Gone Fishing……For Omega-3’s


Dr. SeAnne Safaii-Waite, PhD, RDN, LD,

Camping season is here!  Need a new excuse to go fishing?  How about this—it’s part of your fitness plan to get more physical acitivity and Omega-3’s.   Idaho’s fresh water fish are not only a great source of protein, vitamins and minerals, but the good kind of fat as well.  Omega-3 fatty acids are derived from fish and fish oils – consisting of alpha linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), plus eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).  Most of the interest in Omega-3’s has been due to their effects on lowering triglycerides and countering inflammation.  But there are other equally important benefits of Omega-3’s for the brain, including memory, intelligence and even eye sight.

The American Heart Association recommends eating as many as two to three servings of freshwater fish per week. The following table compares the Omega-3 fatty acid content of Idaho fish in 3.5 ounce portion, which is the size of a deck of cards.  You can see that Salmon, trout and whitefish are the best sources.

ALA (mg) EPA (mg) DHA (mg) Total Omega-3’s (mg)
Bass, freshwater Trace 100    200    300
Pike, northern Trace Trace    100    100
Salmon, Chinook 100 800    600 1,500
Trout, brook 200 200    200    600
Trout, lake 400 500 1,100 2,000
Trout, rainbow 100 100    400    600
Catfish, bullhead 100 200   200    500
Catfish, channel Trace 100   200    300
Whitefish, lake 200 300 1,000 1,500

Ferren M, Addis PB (1990) Omega-3 fatty acid in Lake Superior fish. Journal of Food Science Vol. 55(1): 71-73. Hepburn, FN, Exler, J and Weihrauch, JB (1986) Provisional tales on the content of omega-3 fatty acids and other fat components of selected foods.  J Am Diet Assoc Vol. 85(6): 788-93.

Two, six-ounce servings of fish per week will yield a positive effect for the average person. Oily fish such as wild salmon, albacore tuna, mackerel, herring and trout are the best catches with more DHA to offer.  When cooking, think broiling or grilling because the exra fat from deep frying is counterproductive when there’s lean protein on the menu.

Some new research from Norway (which produces over 40% of the world’s omega-3 oils) suggests that omega-3s may be better absorbed from food than supplements.  One study compared 71 volunteers’ absorption of omega-3s from salmon, smoked salmon, cod (14 ounces of fish per week) versus cod liver oil (3 teaspoons per day). Cooked salmon provided 1.2 grams of omega-3s daily, while cod liver oil provided more than twice as much: 3 grams of omega-3s per day. Even though the salmon group received less than half the amount of omega-3s as the cod liver oil group, blood levels of omega-3s increased quite a bit more in those eating salmon than those taking cod liver oil.

The American Dietetic Association recommends 500 mg/day of omega-3 fatty acids, or two servings of fatty fish per week, as part of a balanced diet. So, the bottom line is, eat fresh fish if possible, instead of supplements and give into your “I’d rather be fishing” desires.  But there is a caveat…..sitting in a boat all day, drinking beer and fishing might cancel out the benefits of omega-3’s.  Sounds like a new research study to me!

Foods That Heal


Do you want to know how YOU can prevent and treat health conditions so you can live a healthier longer life?

Of course! We all want to know how to add years to our life so we can be around longer, spend more time with our loved ones, travel the world, see our kids grow, retire healthy and enjoy life. The reality is we are so busy chasing time that we often overlook a crucial part of our health: FOOD.

Yes, food is very powerful and can be the answer that will change your life.

 I want to invite you to this exclusive online event that I am participating in. It is going live on July 2nd and the best part is it’s FREE! 


 The answers you will get in this series are life changing. Throughout these interviews you will find out: 

  • How to prevent and heal health conditions like cancer, celiac disease, diabetes, thyroid problems, etc., with proper nutrition.
  • How food can help you manage stress, anxiety, depression and insomnia
  • How to properly feed your brain to reduce chances of old age diseases
  • How to select the best diet for you (Ketogenic, Plant-based, Raw, Vegan, Gluten Free)  

And much, much more! 

Trust me, you don’t want to miss it! Get exclusive free access here! 



Want to live well to 100?! Watch this great video!

Vandal Voices – What to eat (& drink) to live to 100 now live! (part 3)

Posted by University of Idaho – Boise on Thursday, June 7, 2018


Curry Salmon Cakes

This recipe is a great way to incorporate many anti-inflammatory compounds into the diet. Besides being delicious, this dish is budget friendly without skimping on quality ingredients. A batch can be prepared for the week and stored in the freezer until ready to eat. The cakes can be added to sandwiches, broken apart for a salad topping, or eaten on the go. They may even be appropriate for those with dysphasia who require foods to be a certain texture. If you don’t like fish don’t be afraid of this recipe! The seasoning disguises most of the fish flavor!

