high amounts of omega – 3 and how to prepare them?
There are several foods that are abundant in omega – 3 (https://norwayomega.co.uk/blog/which-products-provide-abundant-amounts-of-omega-3-fatty-acids/), the most prominent ones being seafood and a variety of nuts, seeds and leafy greens:
· Salmon: a fatty fish and one of the foods with the highest omega – 3 contents. It is recommended to consume two servings of fatty fish a week
· Anchovies: a good source of omega – 3 and calcium
· Shrimp: contains a lot of omega – 3, protein and potassium
· Walnuts: are a great vegetarian source of the omega – 3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which can be broken down in to EPA and DHA in our body. Walnuts are ideal toppings for salads, porridge or deserts.
· Flaxseeds/ Chia Seeds / Hemp Seeds: seeds sometimes even contain more nutrients than nuts and this trio is healthy all around.
o Flaxseeds contain more ALA than any other plant food, but they should be ground up before you add them to your baked goods, yogurt or salad, so we can digest them better
o Chia seeds are a good source of omega – 3 and protein, as well as calcium and can be a good addition to your breakfast or desert. They contain fibre and help your gut to be healthy and are easy on sensitive stomachs
o Hemp seeds taste similar to sunflower seeds and can be roasted or sprinkled raw on top of your soup, salad or smoothies or ground into seed butter
· Soybeans/Tofu: Soybeans are also known as edamame and a snappy source of omega – 3, fibres and B vitamins.
· Spinach: a leafy power-green high in iron and omega – 3
The way you prepare fish or seafood will affect its nutritional content, so it is important to choose a cooking method that not only makes your food taste delicious, but also preserves their omega – 3 fatty acids. When cooking or frying fish or seafood at high temperatures, the fatty acids begin to break down. A study from India showed that in deep-fried tuna, 70 to 85 % of all EPA and DHA were destroyed in the frying process. But don’t worry, there are alternative cooking methods that will preserve the nutrients in those foods much better.
Instead of frying or cooking it over a flame or high temperature, steaming or baking the fish does wonders to preserve its fatty acids. Especially when baking, make sure to add only minimal amounts of a heat-stable vegetable oil such as olive oil, to add further protection to the omega – 3 fatty acids. This way, you can protect the healthy nutrients in fish such as omega – 3 or vitamin D, which are beneficial for your heart health, immune system and have even been linked to a reduced risk of diabetes and cancer. (https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/healthiest-way-to-cook-fish#TOC_TITLE_HDR_2)
Poaching and steaming are methods to cook the fish without adding any extra fats and oils. Because the fish is cooked at a lower temperature and over a longer time, this method can help preserve the beneficial fatty acids more than other cooking methods.
So, now that we know to prepare these foods in the healthiest way, lets look into some delicious and easy recipes:
· Start your day right with these flaxseed oatmeal pancakes that feel like a treat but are actually healthy and full of omega – 3 thanks to chia and flaxseeds!
· If you’re missing summer this fresh salad packed with walnuts and spinach for some extra omega – 3 and of course, you can always add some powerful seeds on top to add an extra nutritional boost:
· It is always good to have some healthy snacks at hand to make sure, you don’t break you healthy eating habits. Try these granola bars or energy balls with healthy seeds and extra omega – 3. Don’t for get to grind the flaxseeds before you use them, so your body can digest them better and make full use of their nutrients.
· Here are some festive dinner recipes that are easy to make and healthy. Be it a baked salmon with a delicious pesto crust or a colourful spread of butternut squash with sweet potatoes and almonds, your oven is your friend and while the food bakes away you have time to socialize with your friends and family.
· A delicious pasta recipe with an added bonus of anchovies for that extra omega – 3 kick. Easy to prepare and delicious to eat, this dish leaves nothing to be desired.
· Spoil yourself and your loved ones with this delicious and healthy chocolate cake, full of indulgent omega – 3 goodness.
· A hearty, filling salad with baked tofu for that extra protein and omega – 3 to make your day a success! With tofu, cashews, almond butter and hemp seeds this salad is full of power and its seasoning with miso and maple syrup, it sure is far from a boring dish.
So now that you know what and how to prepare those easy meals full of omega – 3, there is nothing standing between you and a happy and healthy holiday season.
If you’d like to supplement your diet with some high-quality fish oil or krill oil supplements, head over to our shop and browse or range of products!