Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen Unveil Newest Benefits of Omega-3s

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Ever notice how those mermaids look so fabulous? Maybe they know something that we don't: Omega-3 fatty acids, found in certain kinds of fish, provide your body with an ocean's worth of health benefits. To help you understand the multiple benefits of these healthy fats, Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Mike Roizen explored what omega-3s can do for you in the July 11 edition of the Windsor Star. And be sure to try out the recipe at the end to enjoy these healthy fats as part of a meal.

Defining Omega-3s
Omega-3s are fats that help your body battle dangerous inflammation. As a result, they reduce your risk of irregular heart beat rhythms by 30 percent. In addition, omega-3s boost your brain power, keep your blood sugar levels regular, enhance your lung function and even power up your immune system.

Among omega-3s, DHA is king. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) helps your brain cells communicate, making it important as you age. Where to get it: Eat fish or take supplements. If you're a vegetarian or vegan, you can take oil made from algae. Also important: EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), another omega-3 which improves your mood. And rounding out the family of omega-3s is ALA (alpha linolenic acid). Nibble on walnuts or chia seeds or develop an appetite for avocado to add ALA to your diet.

Get Omega-3s Into Your Body
How can you make sure that you get enough omega-3s? Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen suggest these methods:

  • Fish: All fish are not created equal. Good sources of DHA include ocean trout and salmon. Your goal: Four three-ounce servings weekly. Try a salmon salad made with canned wild salmon or check out the freezer section for frozen salmon burgers.
  • Supplements: Look for an omega-3 supplement that provides you with 900 milligrams of algal oil DHA. Caution: Seek a pure supplement rather than one with multiple added ingredients.
  • Snacks: Walnuts are rich in ALA. Enjoy 12 walnut halves daily with fresh fruit. Another great snack: Chunks of avocado.
  • Meals: Make a salad with purslane and avocado. Try flaxseed muffins rather than bread for an accompaniment.

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Understanding Omega-3 Benefits
To motivate yourself to make room in your diet for omega-3s, Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen emphasize the following benefits:

  • Heart protection: Omega-3s reduce inflammation and protect you from stress by reducing the levels of stress hormones in your body.
  • Immunity: Battle infection with DHA, which activities your B cells.
  • Breast cancer: Walnuts and DHA both are linked to reduced rates of breast cancer.
  • Diabetes: Boost your levels of adiponectin with omega-3s. This hormone helps your body to process blood sugar.
  • Brain power: Protect your brain's ability to grown new nerve cells with omega-3s. Health fact to remember: For the average person 55 to 65 years old, taking 900 mg of DHA daily makes your brain act as if it were six years younger.
  • Eye health: By getting DHA in your diet or through supplements, you can protect your eyes from age-related macular degeneration.
  • Exercise benefits: If you suffer from exercise-triggered asthma, you may benefit with a reduction of airway inflammation. In addition, omega-3s help protect you from skin cancer when you're exercising outside.

Omega-3 Avocado Recipe
Not sure how to get omega-3s into your diet? Try this recipe for Avocado and Black Bean Tortas from Dr. Oz's Web site;

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup thinly shredded green cabbage
  • 1 large ripe tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 2 large radishes, thinly sliced
  • Red onion, a few thinly sliced pieces
  • 1 can (15-oz) refried black beans, warmed or at room temp
  • 1 or 2 avocados, pitted, peeled and sliced
  • sriracha cashew cream sauce from this recipe, as spread
  • 3 crusty or soft sandwich rolls, split
  • 1-2 limes
  • Hot pepper sauce, as garnish, optional

Directions:
Slice the bread and remove some of the soft bread from the inside of the top slice, making a slightly hollow area for the sandwich filling (this is optional depending on what your rolls are like).

Spread a good amount of the refried black beans over the bottom half of each roll. Top with avocado, radishes, red onion and cabbage. Spread your condiment of choice on the top portion. Squeeze some lime over the bottom portion and cover with the top half of the rolls. Serve immediately, or wrap and pack to go (if you can get out of the door without eating them). Makes three sandwiches.

Those who are eating gluten free can turn this recipe into tacos using corn tortillas

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