Wild caught salmon canned with bones and skin
Besides being more budget friendly, salmon canned with the bones provide a good source of calcium. Being a cold water wild caught fatty fish, salmon is rich in anti-inflammatory Omega-3 DHA, EPA and vitamin D. The combination of vitamin D and curcumin, the polyphenol found in turmeric, has been associated with increased amyloid plaque clearance by white blood cells (Krause p. 856, Masoumi et al, 2009).

DHA is abundant in the brain, however our cells are inefficient in producing DHA from ALA. Eating whole foods sources is ideal as taking fish oil supplements does not show the same positive results for cognition. (p. 89)

Almond Flour
Almonds contain antioxidant vitamin E, and minerals magnesium and potassium (p.84). They are also a good source of fiber!

Egg yolks are rich in choline which has been shown to aid cognitive health as it is a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. In addition, egg yolks contain vitamin E, D, A, and B vitamins. Opt for pasture raised and omega-3 eggs (from chickens fed flax seeds) for the most nutrient impact (p.88).

Curry Powder
Besides being delicious, the main spice found in curry is turmeric. Turmeric contains the polyphenol curcumin. In addition to being anti-inflammatory, curcumin helps stimulate the conversion of ALA omega-3 fatty acids to DHA, the omega-3 most abundant in the brain. It also helps inhibit the accumulation of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain, especially when combined with vitamin D (p.53). Turmeric also contains the aromatic-turmerone, which mail help in recovering brain function (p.53).

It has been proposed that the frequent use of this anti-inflammatory super spice in traditional Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine may be one of the reasons these regions have lower rates of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Alzheimer’s is 70% less common in India than in the United States!
p. 856 Krause cites:
Rigacci S, Stefani M. Nutraceuticals and amyloid neurodegenerative diseases a focus on natural phenols. Expert Rev Neurother 2015;15: 41.

Mahan, L. Kathleen; Raymond, Janice L. Krause’s Food & the Nutrition Care Process – E-Book (Krause’s Food & Nutrition Therapy) (p. 865). Elsevier Health Sciences. Kindle Edition.

Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a source of medium chain triglycerides, which can easily be converted into ketones, a preferred fuel source for neurons (p.86). While more research needs to be done in order to determine the role of coconut oil for Alzheimer’s prevention, it doesn’t hurt to add a little in. It also tolerates heat better than olive oil. If you don’t like the flavor opt for expeller pressed!

Black Pepper
Besides adding flavor black pepper increases the absorption of curcumin by 2,000%! (p.41)

2 cans of wild caught salmon canned in water with bones and skin
5 tablespoons of almond flour
1 tablespoon curry
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil (or expeller pressed for no coconut flavor)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Juice from 1/2 lemon

Can opener
Medium mixing bowl
Immersion blender or food processor
Measuring spoons

• Open the cans of salmon, drain off excess fluid, then place contents in mixing bowl (or food processor). Add eggs, almond flour, and curry powder. Blend with immersion blender (or food processor) until curry is mixed throughout. Batter should easily scoop with spoon and should not be runny.

(notice the thick consistency of the batter)

• At this point, begin preheating the skillet to medium-high.

• Add the salt, pepper, and lemon juice and blend again.

• Add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to skillet. Using a large spoon (tablespoon) scoop the batter. You may have to mash it slightly so that it is flat. Flip when edges are brown. Continue adding coconut oil as needed to prevent cakes from sticking. Enjoy!
Makes 15-18 small cakes!

Written by Rebecca Bailey, Dietetics Student

All Olive Oils are Not Created Equal

By SeAnne Safaii-Waite, PhD, RDN, LD

One of the key ingredients to a long and healthy life is olive oil.  For years’ dietitians have been promoting the use of olive oil as a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. Because of its rich source of tocopherols, carotenoids and polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory properties olive oil has been shown to provide cardiovascular and anti-cancer effects.  Italy, Spain and Greece are the major producers of olive oil and it is the principal source of dietary fat in these countries.  But, not all olives or olive oils are created equally.

Consumers need to be careful.  Due to a high demand for olive oil many products have been adulterated by using inferior seed and nut oils, adding chemicals and misleading the consumer about the country the olives originated from. So, how can you be sure that you are getting high quality olive oil?

