Omega-3 fatty acids have been known to have a ton of health benefits. Surely, if you read “fat,” you have this preconception that it would be harmful for your body. Technically, fats are needed by the body in many of its functions. It is just that the unhealthy fats are the ones that have harmful side effects in the body. On the contrary, Omega-3 fatty acids help strengthen the body in many ways; More importantly, researchers and scientists found out that Omega-3 fatty acids have a direct and essential effect in lung health.
Compounds derived from omega-3 fatty acids – like those found in salmon – are key to helping the body combat lung infections. Not to mention that the food containing omega-3 fatty acids are really delicious!
Omega-3 Fatty Acids for the Lungs
An Indiana University study has found that a unique omega-3 supplement derived from the New Zealand green-lipped mussel significantly improved lung function in asthmatics who experience exercise-induced bronchoconstriction, also called exercise-induced asthma. This study has shown that omega-3 supplements are effective in reducing the airway inflammation experienced by asthmatic study participants.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is most often caused by years of smoking, is characterized by inflammation and excessive mucus in the lungs that blocks airflow. Quitting smoking can slow the progress of COPD, but it doesn’t halt the disease. Anti-inflammatory drugs are the most common treatment. However, they suppress the immune system, which can put people with COPD at risk for secondary infections, most commonly NTHi bacterial infections.
Unlike other anti-inflammatory drugs, the specialized agent used in a study conducted by Richard Phipps, Ph.D. (professor of Environmental Medicine and director of the URSMD Lung Biology and Disease Program) has reduced inflammation in the lungs of mice without suppressing the ability to clear the bacteria. In fact, it could actually hasten the process of clearing bacteria. Phipps and his colleagues believe they are the first to show that this special compound can improve lung function in the face of live bacteria.
The compound that Dr. Richard Phipps found has indeed helped a lot in combatting COPD. That compound is, in fact, a derivative from Omega-3 fatty acids.
In addition, it has also been proven that Omega-3 fatty acids have a direct effect in strengthening the lungs to prevent bacterial infection. It’s great to have a whole house air purifier to prevent airborne bacteria or virus in your home, but in places where the air pollution is too much, your lungs are always compromised. Omega-3 fatty acids greatly help in preparing the lungs to fight against infections that may occur in your body.
So how do you get your daily dose of Omega-3? Here are some of the easiest and tastiest dishes you can try that contain those wonderful Omega-3 fatty acids:
Blackened Salmon Sandwich
- 1 pound wild salmon fillet, skinned and cut into 4 portions
- 2 teaspoons blackening or Cajun seasoning
- 1 small avocado, pitted
- 2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
- 4 crusty whole-wheat rolls, split and toasted
- 1 cup arugula
- 2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
- Skin salmon fillets. To do this, place salmon on a clean cutting board, skin side down. Starting at the tail end, slip the blade of a long, sharp knife between the fish flesh and the skin, holding the skin down firmly with your other hand. Then, gently push the blade along at a 30° angle, separating the fillet from the skin without cutting through either.
- Preheat grill rack to High heat.
- Rub salmon on both sides with blackening (or Cajun) seasoning.
- Grill until cooked all the way through (3 to 4 minutes per side).
- Mash avocado and mayonnaise in a small bowl.
- To assemble sandwiches, spread the avocado mixture on each roll and top with salmon, arugula, tomato and onion.
Arctic Char on a Bed of Kale
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 pounds kale, tough stems removed, coarsely chopped (14-16 cups)
- 1 pound skinned arctic char or salmon fillet, cut into 4 portions
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
- 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, or 1 teaspoon dried
- 4 lemon wedges for garnish
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir fry shallot, continuously stirring until it begins to soften (2-3 minutes).
- Add broth, water and half the kale; cook, continuously stirring until slightly wilted (1-2 minutes). Add the remaining kale and cook until tender (about 8 minutes).
- Sprinkle fish fillet with salt and pepper, and place on the kale. Cover and cook until the fish is just cooked through (5 to 7 minutes).
- Combine sour cream, horseradish and dill in a bowl. Serve the fish and kale with the sauce and lemon wedges.
Tuna and Green Bean Salad
- 1 1/2 pounds slender green beans, trimmed, halved crosswise
- Approximately 3 teaspoons salt to taste
- 2 large red potatoes, diced
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
- 9 ounces canned tuna packed in oil, drained
- Cook the green beans in a large pot of boiling water until crisp-tender, stirring occasionally (about 4 minutes). Using a mesh strainer, transfer the green beans to a large bowl of ice water to cool completely. Drain the green beans and pat dry with a towel.
- Add 2 teaspoons of salt to the same cooking liquid and bring the liquid to a simmer. Add the potatoes to the simmering liquid, and cook until they are just tender but still hold their shape (8 to 10 minutes). Transfer the potatoes to the ice water to cool completely. Drain the potatoes and pat dry with a towel.
- In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice, garlic, oil, oregano, 1 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper.
- Place the tomatoes, basil and parsley in a large serving bowl. Add the tuna and toss gently to combine. Add the green beans and potatoes. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat.
Oatmeal and Flax Seed Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup quick-cooking oats
- 1/4 cup flaxseed, finely ground in a spice grinder, or pre-ground flaxseed
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Whisk the flour, oats, flaxseed, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a bowl.
- Beat the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy (about 4 minutes). Put in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the flour mixture and beat until properly combined, scraping down the bowl as needed. Stir in the chocolate chips.
- Drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake until golden brown (10 to 12 minutes). Let the cookies cool (for about 3 minutes) on the baking sheets, then transfer to racks to cool completely.