Smorgasbord Health Column – Food Therapy – Salmon – Omega 3 on a Plate


As a follow on from the recent series on the Weekly Grocery Shopping List of foods that contain the nutrients the body needs that contain the nutrients the body needs I am going to repeat my series from 2017 on the health benefits of some of our most common foods.

Food therapy is a broad term for the benefits to the body of a healthy, varied and nutritional diet of fresh foods.

Most of us walk through the fresh produce departments of our supermarkets without really paying much attention to the individual fruits and vegetables. This is a great pity because the vast majority of these foods have been cultivated for thousands of years, not only for their nutritional value but also for their medicinal properties. If you eat a healthy diet you are effectively practicing preventative medicine. A robust immune system, not only attacks external opportunistic pathogens, but also works to prevent rogue cells in the body from developing into serious disease.

NOTE – If you are on any prescribed medication do not take yourself off it without consultation with your doctor. If you follow a healthy eating programme and lose weight and are exercising you may not need the same dose and with your doctor’s agreement you may be able to reduce or come off the medication all together.

Much of the salmon available today comes from fisheries and conditions and feed of these farmed fish have improved through regulation in recent years. However, I am not convinced by the publicity and prefer to eat fish that has been caught in the ocean and to me there is definitely a difference in the taste of this salmon. You can buy ocean caught fish frozen or fresh depending on where you live and for me the freshest is fish that has been caught and frozen whilst the trawlers are still at sea.

There is always some concern about the levels of mercury in fish and studies indicate that ocean caught salmon from the northern seas and rivers have levels that are considered to be low and safe for more regular consumption.

Salmon has been on my ‘must eat’ list for a long time and in this day and age, when obesity and heart disease are becoming the top causes of premature death, then including it in your diet regularly is very important.

There are a number of health issues apart from heart function that eating salmon benefits including weight loss, bone health, a healthy immune system and brain health. The nutrients in this important source of protein are also helpful in preventing cancer and diabetes.

salmonI will begin with Omega 3, which is abundant in fatty fish such as Salmon.

Omega-3 (Linolenic Acid) is the principal Omega-3 fatty acid and is used in the formation of cell walls, improving circulation and oxygen. It is important that your overall cholesterol is kept to a normal level but it is equally important to ensure that the balance between the LDL (lousy cholesterol) and the HDL (healthy cholesterol) is maintained with a lower LDL to HDL ratio.

Omega 3 appears to maintain that correct balance. LDL (low density lipoprotein) has smaller particles than the higher density lipoprotein and when oxidised becomes dangerous. Because it is smaller it is able to clump and attach to the walls of the arteries and cause a dangerous narrowing. Pieces can also break off and travel in the bloodstream to major organs like the brain and the heart. An added bonus in eating salmon muscle is that it contains peptides that may also lower blood pressure.

One trial in New Zealand measured adults with a high cholesterol level over a 4-week period. They consumed 3g of salmon oil per day and after the 4 weeks they showed an increase of HDL and a decrease in LDL levels. Lowering both cholesterol and blood pressure levels certainly contributes to a healthy heart.

Omega 3 is linked to brain health in a number of ways. The brain contains a large amount of fat especially Omega 3 fatty acids in particular DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). In studies DHA levels determined levels of brain activity and cognitive function and is thought to be essential for the growth and functional development of the brain in babies. This ability is not limited to young humans as it is vital that this brain activity and function is maintained into old age. Including Omega 3 fatty acids in our diet therefore may well decrease our risk of developing degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Carrying additional weight can certainly contribute to strain on the heart muscle and the salmon has a rather unusual property that whilst yet unproven may help in weight loss.

There is a protein that is released when we begin to eat called amylin. This protein travels to the brain where it is measured and the brain then decides when we have eaten sufficient food and should stop eating. Unfortunately we have got very adept at overriding this message from the brain and consequently we tend to eat more than we actually need leading to weight gain.

The salmon produces a hormone called calcitonin, which has the same effect on animals as amylin does in humans. There is no conclusive proof but it is felt that this hormone when eaten might result in us consuming less food.

