Tag Archives: omega 3

What should I eat when studying for exams?

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Exam period is starting and before digging in the bag of sweets, let’s try to make smart decisions.

Best news this week: Eating chocolate improves learning ability (and mood)! However, I’m not talking about Cadbury’s dairy milk I’m afraid. It’s the flavonoids in chocolate that are responsible for improving learning and memory. The darker the chocolate, the better. Dark fruits also contain flavonoids, so go for it!

Another memory superfood is…. Omega-3 fatty acids!

Last week I attended a lecture about diet and mental health. The first thing I learned was that Omega-3 fatty acids cannot be produced by our body so it is essential we get them from our diet. Why? Because we need them for brain cell formation. According to Dr. Sandrine Thuret (King’s College, London), studies have demonstrated that Omega-3s can be associated with prevention of cognitive decline and that fish eaters experience up to 4 times less cognitive decline than non fish eaters.

Ok, so we need to eat oily fish or take fish oil supplements. If you want to buy supplements, you should pay attention to this: There are 3 types of Omega-3s: ALA, EPA and DHA. When buying fish oil supplements, you should look for EPA and DHA, simply because ALA cannot be precessed by our body.

EPA and DHA, through the building of new brain cells, increase our learning ability. They also help us cope with stress! When under stress, we produce cortisol, which can cause cell death. But cells that were fed EPA and DHA can resist to cortisol better than normal cells.

All great news then. Now what do we need to eat to get our daily fix of EPA and DHA and how much of it?

Recommendations for supplements vary between 300mg to 800mg per day. But to give you an idea of what these quantities represent, here is a list of foods in which there is 1g of EPA/DHA:

  • 85g salmon (or mackerel)
  • 255g tuna
  • 10 eggs
  • 3kgs beef (good luck with that)

In conclusion, eating a portion of oily fish a day during revision time should help us learn and memorize, even under stressful conditions.

Above all, remember to keep eating a varied and nutritious diet for optimum health :-)

And  G O O D   L U C K  ! ! !

Summer food, rose colored fish steak in a wine marinade

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Healthy, tasty dinner for lazy people

Hello you! Yes, you, the one who does not wish to spend more than 10 minutes in the kitchen. I have a recipe for you today!

Baked salmon fillet and stir-fried green vegetables

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Ingredients:

  • 1 salmon fillet
  • broccoli
  • spinach
  • green peas
  • salt & pepper
  • olive oil

1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C.

2. Season the salmon with pepper and wrap in aluminium foil. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes.

3. Put olive oil in a frying pan, add the broccoli and peas. Cook for 5 minutes then add the spinach. Salt and pepper to taste.

4. Serve

I like to make this recipe because it’s easy and quick. It doesn’t require any cooking skills and above all it is very nutritious!

  1. Salmon is loaded in Omega 3 fatty acids, good for heart health.
  2. Spinach is rich in folate, known for its mood enhancer.
  3. Broccoli has vitamins A, C and E. A and E are fat soluble vitamins, therefore, good to eat with oily fish. Vit E and vit C are antioxidants, which are good for fighting free radicals.
  4. Peas provide slow-release carbohydrate, protein and contain vit A and E as well as other good stuff (magnesium, potassium, zinc, etc.).

Definitely this week’s winner dinner!

Turmeric will lift my mood this winter

G O O D   M O R N I N G !

How I love Sundays! Right now I’m feeling happy.

But unfortunately, at times, I’ve been feeling down, and today’s post is about finding food that makes you feel better.

In the past, when I felt down, I would reach for sweets and carb-rich foods. But now that I have decided to change my diet habits, I have had to search for HEALTHY FEEL GOOD FOODS.

Here is my top 3:

1) TURMERIC

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Turmeric

A spice that I add to most my recipes. It’s not very hot, it brings flavour to a veg soup, it goes well with chilli powder and curry powder. I’ve used it in chilli con carne, Jamie’s butternut squash and chorizo soup, even in the ratatouille.

Here’s the amazing info I found when researching it:

Consumption of curcumin, the main active ingredient in turmeric, can be used as a natural and long lasting antidepressant (1). Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a protein found in human serum and plasma, and low levels can be associated with depression (2). Studies have shown that curcumin can raise BDNF levels (1).

2) VEG and LEGUMES high in FOLATE

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Spinach

Why? Because folate (B vitamin family) participates in the production of neurotransmitter serotonin (3), which is famous for lifting the mood (4).

Foods high in folate include (4):

  • Dark green leafy veg: spinach
  • Legumes: chick peas, black eyed peas, lentils, pinto beans, navy beans and many more
  • Seeds: sunflower seeds

I find spinach being an easy veg to add to – again – any recipe. On top of an omelette, when it’s nearly done. The spinach will cook in only a couple of minutes. Or in a chicken soup. In a stir fry. In chilli con carne? Why not? Always add it at the end, just before serving. It brings freshness and this beautiful green color to dishes that are a bit boring looking.

3) MACKEREL and SALMON

Summer food, rose colored fish steak in a wine marinade

Salmon fillet

Recent studies show that Omega-3 present in oily fish may have a positive impact on mental health (5).

I love salmon cooked in a foil parcel, in the oven with pepper and olive oil. It is not only deeeelicious, but also it doesn’t smell of fish in every room of your house, and no dish to wash up! Easy :)

Next week I will post some recipes containing feel good food. Or, actually, if someone would like to post here some recipes they master and love, please I would love to know about them! Using lentils, or chickpeas or black eyed peas. I have never cooked black eyed peas and am very curious about them.

See you, very soon I hope! :)

References:

1) Hurley, Laura, L, et al., (2013) “Antidepressant-like effects of curcumin in WKY rat model of depression is associated with an increase in hippocampal BDNF”. Elsevier, 2013. Accessible on http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166432812006997

2) Bun-Hee Lee and Yong-Ku Kim, (2010) “The Roles of BDNF in the Pathophysiology of Major Depression and in Antidepressant Treatment”, Published online 2010 November 23. Accessible on: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3022308/

3) Miller AL, (2008) “The methylation, neurotransmitter, and antioxidant connections between folate and depression.” Alternative Medicine Review : a Journal of Clinical Therapeutic [2008, 13(3):216-226]. Accessible on http://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/18950248

4) Whitney, E and Rady Rolfes, S, (2008) “Understanding Nutrition”, eleventh edition. Thomson Learning Ltd, Belomt, California, USA.

5) Mental Health Foundation, diet and mental health. Accessible on http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/help-information/mental-health-a-z/D/diet/