Posts

Is farmed salmon healthy?

Our days of eating wild caught fish are getting numbered with dwindling fish supplies caused by overfishing. The fish that is available is increasingly contaminated with mercury and with other persistent organic pollutants (POPs) like Bisphenol A caused by the huge amount of plastic that has ended up in our oceans.

All fresh and smoked salmon available in Australia is farmed. Farmed salmon is an attractive alternative and may well bridge the gap we need to boost our omega 3 content. There are some pros and cons to eating farmed salmon which we’ll discuss in this article.

 

Omega 3 content

Farmed salmon traditionally contained higher levels of omega 3 than wild salmon, even though wild salmon has a more favourable omega 3 fatty acid profile. This is likely due to the overall fat content being up to three times as high in farmed salmon. In recent years however studies have found that the omega 3 levels in farmed salmon are dropping. This Australian study for example found that since 2002 omega 3 levels have dropped 30 – 50% in farmed salmon.

This is a result of the change in their diet – farmed salmon used to be fed on pellets made form small fish like anchovies and sardines, however a reduction in supply of these fish has lead to other feeds being produced. These newer generation feeds can contain, soy, barley, algae, trimmings from seafood processing, insects and leftovers from processing almonds and pistachio nuts. There is also a genetically modified yeast that produces omega 3 that some salmon farms are using to bolster omega 3 levels.

This UK study found that farmed salmon that were fed on more vegetable oils were indeed lower in omega 3 than those fed on fish oil rich pellets. It also found that the omega 3 concentrations in the fat of wild caught salmon was higher. Even given this, the nutritional content of omega 3 per 100g was higher for farmed salmon due to the higher fat content of the fish.

Smoked salmon is an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids.

Heavy metals and contaminants

Because fish can bio-accumulate toxins through the food chain it’s important to look at levels of mercury, dioxins, PCB’s and pesticides. Toxins levels correlate mostly with the feed given to the fish but also the environment they are grown in. This Norwegian study found that over a 13 year period from 1999 to 2011 contaminant levels of mercury, arsenic, dioxins, PCB’s and DDT had reduced, however pesticide levels remained steady.

In this British study, they found that there were higher heavy metal concentrations in feed than there was in the farmed salmon. Mercury showed a slight degree of bio-magnification – meaning that it could be transferred from feed to salmon. Other heavy metals like lead and cadmium did not transfer across and became less available through the fish. The study found that overall mercury levels in farmed salmon were well below safety guidelines.

In this human study participants ate 380g of farmed salmon a week for 30 weeks and then tested for mercury and POP levels. No increases were found in these toxic compounds as a result of consuming farmed salmon.

As fish supplies dwindle farmed fish may be the only viable alternative.

The verdict?

Based on the research it would seem that farmed salmon is still a great candidate to fill our omega 3 requirements. Even with the decline in omega 3 levels brought about by the increase in vegetable matter in their feed, farmed salmon is still one of the best sources of omega 3 by weight.

Because of the decline in our fish stocks we’ll need to watch this space as new fish feeds are being trialed constantly and they will determine the quality of the end product. With the increase in man made toxins and POPs studies will need to be conducted regularly to ensure that farmed salmon remains safe to eat.

Want to learn more about toxins in our food supply? Come along to our environmental toxins workshop. View our upcoming workshop timetable here.

 

 

 

Why you should be going nuts over nuts

Are you nuts? Well maybe we’re all a little nuts sometimes, but do you eat them? If you answered yes then read about the wondrous things they are doing for your body below. If you answered no, we think that you’ll change your mind by the end of this article.

So why should you be going nuts over nuts? Well, for starters, they are one of the best sources of minerals that you can include in your diet. Besides dairy, nuts are one of the highest sources of calcium, which we all know is essential for keeping our bones strong as well as helping with many other body processes. They also contain good levels of magnesium, a mineral that we need for over 300 reactions in the body. Without enough magnesium we can feel more stressed, fatigued, get muscle cramps and crave more sugar.

In addition to calcium and magnesium, nuts contain varying levels of other minerals important to health. Brazil nuts are the richest source of selenium, which supports thyroid function and is essential for breast cancer prevention. Cashews and pine nuts are high in iron, which we need to carry oxygen around our bodies.

Brazil nuts are nature’s richest source of the antioxidant mineral selenium.

Nuts are also an excellent source of essential fatty acids. They contain beneficial omega 6 and 9 fats, and walnuts in particular are a great source of omega 3. These good fats are essential from everything to mood balance, hormonal function and brain health. To get the benefit of these fats, nuts need to be consumed raw and untoasted so the oils retain their properties.

To top off their excellent nutritional profile, nuts also boast good levels of both protein and fibre. Eating a small serving of nuts alongside a serve of fruit is a great way to reduce the effect of fruit on blood sugar levels.

