Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Salmon and Omega-3's

Getting enough omega-3 fatty acids is essential if you are fighting inflammation.

Here's how it works. Our bodies need both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.  And in fact, we do actually need to have more omega-6s than omega-3s, by about 4:1.  Somewhere between 1:1 and 4:1 is the balanced ratio that keeps inflammation at bay.  However, our modern diets deliver proportionally way more omega-6s than that.  It's estimated that the average American gets omega-6s at about 20:1 to omega-3s.  

That's because omega-6's are in almost all processed and packaged foods.  Soy and corn oils are both high in omega-6 fatty acids and these two oils pervade our modern food supply. 

When the crucial balance between omega-3s and 6s goes out of whack like this, inflammation is the result.  And inflammation is the cause of most modern diseases (see blue box below).  For more on information, go to:
What is this "inflammation" we keep talking about?  
So how do we get back in balance?  Well, we do it three ways.  The first important step is to stop consuming the omega-6s in processed food.  We need to focus our eating on real food.  Yes, real food--the stuff that comes from farms, not the stuff that comes from a manufacturing facility. 

The second is that we need to avoid the oils that are high in omega-6s.  These are corn, soy, safflower, sunflower, cottonseed and mixed vegetable oils.  When cooking with heat, we can replace these dangerous oils with healthy or neutral oils like coconut, olive and butter from pasture-raised cows.  Also, flax, sesame and walnut can be added to foods that are not cooked (such as in salad dressings) or drizzled over cooked foods after the heating has occurred.  

Thirdly, we can eat foods high in omega-3s.  One such food is wild salmon.  Wild is the operative word here.   Only wild salmon is high in omega-3s.  Although farm-raised salmon does have some omega-3s, it is also high in omega-6s.  Not good.  This puts that crucial ratio out of whack again, causing inflammation.

So get the wild and nothing but the wild.  

Here's a nice recipe for wild salmon that makes up quickly and tastes great:

Tamarind Salmon

4 salmon servings
2 T coconut oil
1 t tamarind paste
2 T water
1 T fish sauce
2 t Braggs Liquid Aminos
2 t grated fresh ginger
1 t dark sesame oil
3 T finely chopped cilantro

In a medium frying pan, melt and heat the coconut oil over medium high heat.  When the oil is hot, put the salmon in the pan to cook.  Grate in the fresh ginger.  Mix together the tamarind, water, fish sauce, and liquid aminos and pour into the pan.  When salmon is cooked half through, flip to the other side.  Be careful not to overcook or the salmon will dry out.  Salmon tastes best when it is just barely cooked and all meat in the center has lightened just slightly to a softer pink color. Watch it closely and catch it at the right moment of doneness.  To serve, drizzle with sesame oil and top with chopped cilantro.

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