Delicious Canned Wild Salmon Recipes
Honey-Soy Broiled Salmon
Pistachio-Crusted Tuna Steaks
Grandma Ginger's Fish Casserole
Healthy Salmon Recipes and Cooking Tips
Healthy Fish Recipes and Tips
Healthy Nut Recipes
Healthy Flax Recipes and Tips
Plant foods like flaxseed, soybeans, canola and walnuts are good sources of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), another omega-3 with its own heart benefits. A small amount of ALA is also converted to EPA and DHA in the body, “but at a very slow rate,” says William Connor, M.D., a longtime friend of mine and a professor at Oregon Health & Science University who has studied fish and fish oils for more than 30 years. If it’s heart-health effects you’re after, he emphasizes, “what you want are EPA and DHA, from fish or fish-oil supplements.”
But omega-3s are usually lacking in our diets, vastly outnumbered by omega-6 fatty acids common to processed foods made with vegetable oils including safflower and cottonseed. Omega-6s tend to promote inflammation, while omega-3s reduce it. Many experts believe our American diets tilt too much toward omega-6s, and that the best way to restore balance is to boost our intake of omega-3s from any source.
So I’m doing my darnedest to eat more omega-3s. I aim to serve a fatty fish like salmon twice a week, and consider the seafood dishes first in restaurants. I sprinkle walnuts on my salads and make dressings with canola oil.
As ever, moderation is key. Very high intakes of fish-based omega-3s (over 3,000 mg/day) can raise the risk of excessive bleeding or even hemorrhagic stroke. And, like any fat source, omega-3s are still calorie-rich. So focus on substituting (not adding) omega-3s for other fats you eat. After all, the most important thing you can do for your heart is to be at a healthy weight. Without that, keeping your heart healthy is just a fishing expedition.
—Rachel Johnson, EatingWell’s senior nutrition advisor, is dean of the University of Vermont College of Agriculture & Life Sciences.