Friday, March 30, 2007

How to eat your fish oil!

Essential fatty acids are probably my favorite supplement to reccomend ( next to magnesium) and usually tell people to get some fish or cod liver oil.
The omega 3 fatty acids ( DHA and EPA) are extremely important to numerous functions in the body, including brain function, mood, regulation of inflammation, skin moisture, and integrity of the cell membrane in every cell of our bodies. There's numerous reasons for almost all of us to get more Essential Fatty Acid Omega 3 from fish, but the biggest hurdle sometimes is actually getting that fat down. Nowadays you can get your oil in capsules or flavored with fruit oils, and some brands are better than others.
The top brands, in my experience, and those of my clients and other herbalists are:

Barleans Cod Liver Oil -lemonade flavor

Karlson's Lemon flavored Cod Liver Oil

Nordic Naturals -lemon, orange, peach or strawberry
( these all come in capsule form as well)

Here are some ways to take your daily dose(1 tbsp) of fish or cod liver oil:

1. Take 6 capsules a day, with food. Taking them with food, and digesting well will prevent burp ups. Fish oil burps are NO fun! Capsules don't hold very much oil, and you need to take a lot of them to equal the content of 1 tbsp of liquid oil.

2. By the spoonful. Yup, there are some weird folks (me, for example) who actually LIKE to take a spoonful of fish oil by mouth with breakfast. The new flavored oils are really not that bad, but if you can't stand the idea of swallowing a spoonful of oil, read on.

3. Mix orange flavored oil in 8-12 oz vanilla flavored rice, soy or almond milk. Mix well, I suggest shaking in a jar with a tight lid. It sounds weird, but tastes like an orange creamsicle!

4. Mix into your smoothie. Add yogurt, fruit, bananas, protein, nut butter etc. This is an easy way to mask the flavor and texture.

5. Make a fruit bowl in the morning and drizzle the oil in. My favorite recipie is:

1 cup berries (blueberries or blackberries are my favorites, I use frozen ones or in season fresh)
1 tbsp cod liver or fish oil
1 tbsp molasses
3 tbsp ground seasame and flax seeds

This is wonderfully mineral rich, full of fiber, bioflavanoids, vitamins and essential fatty acids, from both fish and flax! You can adjust the recipie to taste, adding coconut milk or yougurt, or granola.

6. Drizzle over your salad or cooked veggies. This works well with lemon or plain oils. Mix in some vinegar, lemon juice or garlic as well. This tastes good, but is prone to a bit of waste, as a little bit of oil always remains on the plate. Unless you scoop it up with your spoon and take it.

7. If you take your lunch, and make egg or tuna salad, mix your oil in to the mayonnaise dressing.

8. Eat at least 3 servings of EFA rich fish per week, (ideally once a day, here are some ideas). If you really can't do the oil, then eat lots of fish. Have salmon for breakfast a couple of times a week, and once for dinner, or on top of a greens salad at lunch. Have a serving of sushi made with salmon, or eat lox at breakfast or lunch for a snack, or make salmon salad sandwhiches (akin to tuna, wild salmon in a can is widely available these days.)
Alaskan Wild Salmon is my fish of choice, as it is wild, and has the right ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 oils in it (farmed fish does not. It is the equivelant of feed lot beef) and is reasonably free from heavy metals and is a sustainable fishery. There are lots of other fish that you can choose from, just do your research on the sustainablity of the catch, and the mercury levels. Remember that molecularlly distilled fish oils are free from mercury and PCB's. They do LOTS of testing on the oils.

9. This could fall under # 7 as well, but eat a can sardines in place of fish oils. One of my favorite snacks while camping is a can of sardines in oil on Rye Krisp crackers. Yummy. Learning how to eat sardines daily is a whole other ballgame, but if YOU like sardines, go ahead and eat them!

Remember not to cook with fish oil and it can easy go rancid and oxidize. If you have other clever ways of disguising fish oil I'd love to hear them!


jim mcdonald said...

nordic naturals peach flavored oil is, I think, bt far among the most palatable; quite fine from the spoon, even my 3 year old thinks so.

the carlsen's lemon... real good quality, but just doesn't sit as well as the peach.

earthkitten said...

Mmmmmm....I share your love of 'camp-food' sardines on toast/crackers. I don't know why, but it strikes me as a very nordic, clean, healthy way to get fish oils, and have a satisfying lunch at the same time. But I understand lots of people don't dig sardines....oh well, more for you and I, huh? I enjoy your blog immensely, thanks!

healthy-oil-guy said...

I find the liquid fish oils give more omega 3 fatty acids per serving, compared to soft gels. One teaspoon of liquid fish oil can give over 1000 mg. of omega 3 fatty acids, where as a 1000 mg. soft gel may give only 300 - 400 mg. of omega 3's, depending on the type of fish. When buying fish oils I always like the flavored liquid oils. My son really likes the orange flavored fish oils.

"The mother of us all, the oldest of us all, Hard, splendid as rock, Let the beauty you love, be what you do. There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth"~ Rumi ~