The Best Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

The Best Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids have received a lot of attention lately for their health benefits – and for a good reason! These polyunsaturated fatty acids have been linked to lowered levels of inflammation, risk for cardiovascular disease and even memory loss.

For the most part, the standard American diet is very deficient in omega-3s. By increasing your intake of omega-3s through food sources, you can drastically improve your overall health. Although this nutrition topic is very complex and expanding constantly, the main thing we know is this: increasing your consumption of the following omega-3 rich foods will increase your body’s omega-3 supply, in turn improving your health and well-being.

Fatty Fish: Albacore tuna, mackerel, anchovies and fresh-caught salmon are the best sources of omega-3s. These types of fish eat a less soluble form of omega-3s (ALA) through seaweed and convert it to the most beneficial forms for our bodies (EPA and DHA). Eating these types of fish, or supplementing with a 1,000-1,500 mg daily dose of fish oil, is an excellent way to improve your health.

Almonds: In addition to being an excellent source of antioxidants, protein, and beneficial vitamins and minerals, almonds are also an excellent source of plant-based omega-3s.

Flax Seeds: These fiber and omega-3-packed seeds can easily be added to your diet by sprinkling them on oatmeal, cereals, salads and smoothies. Just make sure to grind or buy already ground flax seed so your body can fully absorb the amazing nutrients flax has to offer.

Chia Seeds: These seeds may be one of the smallest and most nutritious foods in the world. Chia seeds contain 10 grams of fiber in just 2 tablespoons, and are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as iron, calcium and magnesium.

We’re crazy about Omega-3 fatty acids which is a big reason why chia seeds are a key ingredient in all of our Betsy’s Best Peanut, Almond and Seed Butters. Each serving contains all of your daily Omega-3 needs!

Good Mood Food

Good Mood Food

Good mood foods include almonds, chia seeds and Betsy’s Best

We all know the foods we eat impact our bodies, but we don’t always realize how our food choices can affect our moods. Nutrition plays an important role in brain chemistry and structure. As a result, what we put on our plates directly affects our behavior and mental state. Although there’s still a lot of research to be done in this area, scientific studies have provided us with important clues on the importance of good mood food!

Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA (primarily found in fatty fish like salmon and trout), as well as almonds, walnuts and chia seeds, have all been shown to reduce or “chill-out” nervous system activity, in turn producing a calming effect. Try a serving of Betsy’s Best Gourmet Almond Butter (which contains chia seeds) to relax your mind and give your day a healthy boost!

Getting enough Vitamin D in your diet can also help brighten your day. Low serum levels of this nutrient have been associated with mood disorders such as PMS, depression and seasonal affective disorder. Fatty fish such as salmon and tuna, along with whole eggs, are part of a select group of foods that naturally contain Vitamin D. Since this nutrient can be difficult to incorporate into your daily diet, it’s recommended to get Vitamin D from a variety of sources, including short periods of sun exposure, supplements and fortified foods such as grain products.

On the other side of the spectrum, some foods can also dampen your mood. For example, caffeine is notorious for disturbing sleep cycles, in turn causing irritability. If you’re a coffee drinker, try to limit your intake to one or two cups a day (that means less than 16 oz!) and resist drinking caffeine-containing beverages after lunch to help avoid sleep disturbances later. Foods high in saturated fat, such as baked goodies or greasy snacks, can also leave you feeling a bit disconnected. This happens because fatty foods are digested slowly, diverting blood from your brain to your stomach, consequently leaving you in a fog. Try switching out a breaded chicken and cheese sandwich for one made with grilled chicken and a healthy source of fat, like avocado.

Adding good mood foods and avoiding the bad can really impact your mood in a positive way. Give it a try. Your mind will feel clearer, your mood will be better and your heart will thank you later!

Banana Oatmeal Peanut Butter Pancakes – Dairy-Free & Gluten-Free

Banana Oatmeal Peanut Butter Pancakes – Dairy-Free & Gluten-Free

Healthy AND tasty pancakes? You bet! This delicious chocolate sprinkled Betsy’s Best banana and oats peanut butter pancake will make you jump for joy. Not big on chocolate for breakfast? Use berries for a delicious twist.

