The health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly the DHA and EPA varieties, are well documented and becoming well known.1 An estimated 17 percent of US adults consume fish oil supplements and since 2007, US fish oil sales have surged from $425 million to over $1 billion.2,3 While these figures are encouraging, more attention should be placed on omega-3 quality.
Because of their unique molecular structures, polyunsaturated fatty acids, including omega-3, are prone to oxidation.4 Heat, light, and oxygen can quickly degrade them, giving rise to harmful free radicals. Fish oil products vary considerably, but excessive oxidation is not uncommon.5
In general, whole fish provides better quality (less oxidized) omega-3 than extracted fish oils. Taking it one step further, raw fish provides better quality omega-3 than cooked fish. This doesn’t mean cooked fish is bad, but when raw fish opportunities present themselves, you shouldn’t hesitate. When your local supermarket has ultra-fresh tuna, mackerel, or wild salmon, for example, buy some and prepare a simple, delicious ceviche.
Ceviche hails from the coastal regions of Central and South America. Recipes vary, but most feature fresh fish, shrimp, squid, or other seafood marinated in citrus juices. Our recipe works for fatty fish and whitefish alike, but the kick of ginger pairs especially well with tuna. If you’re making ceviche with a stronger tasting fish like mackerel, you’ll want to add some diced onions and possibly forgo the ginger.
- 1 pound fresh tuna, cut into bite-size pieces
- 2-inch piece of ginger, grated
- 1 loose handful fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
- 1 loose handful fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
- 1 small mild chili, finely diced
- 1 lime, juiced (or 2 small limes)
- Olive oil (for drizzling)
- Freshly ground black pepper
Note: Supposing you’re preparing a takeaway lunch, you can contain the juices and olive oil in a Ziplock bag. Put all your chopped ingredients into a storage container and add the sealed Ziplock. Stir in the liquid ingredients when you’re ready to eat.
Thank you for reading,
Christopher James Clark, B.B.A. is a writer, consultant, and chef with specialized knowledge in nutritional science and healing cuisine. He has a Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan and formerly worked as a revenue management analyst for a Fortune 100 company. For the past decade-plus, he has been designing menus, recipes, and food concepts for restaurants and spas, coaching private clients, teaching cooking workshops worldwide, and managing the kitchen for a renowned Greek yoga resort. Clark is the author of the critically acclaimed book, Nutritional Grail.
1. Swanson, D., Block, R., & Mousa, S. A. (2012). Omega-3 Fatty Acids EPA and DHA: Health Benefits Throughout Life. Advances in Nutrition, 3(1), 1-7. doi:10.3945/an.111.000893
2. American Oil Chemists’ Society (AOCS). Omega-3 fatty acids: $13 billion global market. Retrieved June 6, 2014 from //www.aocs.org/Membership/FreeCover.cfm?itemnumber=17629
3. Doyle, K. (2013, December 16). Fish oil sales don’t reflect evidence. Reuters. Retrieved June 6, 2014 from //www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/16/us-fish-oil-sales-dont-reflect-evidence-idUSBRE9BF1DH20131216
4. Albert, B., Cameron-Smith, D., Hofman, P. L., & Cutfield, W. S. (2013). Oxidation of Marine Omega-3 Supplements and Human Health. BioMed Research International. (2013). Retrieved from //dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/464921
5. Halvorsen, B. L. & Blomhoff, R. Determination of lipid oxidation products in vegetable oils and marine omega-3 supplements. Food & Nutrition Research, 55, doi:10.3402/fnr.v55i0.5792