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Omega-3 Fatty Acids
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Just like an engine needs the proper fuel, so do our bodies. Although we’re aware of the need for an adequate mix of carbohydrates and protein, one more important ingredient completes the equation for endurance and strength: fat. But that doesn’t mean that deep-fried buffalo wings will provide enough energy to finish out the last two miles – it takes the right type of fat. Omega-3 fatty acids, to be exact. omega-3_main.jpg

Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to aid in the formation of lean muscle tissue, reduce joint tenderness and inflammation, and have a beneficial effect on the rhythm of the heartbeat. According to a 2004 article in the Journal of Exercise Physiology, the ingestion of omega-3 fatty acids helps to stimulate the oxidation of fat in the liver and in skeletal muscle.

Much like a catalyst to convert fuel to energy in an engine, including omega-3 fatty acids in your diet can aide in the use of fat to provide energy when you need it most: during a marathon training run, a body fat shredding cardio workout or even a stress-relieving jog.

Omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat (the good fat), are found in many delicious and nutritious foods. These include: fatty fish (like salmon, tuna, and mackerel); flaxseed, canola, and soybean oils; and walnuts.

For best results, you should try and increase you intake of omega-3’s as a replacement for saturated fats. The American Heart Association recommends eating two servings of fish per week – so why not get your omega-3’s while you’re at it?

Try this delicious Rosemary Salmon recipe, high in Omega-3’s, for tomorrow night’s dinner:

2 large bunches fresh rosemary
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 (2- to 3-pound) salmon fillet with skin, 1 1/2-inches thick
2 large lemons thinly sliced
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Arrange half of rosemary sprigs in single layer in center of heavy baking sheet. Arrange sliced red onion on top of the rosemary.

Place salmon, skin side down, on the onion. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover salmon with remaining rosemary sprigs.
Arrange lemon slices over rosemary. Drizzle olive oil over. Sprinkle lemon slices with salt. NOTE: Can be prepared 8 hours ahead, covered and refrigerated.

Bake, uncovered, 8 to 12 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers an internal temperature of 140 degrees F (salmon will be slightly opaque in thickest part). Remember the salmon continues to cook after it is removed from the heat source. Carefully remove salmon from pan and transfer onto individual serving plates. Serve with roasted onions and lemon slices.

Approximate cooking times for salmon:
1/4 to 1/3-inch - 3 to 4 minutes
1/2 to 3/4-inch - 4 to 6 minutes
1 to 1 1/2-inch - 8 to 12 minutes

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Add a side of whole-wheat couscous and your favorite vegetable for appropriate carbohydrates and fiber, and know that you’ve just upgraded your fuel intake to premium.