I planned to sit and write this post all about the hot summer sun and protecting your skin, but as I do so I am sipping tea and watching the rain fall down… hard. I am even wearing socks. I hate wearing socks. But the dampness has gotten into my bones and doesn’t want to let go. Coincidently I also hate the damp.
Rain aside, the summer sun, and lots of BBQ’s, cottage weekends and catch-up sessions with friends on patios, leave you and your poor skin vulnerable to damage. What we put in our body is just as important as whatwe put on it when it comes to sun protection, and while there are many nutrients that come into play with this, today let’s focus on essential fatty acids. Is fatty acid metabolism at all interesting?? I don’t know – I am too much of a nutrition nerd to see the forest for the trees. I’m assuming no (?), so I’ll make it quick.
There are two fatty acids that our body needs:
- linoleic acid (an omega-6) and,
- alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3)
These are both short-chain fatty acids and our super-awesome body takes them and converts them into metabolically active longer chains.
Longer-chain fatty acids (LCFA) are where it is at…. they make hormone-like messengers that are important for our immune system by influencing inflammation, which is a critical component to our immune function (e.g. healing wounds, destroying viruses etc.). LCFA’s either help turn it on, or turn it off… both important to overall health.
While our bodies can make the longer chain fatty acids, eating them also does the trick…. Which means back to the food!
Salmon is a great source of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, which are precursors to a series of anti-inflammatory molecules….. too much sun = inflammation = cell damage = premature aging Omega3’s work to keep that inflammation in check before it can cause all those undue wrinkles, or worse (?) jowls…. No one wants jowls.
And while the summer sun may be the main culprit for our skin woes, too much alcohol, (read: all those BBQ’s, cottage weekends and patio sessions) sugar, fried foods, and smoking can all deplete our essential fatty acid stores resulting in dry, flaky skin, brittle hair, bleeding gums and lowered resistance to infection.
Whether your partying dockside or not, salmon, along with avocados, beans, hemp seeds, flax, leafy greens, sea veggies, and lots of nuts and seeds are the best way to boost your EFAs… which kind of sounds like an awesome salad in its own right. Today though is just all about the salmon in this super fresh quinoa bowl. Just saying, but this may be my new favourite way to eat salmon. Try it yourself and let me know.
- ½ cup quinoa
- 4-5 oz salmon
- Handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 6” piece of cucumber, diced
- ¼ red onion, sliced into half moons
- 1 large handful of parsley, roughly chopped
- 1 Tbsp capers, drained
- 2 Tbsp pine nuts
- Feta cheese
- 4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 lemon, juiced
- olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 450°F
- In a medium size pot, add quinoa to 1 cup boil water. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Season salmon with salt & pepper.
- Heat olive oil in a oven-proof skillet over medium high heat. Add salmon skin side down and fry for about 3-4 minutes. Flip and repeat on the other side frying for about 2-3 minutes.
- Flip salmon back to being skin-side down and place skillet in the oven. Cook for about 6 minutes. Allow to cool enough so you can handle.
- To a large mixing bowl add quinoa, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, parsley, capers and pine nuts. Mix to combine.
- Flake salmon into chunks and add to mixing bowl.
- Top with feta cheese, a good glug of olive oil and lemon juice. Toss lightly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.