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What most of us need in our kitchen cupboards in order to be high in Omega-3s -- and balanced in Omega-3s and Omega-6s

January 12, 2015

1. A go-to fish recipe and a good source of sustainable fish. We have 6-oz pieces of wild silver salmon in our freezer (from Vital Choice Seafood) which are so flavorful that my husband and I will split one of these for dinner. They defrost in minutes and are our favorite quick and healthy meal.

2. A go-to breakfast or breakfast cereal with a healthy balance of fats. Our favorite packaged cereal is Nature's Path Flax Plus, but we also eat a lot of oatmeal, balanced out with ground flax seed. Omega-3 eggs are another great alternative, as are Susie's Smart Breakfast Cookies.

3. Ground flax seed or flax flour, which you can add to sauces, batters, oatmeal, soups, mustards, ketchup, etc. Two teaspoons of ground flax seed will balance out the Omega-6s in one cup of cooked oatmeal, for example. In most recipes, replacing one-fifth to one-quarter of the flour with ground flax seed works very well. Don't go overboard with this since we need Omega 6s (just not as many as most of us are getting).  Keep your ground flax seed meal in a cool dry place and discard it if it begins to go rancid. 

4. Flaxseed oil, which you can add to salad dressings to balance out the Omega-6s in vegetable oils.. One and a half tablespoons of flax seed oil will balance out the Omega-6s in a cup of olive oil, for example. Use your common sense, here, keeping in mind the whole meal that you're creating. If you're serving fish, you won't need to add flaxseed oil to your dressing, but if it's chicken or beef or pork, it's a good idea. The trick is to have a source of Omega-3s -- and not too many Omega-6s -- at every meal. Be sure to keep your flax seed oil in your refrigerator and discard it if it begins to go rancid. 

5. Omega-3 eggs, as every egg consumed in this country should be! These eggs are not injected with omega-3s, as some might think. Rather, they are laid by chickens that have been fed a balanced diet of Omega-3s and Omega-6s (as we all should be!). Ideally, an egg will have 300 mg Omega-3s so buy eggs with as close to that as your pocketbook will allow. All eggs have some Omega-3s so don't be fooled by those that say they are Omega-3 but don't have more than 200 mg/egg.

6. Smart Balance Peanut Butter or some other homemade or bottled spread for quick and easy sandwiches and snacks. Smart Balance uses flax oil to balance out the Omega-6s in peanuts to make this great peanut butter.

7. Canola oil for sauteing and frying and salad dressings -- if you like the taste of canola. (Some don't.). If you're concerned about industrially processed oils, you can always find expeller-pressed, non-GMO canola oil.  A half-and-half mixture of canola and olive oil produces a well-balanced salad dressing. Speaking of canola, we're also big fans of Hellman's Canola Mayonnaise (for those many times when we don't make our own).

And please don't believe everything you read about canola oil on the internet. Canola, or rapeseed, is a traditional oil that has been used in Northern Europe; India and China for thousands of years. In Sweden, they mix it with butter to create a healthy, low-cost spread that can be used for spreads and most cooking. Rapeseed or canola is one of the foundations of the healthy Nordic diet. 


8. Butter from grass-fed cows if you can find and afford it -- because it has a much healthier balance than butter from grain fed animals. Anchor butter from New Zealand and Kerry Butter from Ireland are two widely-available options. Cows were meant to eat grass -- not grains. They are much healthier on a grass diet and so are the people who eat their milk, cheese, butter and meat.

9. And, of course,  plenty of legumes (such as lentils; peas, and beans); quinoa; potatoes; wild rice; green leafy vegetables; and walnuts: all foods that are naturally rich in Omega-3s and have a healthy balance of Omega-3s and Omega-6s.



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