  • 1 very ripe medium banana
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 flax seed egg substitute (1 tbsp. flax seed meal + 2.5 tbsp. water)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. Betsy’s Best Gourmet PeanutAlmond or Seed Butter
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp. almond milk (or other milk substitute)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (or gluten-free oats), ground
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free flour (or sub other flour)
  • 3 tbsp. semisweet chocolate chips (non-dairy for vegan) or blueberries

Preheat a skillet to medium heat or about 300-325°F. Prepare flax egg by mixing flaxseed meal and water and letting set for 3-5 minutes. Mash your very ripe banana with baking powder. Add flax egg, oil, salt, vanilla, Betsy’s Best, almond milk and stir. Stir in oats and flour until just combined. Sprinkle in chocolate chips and fold gently. Scoop scant 1/4 cup measurements onto lightly greased griddle. Cook for 2-4 minutes on each side – until golden brown. Serve plain or with a small drizzle of maple syrup and a few additional chocolate chips for melting.

Notes:

* Should yield 5-6 small pancakes.

* Make gluten-free by using gluten-free oats and flour.

* Adding 1 tbsp. of honey, maple syrup, sugar or agave nectar is optional for extra sweetening, but I didn’t find it necessary.

* Reheats great the following day in the microwave.

This gluten-free pancake recipe is so good you can skip the syrup!

Flax Seed Nutrition Facts for a Functional Foodie

Flax Seed Nutrition Facts for a Functional Foodie

Who thought an itty bitty seed could pack a nutritional punch to your health? Flax seeds are a rich source of ALA (Alpha Linolenic Acid) which is a type of Omega 3, along with ligins, which is a plant based phytoestrogen and an antioxidant.  If you have a NEED for SEED in your diet, then check out these crazy ways to sneak this seed into your recipes!

Some Functional Ways To Use Flax Seeds

  • Adapt your existing recipes by substituting flax for the oil or shortening specified in a recipe. If a recipe calls for 1/3 cup of oil, replace with 1 cup of ground flaxseed – a 3:1 substitution ratio.  Also replace an egg for a dairy free alternative: 1 tbsp. ground flax + 3 tbsp. water
  • Ground flax can be added to your morning juice or chocolate milk – usually a heaping tablespoon or two with your favorite beverage. Or you can sprinkle ground flax on cereals, yogurt or Betsy’s Best!
  • Recommended Daily Usage – To get the maximum benefits from flax seeds it is recommend using 3 tbsp. of ground flax seeds per day. 

Try this recipe for Homemade Dairy & Gluten-Free Pancakes!

Your Bestie,

Betsy Opyt

Fabulous Healthy Fats: The Fat-Free Decade is Over!

Fabulous Healthy Fats: The Fat-Free Decade is Over!

The fat-free decade is over and healthy fats are finally being recognized as critical to a healthy lifestyle.

How often does this happen: You grab a jar of peanut or almond butter, whip it around to look at the nutrition facts and drop your jaw when you see the fats? Two tablespoons equal 16 grams of fat? “I can’t eat that,” you think, “it will make me fat!”

Thank goodness we are well beyond the nineties, otherwise known as the “Fat Free Decade”, when Americans ended up gaining weight instead of losing it. Why did this happen? When fat is cut out, it has to be replaced with something else to give the food flavor—usually sugar or salt. These other two evils are more harmful for your health than fat will ever be.

What Are The Healthy Fats?

Some fats are more saturated by nature, and are usually known as the bad fats that clog arteries. Animal fats are typically saturated by nature, but plant fats like coconut and palm oil also fall in this category. However, we now know that even these fats vary, and most of the plant fats are not as harmful as we once believed.

The other two types of fats are called polyunsaturated and monounsaturated and are more desirable for human health. These fats are less likely to promote inflammation in the arteries, and are therefore less likely to build plaque on the artery walls. Foods like nuts, seeds, and avocado, and plant oils like olive, walnut, sunflower, safflower and grapeseed oils fall in this category. These fats offer tons of health benefits and satiety, and are the types of fats we need in our diets. Most of our hormones are produced from our fat cells, and fat soluble vitamins will only be absorbed when there is fat consumed in the diet. No wonder Americans have been vitamin D deficient over the past two decades…it’s a result of a fat free diet!

Many people have heard about the advantages of a Mediterranean based diet for longevity. This style of eating offers the most anti-inflammatory properties; it’s more plant and nut based with a focus on healthy fats and lean proteins like fish and chicken. A Mediterranean diet is quite different from the typical American fried everything, carb loaded and fat free meal!

The next time you look at the fat content on your Betsy’s Best Gourmet nut or seed butter, remember these spreads are loaded with superfood nutrition including healthy fats, not bad. But eat mindfully, and know that Betsy’s Best offers excellent nutrition with a delicious taste. A little goes a long way and is an investment in your health.