People often consider how their diets will nourish
their bones, teeth, skin or heart, yet rarely consider their brain.
But nourishing your brain is central to overall well–being.
Omega 3 fatty acids are essential fats that are involved in
the brain, eye and nerve development of infants and young
children. They’re also heart healthy. But our bodies cannot
produce them so we must get them from food sources, such as
salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring, anchovies and arctic char.
Other sources are ground flaxseeds, canola and soybean oil,
soy products and walnuts.
Canada's food guide recommends eating at least two
servings (2-1/2 ounces or 75 grams) of fish each week, with an
emphasis on fattier fish rich in omega 3s and lower in mercury,
such as salmon, trout, char and sardines. (If you're concerned
about the mercury content of fish—an important consideration
for children and pregnant women—visit Health Canada at hc–
sc.gc.ca for detailed information.)
Beyond omega 3s, antioxidants protect against cell
damage. Antioxidants are vitamins, minerals and other plant
substances that slow down or prevent damage caused by
free radicals, something that occurs daily as we are exposed
to our environment. Vitamins and minerals with antioxidant
properties include vitamin E, vitamin C and beta–carotene,
which are readily found in fruits and vegetables.
Here's a meal rich in all of the above—omega 3 fatty
acids from salmon, walnuts and flax oil, and a rainbow of
antioxidants and other essential nutrients from spinach,
peppers, mango and berries.