6 meals rich in omega-3s
Omega-3 fatty acids have gotten a lot of press in recent years, and for good reason. These long-chain polyunsaturated fats have been linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Some research suggests that they may also help relieve rheumatoid arthritis and reduce the risk of macular degeneration, among other possible benefits. The two most important omega-3s are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), found primarily in fatty fish. The six recipes here are as rich in flavor as they are in omega-3s, so your taste buds and heart will be equally pleased.
Thai Style Salmon
An herbal, citrusy vegetable-based sauce balances out the richness of the salmon in this Asian-inspired recipe. To make sure your salmon is as fresh as it can be, buy it the day you want to serve it, and look for salmon that is firm enough that it springs back when you touch the flesh. It should be translucent and moist but have no liquid pooling around it, and the smell should be sweet, not fishy. Get the recipe.
Sesame-Crusted Tuna Steaks
Though not as packed with omega-3 fatty acids as salmon, tuna is still a very good source, and it pairs nicely with sesame seeds. Be careful not to overcook the tuna—it needs only about 4 to 6 minutes under the broiler, plus one more minute to brown the sesame seeds. Get the recipe.
Herbed Salmon Burgers
This recipe uses canned sockeye salmon, one of the very best sources of omega-3s, with up to 1,500 milligrams per 3-ounce cooked portion. (The American Heart Association has advised people who have heart disease to aim for 1,000 milligrams a day of omega-3s, from fish and supplements combined. Everyone else can generally get enough from two servings per week of fatty fish.) Canned salmon is also full of calcium and vitamin D, since the bones become softened and edible during processing. Get the recipe.
Mackerel is the common name for members of the family Scombridae, which includes many species of open-sea fishes, including the bonito and tuna. Mackerel is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, on par with most varieties of salmon. More good news: The Seafood Watch Program from the nonprofit Monterey Bay Aquarium, which rates seafood according to its environmental and health impacts, includes Atlantic Mackerel on its “Super Green List”— which means it meets guidelines for being ocean-friendly, high in omega-3s, and low in contaminants. Get the recipe.
When shopping for live oysters, make sure they smell briny-fresh and look bright and clean. The shells should be tightly closed so that you can’t pull them apart, or should close tightly when tapped. Never buy oysters with open shells. When purchasing freshly shucked oysters, look for the processor’s permit number on the sealed container and check the “sell by” date. Get the recipe.
Shallot, Mustard, and Flaxseed Oil Dressing
Flaxseed oil has a deep, nutty flavor and is rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fat found in some plant foods. The body converts ALA to DHA and EPA, the longer-chain omega-3s associated with many health benefits, but to a limited extent. Still, some studies suggest that ALA may help reduce the risk of heart disease and have other benefits of its own. Use this dressing for any occasion that calls for a vinaigrette. Get the recipe.