Pico de Orizaba

Pico de Orizaba
Taken from Huatusco, Veracruz, the closest town to Margarita's family's ranch.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Spanish Mackerel and/or Flax Seeds for the long-chain Omega 3 Fatty Acid DHA...

It is believed that humans can only convert 2-5% of Omega 3 Fatty Acids from vegetable sources (the #1 source is Flax Seeds) to DHA you obtain directly from Salmon, Trout, Tuna, Mackerel (the smaller the better), sardines, herring and eels.  Now, the question is how much DHA will you obtain from these fish.  You may be surprised that the average Spanish (or Pacific) Mackerel has more Omega 3 fatty acids than does the average Salmon...  However, you may not find it easy to find fresh small (not kingfish) mackerel in your local fish market.  This morning I walked a few blocks up from my house and bought 1.1 kgs (2.475 pounds) of Spanish (Pacific) Mackerel (known as Sierra in Spanish) which I "breaded" with a mix of eggs, cilantro, baby arugula, walnuts, ginger, cumin, garlic, serrano chile pepper and chia seeds and fried...  Supposedly, 100 grams of small mackerel gives you between 0.952g and 1.195g of DHA. The recommended daily allowance of DHA varies around the world, but it is generally 250mg.  Some organizations recommend 500mg of DHA per day.  In order to obtain 3,500mgs (3.5 grams) of DHA per week, you must eat 300g of Mackerel... Easy, considering that the 1.1 kg Mackerel we ate today gave us at least 10 grams.  

But, what if we are living far away from a decent fish market or are vegetarians?

100 grams of ground Flax seeds gives you 22.8 grams of Omega 3 fatty acids.  If you can only convert 2-5% into DHA, that means that, in order to obtain 500mg (the high recommendation) per day, you must consume between 10 grams (1.5 tablespoons) and 25 grams (3 tablespoons) of ground Flax seeds.  It doesn't seem like so much considering that I'm averaging between 5 and 9 tablespoons of ground Flax seeds per day... I mix the flax seeds in soups and stews along with ground sunflower seeds (the highest source of Vitamin E and a very good source of Magnesium).  They're wonderful thickeners... Now, if you think that is a lot of Flax seeds, then cut it in half and you will be following the recommended RDA of the U.S.D.A. and of the European Food Safety Authority.

You may wish to use ground seeds or ground nuts as thickeners instead of using flour or starches, which not only cause rapid weight gain, but also raise your glycemic index...  and at the same time, depending on what seeds or nuts you grind, you give your body a high level of Magnesium, Copper, Zinc, Vitamin E, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, B6, Selenium, Manganese and Biotin.  

An important note:  The #1 source of both Vitamin E and Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) is the Sunflower Seed.  The #1 source of Magnesium is the Pumpkin Seed.  The #1 source of Biotin is the Peanut.  But, considering that peanuts are a great allergy risk, I would go to the #2 source being Almonds.  The #1 source of Copper are Sesame Seeds.  The #2 source are Cashews.  After Tofu, the #2 source of Calcium are Sesame seeds.  

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