If you’re not eating nuts yet, there are many ways that you can include them in your diet. They are the perfect snack on the run and a great thing to keep in your office drawer for when you’re feeling peckish. You can also add nuts to salads and vegetable dishes to give them extra flavor and nutrition. Presoaking nuts and adding them to smoothies is another great way to include them in your diet.

So how many nuts can you have? We recommend having 1-2 small handfuls each day, always raw. Nuts can be difficult to digest, so make sure that you chew them very well or activate them if your digestive system is sluggish.

10 Reasons to Eat Chia Seeds

Chia Seeds, the tiny black and white seeds originating rom Mexico and Guatemala, have been touted as a superfood with good reason. They are a great addition to any diet and can help with a wide range of issues. Here are our top 10 reasons to eat chia seeds.

1. High in omega 3

Chia seeds are an excellent source of vegetarian omega 3, with one 15g serve containing over 3g of this essential fatty acid. Omega 3 is essential for heart health, brain function, reducing inflammation in the body and more.

2. Helps keep you bowel healthy.

A daily dose of chia seeds will help to provide fibre that can prevent constipation and colon cancer. Each 15g serving of chia contains 5g of fibre in a blend of soluble and insoluble forms. This helps to improve digestive health, preventing constipation and potentially colon cancer down the line.

3. Helps to heal your digestion

The soluble fibre and mucilage (i.e. – slime) in chia seeds helps to heal your gut and provides fuel for the trillions of good bacteria living in your gut. By presoaking your chia seeds overnight you’ll release the mucilage and help it to sooth and heal your intestinal lining.

4. Improves gut immunity

By providing fibre to feed the microorganisms in your gut chia seeds can improve your immunity. 80% of your immune system is in your gut and it is all dependent on your ‘good guys’ (ie probiotics) to keep your immunity up and running.

5. Good source of protein

Chia seeds contains 8 essential and 9 non-essential (your body can make them) amino acids. It also has 20% protein and can add to your daily intake. Protein is essential for muscle building, mood balance, sleep, hormones and so much more!

6. Antioxidant boost

Chia seeds have an ORAC antioxidant value of 10,250 which is pretty darn high. This means that it has powerful antioxidant nutrients that can help to fight free radicals in the body. Less free radicals means less chance of disease.

7. Great for diabetics

The fibre in chia seeds helps to slow the absorption of sugars in the intestine, leading to a slower and more regulated release of sugar into the blood. This is great for balancing blood sugar and diabetics, who require a steady level of blood sugar to prevent becoming hyper- or hypo-glycemic.

8. Great for detoxification

The insoluble and soluble fibre in chia seeds make them an excellent adjuvant to any detoxification program. Eating 1 tbsp, presoaked in water each day helps to bind toxins in the gut and carry them though the bowel for excretion.

9. Improve heart health

Chia seeds have been found in a study to decrease blood pressure and C-Reactive protein, a sign of inflammation. They may also reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol. This may be due tot eh presence of omega 3 which has longstanding evidence for its benefit in cardiovascular disease.

10. Good source on minerals

Chia seeds are an excellent source of calcium and magnesium and also contain iron, potassium and manganese. Eating chia seeds in their raw, uncooked form will help to maximize absorption of these minerals.

Now you know how amazing chia seeds are for your health, you need to know how you eat them. Chia seeds can easily be sprinkled onto muesli, salads and yoghurt, or added to smoothies. The best way to eat chia is presoaked, just in some water overnight then used in smoothies, cereals with fruit or yoghurt. You can also make a chia pudding, which is delicious and allows you to get a good amount of chia in so you can take advantage of all the health benefits.

 

Pages

Amazing Kangaroo Meatballs

Kangaroo’s bound free their whole lives giving them an amazingly healthy and muscular physique. Choosing kangaroo meat is an excellent way to increase your red meat protein and it is also a good source of omega 3.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

Meatballs

  • 400g kangaroo mince meat
  • 1 clove of garlic- shredded
  • Spice mix: 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp Italian herb mix, salt and pepper
  • 1 egg
  • Flour- enough to achieve a sticky consistency (approximately 1 tbsp)

Mix all ingredients well and roll into even sized meatballs.

Sauce

  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 onion- diced
  • 2 tbsp tomato concentrate
  • splash of red wine
  • Spice mix- as above
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp sliced black olives

In a fry pan gently brown onions with rice bran oil. Add meatballs to cook gently but just before ready add diced tomatoes, tomato concentrate, wine, spice mix, sun dried tomatoes and olives. Cover fry pan with lip and let simmer for 20 minutes or until sauce reduces.

Serve with a wheat alternative pasta such as kamut, quinoa or rice and garnish with delicious fresh basil and olive oil. Yum!

Call us on 07 3367 0337 to book your appointment today!