Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wellness Wednesday/"Delia's Dose"

This week I am inspired by the fact that it’s FISH FRY season!! (yes, even I love a good Knights of Columbus or VFW Hall and some fried fish and cold beer! Don’t ask me how guilty I feel the next day though.)
It’s also still February which is American Heart Month.  Did you know that about 600,000 people die each year in the US from heart disease, that’s 1 out of every 4 deaths. Yikes!

So let’s talk about heart health and fish. Fish is rich in something called Omega- 3 Fatty Acids. And guess what…Omega-3 helps lower the risk of heart disease! Now, obviously the fried fish at the VFW hall on Friday night or those frozen fish sticks smothered in tartar sauce(yes I grew up on those too) isn’t the fish I am talking about. Fried anything=BAD. The best ways to prepare fish are baking, grilling, poaching, or steaming.

Our bodies can’t make Omega-3’s, so we must get them from foods or supplements. There are 3 different types of Omega-3 fatty acids: ALA, DHA, and EPA. ALA can be found in oils like olive, canola and flaxseed. Walnuts, kale, arugula, collard greens, and free range eggs are also an excellent source of ALA Omega-3. DHA and EPA are only found in fish. Those two Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation in the blood vessels and joints. At higher doses they can lower the risk for abnormal heart rhythm and get rid of unhealthy fats called triglycerides. They can also slow the build- up of plaque inside our blood vessels and lower blood pressure.  Pretty amazing stuff!  There are other studies that say Omega-3 helps protect against dementia, reduces a child’s risk of developing asthma, helps children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and aids in the development of brain tissue and better eyesight in babies who’s mothers have healthy levels of Omega-3 during pregnancy.

How much fish should we eat to get the full benefit of these beautiful Omega-3’s?? The American Heart Association recommends at least 2 servings a week. A serving is 3.5 ounces of cooked fish or ¾ cup of flaked fish. Top choices are salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines, anchovies, and tuna. Now, maybe you’ve heard, some fish is higher in Mercury than others and pregnant women, nursing mothers and young children should limit their fish intake. For example, limit albacore tuna to 6 ounces a week and avoid shark, swordfish, marlin, ray, orange roughy, king mackerel and tilefish. Bottom feeder fish, such as catfish, may ingest more pollutants, so stay away from those too!  Mercury can affect the nervous system, causing numbness or tingling in the fingers, lips and toes. It can also cause developmental delays in young children.

Here is one of my favorite easy recipes for a healthy fish dinner. I can make these ahead of time one night or the next morning and throw them in the oven when I get home from work!
SALMON BAKED IN A FOIL POUCH WITH GREEN BEANS AND PESTO(or as my 3 yr old calls them…”Dinner like a present! We get to open them!”)
Serves 4
4 handfuls of green beans(I use frozen in the winter time)
2 lemons
4  3-5 ounce salmon fillets
4 heaping tablespoons of green pesto(this can be pricey, but I have found it in large quantity for a great price at Costco and use it for other recipes too)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400
Get yourself 4 pieces of aluminum foil, about 24-26 inches long and fold it in half. Lay those out on the counter.
Drizzle a little bit of olive oil onto the middle of the foil
Put a handful of green beans on top of the olive oil
Lay that beautiful piece of salmon on top of the green beans
Spoon over a generous tablespoon of pesto
Drizzle with a bit more olive oil
Squeeze the juice of one lemon half all over
Season with salt and pepper

Repeat these steps for each piece of foil…I set up an assembly line and let my daughter be in charge of the olive oil drizzle and lemon squeezing!
Pull the edges of the foil up and scrunch them up to seal the package…or present.
Put the packets on a baking sheet and cook for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and let it stand for a few minutes
Be careful when opening the packet, it will be steamy! We eat right out of the packet.

This is a complete meal for us, but you could serve some rice or quinoa on the side if you wanted. MMMMM DELICIOUS!

Have a Healthy Week!

DISCLAIMER: Delia is not a Doctor, Nutritionist, or Registered Dietitian. She is simply a person dedicated to eating healthy foods and living a healthy lifestyle. She loves to help and inspire others to do the same!

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