Available fresh from early summer to the late fall, usually available frozen, and always available canned – wild salmon is one of the healthiest protein packages on earth. This delectable fish is virtually exploding with almighty omega 3 fats along with several key nutrients, including magnesium, selenium, B vitamins, and vitamin D (think heart health, brain health, diabetes protection). A small serving provides over 100% of your daily requirements for all important vitamin D. Red sockeye is my top pick for flavor and nutritional goodness.
I call omega 3 “The Happy Fat.”
The majority of the solid structure of our brains is made up of fat – yes we are all true fat heads! And the special type of fat that makes up most of our brain architecture is none other than the superstar omega 3 fat. Omega 3 fat, specifically DHA is the brain’s most prized and highest quality building material so it was no big surprise that a large review of clinical trials (Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, August ’07) looking at omega 3 fats and mood disorders found they had a significant antidepressant effect. Interestingly, Japan has the highest intakes of omega 3 in the world (about 15x higher than U.S.) and their rates of depression are about 1/20th — 1/30th of ours.
So Hippocrates was right when he said “what’s good for the heart is also good for the brain,” because these fats provide 7 separate benefits to your heart and arteries. Be sure to strive to include a serving of omega 3 fats in your diet each day. The best sources are oily fish, walnuts, omega 3 eggs, whole soy foods and flax seed. Fish oil supplements can provide a convenient safety net.
Omega 3 fats appear to help colon cells stay healthy and happy too. A study involving 1455 people with colon cancer compared with 1455 matched individuals without the disease found that the cancer subjects consumed less omega 3 fats. (American Journal of Epidemiology, July ’07). Specifically, study subjects with the highest intake of DHA (found in oily fish and omega 3 eggs) had 41 percent lower odds of colon cancer.
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