Our bodies can make most of the fat types we need. However, this does not apply for Omega-3 fats, which are polyunsaturated fats. Omega 3 fats are essential fatty acids, thus they are needed by our bodies to stay healthy, and the only way to get them is by consuming them.
Foods high in Omega-3 fats include fish, vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds. There are many health benefits from increasing Omega-3 in our diet. They may:
- Lower triglycerides in the blood (triglycerides increase risk of heart disease)
- Reduce the risk of developing an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
- Lower your blood pressure
- Reduce inflammation in your body
- Increase HDL levels (aka “good” cholesterol)
- Slow rate of plaque buildup in your arteries
- Reduce joint tenderness and stiffness associated with rheumatoid arthritis
- Improve brain health and function (may reduce risk of dementia)
There are many ways to include Omega-3 fats in your diet. The American Heart Association recommends eating two servings (or 3 ½ oz.) of fatty fish per week. This could include salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines, and albacore tuna.
Fatty fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, but do not fret if you’re not a fan of seafood. Omega-3 fats can also be found in plenty of plant-based foods and oils, such as flaxseed, flaxseed oil, walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, tofu, avocado, brussels sprouts, and seaweed.
Remember the quality of your foods are important for your health. And since you’re eating less after bariatric surgery, it’s even more important to be mindful of the consumption of nutrient rich, whole foods.
Try these recipes which are high in Omega-3 fats:
- 2 avocados - peeled, pitted and diced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 3 tablespoons Greek-style yogurt
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 pounds salmon steaks
- 2 teaspoons dried dill weed
- 2 teaspoons lemon pepper
- salt to taste
- Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil grate.
- In a medium bowl, mash together avocados, garlic, yogurt, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
- Rub salmon with dill, lemon pepper, and salt. Place on the prepared grill, and cook 15 minutes, turning once, until easily flaked with a fork. Serve with the avocado mixture.
You may also cook this on your stove. Preheat pan to medium high, lightly oil pan, and proceed with same directions as above or until fish is cooked well.
Vanilla Chia Pudding
Makes: 8 servings
- ½ c chia seeds
- 1 vanilla bean
- 4 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup walnuts
- 4 cups filtered water or skim/1% milk
- Pinch of sea salt
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 c mixed raspberries and blueberries
- ¼ -½ c sugar free syrup
- Place chia seeds and vanilla pod in a medium mixing bowl, and set aside
- Add extract, walnuts, water/milk, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla seeds to blender. Blend for ~2 min, and pour into bowl with chia seeds and vanilla pod; whisk well. Let mixture stand for 10-15 minutes, whisking every few minutes to prevent chia seeds from clumping (pudding will thicken quickly). Refrigerate until cold, about 3 hours – or over night.
- Discard vanilla pod. Whisk pudding and divide among 8 bowls. Top each with berries and drizzle with sugar free syrup. You may also add vanilla or unflavored protein powder for extra protein.