The other possible weight loss property of salmon is Chondroiton sulphate. Chondroiton is often used in conjunction with Glucosamine as a joint repair preparation but in this case the Chondroiton which is found in the nose of the salmon appears to have fat blocking capabilities. It appears to work in two ways by reducing the amount of fat absorbed into the intestines and then preventing any fat that has been absorbed from being stored in the cells. This will require a great deal more research but could be an interesting property in the fight against obesity.

As we get older the risk of bone fractures increases with many women particularly suffering from hip joint disease after menopause. Omega 3 may be instrumental in decreasing bone loss and therefore osteoporosis.

Our immune system is working ceaselessly against the constant onslaught of bacteria and viruses and on the whole if we have a healthy diet containing plenty of antioxidant rich foods our defence system keeps us safe. However, from time to time something slips through and then we need to know that all the complex mechanisms of the immune system are functioning perfectly.

Salmon is high in selenium,which is avery important trace mineral that activates an antioxidant enzyme called glutathione peroxidase, which may help protect the body from cancer. It is vital for immune system function and may help prevent prostate cancerin particular.

Overall, the salmon contains many nutrients in the flesh and also in parts of the fish such as bone that is often included in canned fish. It is an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, iron, iodine, manganese, copper, phosphorus and zinc, some of which are of particular benefit for the cardiovascular system and the heart.

Apart from its role in the formation of teeth and bones, calcium is also required for blood clotting, transmission of signals in nerve cells and muscle contractions. There is some indication that higher calcium intake protects against cardiovascular disease particularly in women.

The main function of iron is in haemoglobin, which is the oxygen-carrying component of blood. When someone is iron deficient, they suffer extreme fatigue because they are being starved of oxygen and the major organs of the body such as the heart become deprived of this life essential element.

Salmon is very versatile and provided it is from a healthy source and not from poorly maintained fish farms it can be eaten two to three times a week served hot or cold with plenty of fresh vegetables and salads. It is particularly delicious served chilled with a spinach salad and new potatoes.

You can also eat canned ocean caught salmon and this is particular good if you eat the soften bones that tend to come with it – if you find this unappealing simply mash the salmon and bone together with a fork and use on salads.

For some delicious recipes that will encourage you to include more salmon in your diet.. please head over to an earlier post where Carol Taylor shares some of her favourite dishes: Cook from Scratch – Salmon

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2020

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-two years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2020

Thank you for dropping in today and your feedback and questions are very welcome.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Health Column – Cook from Scratch with Carol Taylor – Salmon – Omega 3 on a Plate


This is an edited post from the Cook from Scratch series of 2018 as a complement to the Food Therapy Salmon 2020 .. Carol Taylor shares some delicious recipes to encourage you to include salmon on a regular basis in your diet.

Fish one of my favourite foods and cooked with fish sauce, chilli, lime and coriander it’s to die for….. so yum. My favourite is Loch Fyne Salmon Trout which I can get it here but when I do it is a welcome treat.…Salmon is so good for you in many ways and Sally explains that very well so between the two of us Sally will give you the astounding health benefits of Salmon and I will provide some easy to follow healthy recipes all cooked from scratch.
Firstly we have Salmon done the Thai way very tasty, very easy and wherever you are you should be able to easily obtain all the ingredients.

Ingredients:
180gm Salmon Trout or Salmon fillet.

For the topping:

  • 1 spring Onion finely chopped.
  • 2/3 stems Coriander chopped finely…i use stem as well.
  • 1 red bird’s eye chilli finely chopped.
  • 1 tbsp Fish Sauce.
  • A cheek of lime.

To prepare

  1. Put fish on foil and spoon topping on. I reserve some of topping to add when serving. Seal foil and put in oven on 180 for 10/15 mins until cooked.
  2. This of course depends on thickness of fish.
  3. When cooked remove from oven and serve with rice.

Enjoy!

Another favourite is Salmon with Linguine.

