Is canned fish a good and cheap source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids?
Why do I care? Why would I ask? Why should you care?
As always – really good questions and of course I would be thrilled to bore you with an answer!
Every time you take a trip to the Doc’s office, you obviously start to question your overall health, especially as you get a little older (not that 44 is old!!) and especially if your cholesterol levels are “too high” or you have “family history” (like he knows anything!).
You start to question and talk about those wonderful and stimulating things that everyone (at least at the age groups of 45 to 55ish) talks about, as you age: Are you getting enough fibre (regularity becomes a common topic – REALLY SAD!!); Should you cut back on those highly processed foods; I don’t eat it if it has that high fructose corn syrup; Should I cut back on the carbs and which ones; and lately a big one is; Are you getting enough Omega 3 Fatty Acids in your diet?
Over the next couple of months as I try and fix this cholesterol thing by increasing fibre, losing a little weight, watching the processed foods and carbs – I will write about each of those topics and give you some ideas as to what I am doing and/or have done to help myself out.
Today I want to quickly discuss Omega 3’s and give you a few “cheap” ways to get some of your daily requirements and then of course tell you some more expensive: I mean “better” or “different” ways to supplement your dietary needs for Omega 3.
Before we get too far we need to understand what Omega 3 Fatty Acids are and why they are important. I am going to cut and paste this info from a CBC News article in June of 2007;
Omega-3 fatty acids are a class of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids. Foods high in omega-3-fatty acids include salmon, halibut, sardines, albacore, trout, herring, walnut, flaxseed oil, and canola oil.
- Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
- Stearidonic acid.
- Eicosatetraenoic acid.
- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
- Docosapentaenoic acid.
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
Ya Ya!! We know that they are important and that we need these EFA’s (Essential Fatty Acids), but what about the “cheap” part!?
We gotta relax. Before we get to “cheap” I think we need to understand one more thing. Mainly, what are the benefits to trying to get more of these particular EFA’s?
Let’s start with why they are important. There a numerous studies and discussions over the past number of years that have linked higher consumption of Omega 3’s and potential better brain function, having anti-inflammatory properties, help with auto immune issues, help with cardiac diseases and good health, and good for overall immunity.
As you can see that many of the sights above are not from medical journals and hospital studies etc… That is done for a reason – I can’t read them!! Too complicated and many times just overdone in verbage – even worse than me!! Most of the links and sites that I send you to are “summaries” of what is known and what is most talked about. You can spend days searching and looking if you so choose and you will find a tonne of info out there with a million studies. All that I want to do is give you a quick and dirty summary of my own. Not scientific by any stretch, but hopefully interesting enough for you to do some hunting of your own.
Ok – now to cheap.
Some really easy ways to get good sources of Omega 3’s (obviously form a London Drugs slant) is canned fish. I know – highly romantic!! Canned Fish!!
Canned fish – Salmon (wild preferably – preferable to me that is), Tuna, Mackerel, and Sardines are 3 great ways to get your daily requirements which was, the last I read, about 2 grams a day for men and about 1.5 grams for woman (I am sure someone will correct me if I am off on this one). How hard is it to get 1.5 or 2 grams? (I have hunted the net for these numbers and they are “around” kind of numbers – close enough to make them work!)
A 100grams of;
canned mackerel has about 2.5grams
canned salmon – sockeye – has about 2.0grams
canned salmon – pink – has about 1.7grams
canned herring has about 1.7grams
canned light or white tuna in water has about .25grams
As you can see from the above – you can get a lot of nutrition from canned fish! It is not expensive and it is versatile. You can make salmon cakes, tuna cakes, and tuna melts etc…
One trick to buying canned fish – buy it if it is water packed – not oil packed. Water and Oil don’t like each other so the oils of the fish do not leach into the water and are therefore NOT drained away when you drain the water out of the can. That cannot be said about fish packed in oils. Just a little FYI!
Canned Fish is good for you!
Now for the “potential negatives” that are going to get thrown at me unless I put this into this post – taken form Health Canada;
What is the consumption advice?
Canadians are advised to limit consumption of fresh/frozen tuna, shark, swordfish, escolar, marlin, and orange roughy. In general, you can eat up to 150 g per week of these fish species combined. However, women who are or may become pregnant and breastfeeding mothers can eat up to 150 g per month. Young children between 5 and 11 years of age can eat up to 125 g per month. Very young children between 1 and 4 years of age should eat no more than 75 g per month of these fish species.
Separate advice is applicable only to canned albacore (white) tuna. This advice does not apply to light tuna. Women who are or may become pregnant and breastfeeding mothers may consume up to 300 g (four Food Guide servings) a week of albacore tuna. This is equivalent to about two 170-g cans of albacore tuna per week. Children between the ages of 5 and 11 years of age may consume 150 g (two servings or about one 170-g can per week) and children 1 to 4 years of age may eat 75 g (one serving or about ½ of a 170-g can per week). Note that there are approximately 120 grams of tuna meat in a 170-g can of tuna after the liquid is drained.
Bottom line – Enjoy your fish and specifically enjoy your canned fish!
Now for the “expensive sell” that I will focus on at a later date as I really would rather that people start to focus on consuming more foods with Omega 3’s and not be scared of the topic because it can appear price prohibitive to some.
We do offer a multitude of supplements with Omega 3’s. We carry at London Drugs many brands including London Drugs, Webber, Jamieson and Genuine Health. All great products and featured a lot! Check some of the offerings out here!!
Sites of interest:
There a million sites online that you can search out with respect to Omega 3 Fatty Acids and the benefits for overall health. Do some hunting. For sure you will see that increasing our Omega 3’s in our diets is critical to good health and there are many ways to accomplish this – even it is with just common canned fish!
Ciao for now @kootenayborn