OMG OMEGA 3!
Ichthyophobia is the fear of fish in case you weren’t aware. (As distint from ichthyphobia which is the fear of stepping on fish… Jesus, get it right people!) As a young child I suffered from severe forms of both. I hold my auntie Jo 100% responsible. (Get well soon Jo! All has since been forgiven.) After driving from Belmullet to visit, she would announce her presence by running after us with fresh salmon: #FishFlops anyone? I still shudder when I think of their HUGE eyes clocking poor little me from every angle. I pegged it upstairs lickety-split every time. (God be with the days I could sprint up the stairs. God be with the days I could sprint on the flat too let’s face it.)
Anyway, I occasionally ate the breadcrumbs around the odd fish finger or piece of Donegal catch when any adult I was afraid of deigned to feed them to me but apart from that I generally thrived on a fish-free diet.
I like to think I started my own tinpot form of systematic desensitisation therapy in the middle of primary school when I arrived home from the dizzying heights of winning two goldfish in a raffle at the Roscommon Agricultural Show. Precocious, I know. Watching Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm the Goldfish while away their Groundhog Days in their pathetically tiny plastic aquarium with white threads dangling from their posteriors (I now realise they were permanently constipated, the poor darlings: #MyBad) proved quite the pastime. But eating fish was still a no-no.
Repeated attempts to lure me with the beautiful pink colour of a salmon darne fell on deaf ears. (FYI I continued to satisfy my incessant pink food requirements with the strawberry-third of tubs of HB Neapolitan ice-cream and Rivington (pink wafer) biscuits: #DidNotComeDownInTheLastShower.)
Then, in my mid-teens when I embarked on the obligatory reading of ‘women’s magazines’ and began glean life hacks such as eating omega-3-rich foods for glowing skin and what not, I decided to give salmon and its close cousins a second crack of the whip. Victoria Beckham reports that she eats salmon every day, par exemple.
Despite waxing and waning evidence on the subject, I remain convinced that omega-3 of all nutrients is the most striking where positive impact on fertility as well as cardiovascular and overall health is concerned.
Fish oil is an ocean teeming with omega-3 fatty acids which help restore your skin’s bubble wrap of fats. These high-achieving fatty acids also exert an anti-inflammatory effect on your body which has a soothing effect on chronic dermatological conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis. I prefer to consume fish oil au naturel by enjoying cold-water fish rich in these fatty acids, namely, wild salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring. I’d be lying if I claimed to eat a lot of the latter three but I do eat salmon every couple of days, #MorePowerToMe.
If omega-3 rich fish doesn’t float your palate, you still have no excuse to skimp on omega-3 rich foods because there are several plant-based alternatives that confer similar health benefits.
You see, there are three distinct types of Omega-3 fatty acids: DHA and EPA (docosahexaenoic and eicosapentaenoic acids, respectively) and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). The first two are mainly found in meat and fish, whereas ALA is mostly found in plants (think leafy greens, cabbage, squash and seeds). Your body can convert a small amount of ALA to DHA and EPA. Research published in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) in 2016 showed that eating 2gr. of ALA every day granted similar health benefits to consuming DHA and EPA so don’t forget the following ALA-rich foods when penning your next shopping list: walnuts, hemp oil, chia seeds, flaxseed and edamame.
Alternatively, a supplement containing DHA and EPA will do the job in a pinch. Farm-raised fish can be high in contaminants so ensure the supplement has been tested for toxins such as PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), mercury and lead: #AlwaysLookingOutForYa.
So make like moi enjoy a meat-free Monday dinner with some of the above!
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