One of my goals for 2017 is to eat more omega-3s. Admittedly, this is one area of nutrition that I have been falling short. My fatty fish intake has been limited to the serendipitous salmon or trout selection at a restaurant, or the occasional piece of barramundi when I am home in Australia. I am guilty of scooting past the seafood section at Whole Foods on my way to the butcher. In 2017, I’ve decided that this has got to change.
One month in and we’ve had wild salmon once a week for the past four weeks. I’m finding new ways to make it interesting, and this is one of the recipes that’s fallen out of my experiments. We’re not quite at the recommended 2 servings of fatty fish per week, but each week I get a little more confident with my seafood skills.
Benefits of Omega-3s
Surmounting the omega-3 hill was in part spurred on by a client request to do a research round-up on the benefits of omega-3 fats. I’ve known about perks of omega-3s since my early days as a dietetics student, but there’s nothing like a literature review to give you a healthy flash of realism and, in this case, a good kick up the pants!
Omega-3s are known as the ‘anti-inflammatory fat’ because they block pro-inflammatory pathways, produce anti-inflammatory compounds, and play a role in gene expression . Research to-date shows that getting adequate omega-3 fats (3g/day, including 1g EPA + DHA) assists with:
- Reducing cholesterol and triglycerides [1,2];
- Lowering blood pressure ;
- Improving the elasticity of blood and lymph vessels [1,2];
- Alleviating joint pain and stiffness associated with arthritis [1,2];
- Protecting against cognitive decline with aging and ;
- Protecting against childhood allergies and improving infant sleep when taken during pregnancy [3, 4]
Where To Find Omega-3s
Good sources of omega-3s include: salmon, trout, sardines, oysters, bluefin tuna, herring, mussels and mackerel. Plants-based foods like chia, flaxseeds, and walnuts contain omega-3 fats, but are much lower in EPA + DHA, which are the the most anti-inflammatory forms.
Easy Salmon Tacos
Enough of the science-y stuff. Let’s talk food. These salmon tacos are delicious, and fun. Maybe it a living-in-California thing, but I am yet to find someone that doesn’t enjoy taco night!
- 10 oz wild caught salmon, cut into 2 fillets
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ⅛ tsp chili powder
- ½ lime
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro
- ½ cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp honey
- ½ lime, juiced
- 2 cup red cabbage
- ½ avocado
- 4-6 corn tortillas
- Fresh cilantro (coriander)
- 1 extra lime
- Prepare the toppings by shredding the cabbage, thinly slicing the avocado, and cutting the lime into wedges. Set the toppings aside.
- Make the crema by whisking together the lime juice, Greek yogurt and honey. Finely chop the cilantro, and add it to the yogurt mixture. Stir the ingredients together and set the crema aside.
- On to the salmon! Mix together the ground cumin, dried oregano, chili powder and garlic powder in a small bowl. Rub the spice mix into the salmon, and season generously with salt.
- Add the canola oil to a medium saucepan, and turn the stove onto medium heat. When the oil begins to bubble, add the salmon to the pan skin side down.
- Brown the salmon on both sides until just cooked through. Squeeze the lime over the salmon fillets halfway through cooking. Allow the salmon to cool slightly, and cut into 4-6 pieces.
- Warm the corn tortillas in the microwave, or the oven.
- Top each tortilla with red cabbage, a piece of salmon, a spoonful of crema, and a slice of avocado. Serve with fresh lime wedges.
Serves 2. Makes 4-6 tacos.
 Omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory processes. Calder PC. Nutrients. 2010. Mar;2(3):355-74. doi: 10.3390/nu2030355. Review.
 Essential fatty acids. Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center. Updated 2014. Accessed on December 20, 2016.
 Omega-3 long-chain PUFA intake during pregnancy and allergic disease outcomes in the offspring: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies and randomized controlled trials. Best KP, Gold M, Kennedy D, Martin J, Makrides M. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 Jan;103(1):128-43. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.111104. Review.
 Maternal consumption of a DHA-containing functional food benefits infant sleep patterning: an early neurodevelopmental measure. Judge MP, Cong X, Harel O, Courville AB, Lammi-Keefe CJ. Early Hum Dev. 2012 Jul;88(7):531-7. doi: 10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2011.12.016.