Ingredients

  • 180gm Salmon
  • 2tbsp Olive oil
  • 1/4-1/1/2 tsp of red chilli flakes. or 1 fresh chilli finely chopped. (you can omit this step)
  • 2/3 large cloves of garlic, crushed.
  • 2 small shallots finely chopped.
  • The zest of 1 lime or you can use lemon.
  • 3/4 tomatoes chopped.
  • Chopped parsley.
  • Fresh parmesan as desired.
  • 400gm of Linguine or pasta of your choice.

To Prepare

  1. I lightly steam my salmon and set aside to cool.
  2. At the same time cook your pasta in boiling salted water as per the packet instructions.
  3. Heat your oil in a pan, add the garlic and the shallots and chilli if you are using cook for 2-3 minutes being careful not to burn the garlic.
  4. I often just add a small piece of butter to this…it stops the olive oil burning.
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for two minutes then add the flaked salmon, the lime zest and parsley and cook for a further 2/3 minutes.
  6. Drain the pasta and reserve 70 ml of the cooking water.
  7. Add pasta to the salmon mix and gently combine.
  8. Season and add some freshly grated parmesan cheese…this is where I can get a bit over zealous as we love parmesan, also adjust seasoning if required.
  9. Stir in all or some of the reserved pasta liquid and sprinkle with parsley to serve…with a lovely green salad or some lightly steamed vegetables and of course a glass of your favourite vino.

Enjoy!

Snacking

Sometimes you just want a little snack and this one is quick and easy to do…Most of us have a packet of rice cakes in the cupboard don’t we?…Well lets jazz it up a little and take it from the boring to the sublime.

Just mash an avocado coarsely add some black pepper, lemon juice and a little mint if liked or maybe a little crumbled feta.

Spread on the rice cakes and top with a little smoked salmon…divine.

Having a BBQ?

Then skewer the salmon with some small onions and lemon slices if doing chunks or cut salmon length ways and thread on to the skewer and then brush them with this lovely dip when you turn them on the BBQ or grill.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 2 smashed garlic cloves
  • ½ tbsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Large pinch of black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil preferably light as extra virgin tends to burn.
  • 2 tbsp lemon or lime juice

Salmon is very versatile and goes with lots of combinations of sauces with oil, white sauces or burnt butter sauce there are many ways you can dress up that lovely salmon

I hope you enjoyed this selection of recipes and reading about the health benefits of the Salmon.

I will be sharing more Cook from Scratch in coming weeks

About Carol Taylor

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology:  Amazon US

Connect to Carol

Blog: Carol Cooks 2
Twitter: @CarolCooksTwo
Facebook: Carol Taylor

 

Smorgasbord Health Column – The Good Fats – Essential Fatty Acids and how to get the right balance Sally Cronin


 

On Tuesday I looked at the bad fats that we can allow to take over our diet. Whilst we should be able to enjoy prepared foods from time to time.. if we make them a daily part of our food intake, we are in danger of depriving the body of essential nutrients. More importantly we are also putting our bodies at risk of toxicity.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/27/smorgasbord-health-column-hydrogenated-fats-in-our-foods-and-how-to-avoid-them-sally-cronin/

In recent years over 2,000 scientific studies have identified that there is a wide range of health problems associated with Omega-3 deficiencies. Unfortunately our modern diet is almost devoid of this essential fatty acid and in fact it is believed that around 60% of us are deficient in Omega-3. What is far more concerning is that a quarter of us may be so deficient that current test methods can detect none in our blood. Omega-3 is one of the most important nutrients for our health, and a lack of it in our system holds far more risk than any vitamin or mineral deficiency.

Our ancient ancestors were opportunistic hunter/gatherers and their diet was rich in Omega-3. It is estimated that through the seasons they had around 125 foods that they would consume. Today in the poorest countries of the world, some subsist on one or two staple foods. In our own ‘civilised’ cultures we rarely eat more than 25.

Before the inclusion of wild grains in the diet, ancient humans would have eaten meat, seeds, nuts and green leafy vegetables. Whilst I believe that we should also include fish and wholegrains, this is a good basis of a healthy diet.