7 Tips for Choosing the Right Olive Oil

Tip #1:  Select Extra Virgin Oil
This title is given by the above certifiers to only the purest and best of olive oils. Extra virgin, guarantees that the oil is “cold pressed,” which means that it has been extracted mechanically from the olives.  Heat or chemical processing damages the fragile polyphenols. Extra virgin is the closest in flavor, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other heart-healthy components to the whole olive fruit itself.

Tip #2:  Look for the Certification Seal:
Look for a product that has been certified by one of these entities as trustworthy, authentic olive oil.

  • International Olive Council (IOC)
  • North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA)
  • California Olive Oil Council (COOC)
  • Denominazione d’Origine Protetta (DOP)
  • Protected Designation of Origin (PDO)

Tip #3: Look For a Single country of origin.
An olive oil label may say that it is produced in a particular country when, in fact, it was only bottled there. For example, “Product of Italy” does not necessarily indicate that the olives are grown or pressed in Italy—only that it was bottled there. Look for the phrase “Produced and Bottled,” which means that the oil is actually produced and bottled in the place of origin listed on the label.

Tip #4:  Choose Your Olive Wisely
Choose olive oil with the very highest levels of polyphenols by selecting these olive varieties: Coratina and Moraiolo from Italy…Cornicabra and Picual from Spain…and Koroneiki from Greece.  

Tip #5: Use it or Lose it
While olive oil is a wonderful source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, it does not age well.  In a recent study published in the Journal of Food Science and conducted by the agricultural department at the University of Foggia in Puglia, Italy, discovered that antioxidant levels in olive oil decreased by 40% after six months of storage. So when you purchase olive oil look for brands that specify production dates on their containers. The expiration or “best-by” date should be no more than 18 months from the date of purchase. If the harvest date is given, it should be less than one year ago. Remember, the more recent the production, the higher the amount, and bioavailability, of healthy compounds.

Tip #6: Buy your oil in a dark bottle or in a can
Since olive oil’s antioxidants are fragile and damaged by exposure to light, heat, and air, it is best to buy olive oil in tin or dark colored containers, store it at cool temperatures.  Many people store it above the stove top or near the stove top and this is not ideal because it is usually the warmest spot in the kitchen.  As soon as you use olive oil seal it to prevent oxidation.

Tip #7: Price Point
High quality olive oils are not cheap because they are carefully cultivated and processed to preserve the well-known taste and health benefits of the olive.  Think of them as an 18 month investment for your heart.  A high quality, 17 ounce bottle can range from $35.00-$100.00 and can usually be found in high-end specialty food stores or on-line.

Lastly, if you can’t afford high end olive oil, try adding whole olives to your diet.  Make a tapenade by blending pitted olives, olive oil, garlic and your favorite seasonings together for a dip, sandwich spread or pasta dish.  You can also add olives to your favorite summer salads.

Fermented Foods: One of the Secrets to a Long Life

SeAnne Safaii-Waite, PhD, RDN, LD

Many of your patients are interested in what they can do to not only live longer but improve the quality of their lives. Fermented foods are in the nutrition spotlight these days and well they should be for their probiotic contribution to the diet. Our interviews with centenarians around the world reinforced the notion that fermented foods should be part of our daily diet. But how can you help your patients add these stinky fermented foods to their daily diets?

Due to the probiotic content of fermented foods, some recent studies suggest that they may help alieve gut discomfort from ailments such as diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease. Though more research is needed to find out which strains of probiotics work best for what conditions, current evidence still gives good reasons for us to consider getting a daily dose of probiotics from a fermented food source.

Some fermented foods that seem to be more accepted include yogurt, sauerkraut (homemade), and soy sauce. Many people already are eating these foods without the full knowledge of their health benefits. Here are some not so widely consumed fermented foods: kefir milk, kombucha tea, tempeh, kimchi, miso and fermented cheeses, like pecorino. Some of these foods may be an acquired taste, but they are relatively easy to incorporate into the diet. Even beer and wine fall into the fermented food category.

For extremely motivated patients suggest making their own fermented foods. For example, pickles and sauerkraut are some of the easiest foods to ferment. Here is a great website for fermenting both of these foods: http://www.clemson.edu/extension/food_nutrition/canning/tips/46_fermenting_vegetables.html

For a great resource on fermentation recipes and processes check out Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods by Sandor Ellix Katz and Sally Fallon.

Alzheimer’s Awareness and Brain Month

June is Alzheimer’s Awareness and Brain Month.  There are many brain healthy foods we should be including in our diets.  One of those foods is walnuts. Walnuts are loaded with healthy fats, including omega-3 fatty acids and extremely important as we grow older. A 2012 Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease report found that eating walnuts as part of a Mediterranean diet was associated with better memory and brain function. Eat a handful of walnuts everyday as part of your Alzheimers prevention diet.