The ramifications of not obtaining sufficient Omega-3 is long-term and apart from overall health, we are more at risk of heart disease, strokes, cancers, depression, dementia including Alzheimer’s disease. Therapeutically taking additional Omega-3 in the form of supplements may alleviate some conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes. This should only be done however after consulting a doctor or qualified nutritional therapist or other health advisor.

If you have found it difficult to lose weight there might also be a link to a deficiency in Omega-3 as it can result in the inefficient digestion of the food you do eat, even if it is classified as healthy.

Let’s look at Essential Fatty Acids in more detail.

Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are necessary fats that humans cannot synthesise and must be obtained through diet. There are two families of EFAs Omega-3 and Omega-6. Omega-9 is necessary but non-essential as the body can make it if the other two fatty acids are present.

EFAs are essential because they support our cardiovascular, reproductive, immune and nervous systems. We need these fats to manufacture and repair cells, maintain hormone levels and expel waste from the body. They are part of the process that regulates blood pressure, blood clotting, fertility and conception – and they also help regulate inflammation and stimulate the body to fight infection.

Omega-3 (Linolenic Acid) is the principal Omega-3 fatty acid and is used in the formation of cell walls, improving circulation and oxygen delivery. A deficiency can lead to decreased immune system function; elevated levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) high blood pressure and irregular heart beat. It is also anti-inflammatory and helps prevent heart disease.

It is found in flaxseed, walnuts, pumpkinseeds, avocados, spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables, sardines, tuna and salmon.

Omega-6 (Linoleic Acid) is the primary Omega-6 fatty acid. Omega-6 can improve rheumatoid arthritis, lower blood cholesterol, PMS, skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis.

salmonFound in flaxseeds, pumpkinseeds, olive oil, evening primrose oil, chicken and poultry, salmon.

There is growing evidence that the non-essential Oleic acid, Omega 9, may help to lower cholesterol by decreasing the unhealthy cholesterol, LDL (low-density lipoprotein), while at the same time raising the level of healthy cholesterol, HDL (high density lipoprotein).
Oleic acid is also emerging as a regulator of blood-sugar levels and as a possible protection against breast and prostate cancer.

avocadoSo, including half an avocado in your diet every day may well protect you from the harmful long-term affects of a number of diseases. Found in olive oil, olives, avocados, almonds, and walnuts.

A closer look at why EFAs are so essential.

First and foremost EFAs provide us with energy but unlike saturated fats their effect is beneficial. The body cannot manufacture them and that is why it is ESSENTIAL to include them on a daily basis in your diet.

Both of the important EFA families – omega-6 and omega-3 – are components of nerve cells and cellular membranes. They are converted by the body into hormone like messengers such as prostaglandins – which are needed on a second-by-second basis by most tissue activities in the body.

A summary of the functions in the body that EFAs are involved in:

  • Regulating pressure in the eye, joints, and blood vessels.
  • Dilating or constricting blood vessels
  • Directing endocrine hormones to specific cells
  • Regulating smooth muscle reflexes
  • Being the main constituent of cell membranes
  • Regulating the rate of cell division
  • Regulating the inflow and outflow of substances to and from cells
  • Transporting oxygen from red blood cells to the tissues
  • Maintaining proper kidney function and fluid balance
  • Keeping saturated fats mobile in the blood stream
  • Preventing blood cells from clumping together (blood clots that can be a cause of heart attack and stroke)
  • Minimising the release of inflammatory substances from cells that may trigger allergic conditions
  • Regulating nerve transmission and communication
  • If the diet is deficient in either omega-6 or omega-3 long-term degenerative illnesses can result such as arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease.

A bit about my nutritional background.

A little about me from a nutritional perspective. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago. I qualified as a nutritional therapist and practiced in Ireland and the UK as well as being a consultant for radio. My first centre was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Here are my health books including a men’s health manual and my anti-aging book.

All available in Ebook fromhttp://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

And Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

 

Thank you for dropping in and if you have any questions fire away.. If you would like to as a private question then my email is sally.cronin@moyhill.com. I am no longer in practice and only too pleased to help in any way I can. thanks Sally