Eat Your Omegas
Omega oils are among the top-rated skin supplements available on the market, due to their propensity to deeply hydrate and nourish the skin from the inside out. But their benefits don't stop there, they can also be beneficial to the heart and to mental health, with various studies showing that regular consumption can help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. Something we discovered is that sardines are not only delicious, they are also underused and undervalued. These little beauties, along with salmon, herring and other oily fish, contain some of the highest levels of Omega-3 found in any given food source. They can also easily be incorporated into a delicious and nutritious lunchtime salad recipe. To read more about the benefits of our key ingredients and to see the recipe for our omega-rich sardine salad, keep reading.
The benefits of sardines for the skin are numerous. The Omega-3 contained in this fish and other cold water species are largely composed of EPAs (Eicosapentaenoic acids) and DHAs (Docosahexaenoic acids). Research has shown that these fatty acids are not naturally produced within our bodies and therefore must be consumed regularly via what we eat, as they play an essential role in any healthy diet. They have three major effects on our skin. First, fatty acids contain anti-inflammatory properties which not only help to combat breakouts and heal skin conditions such as psoriasis, but also more importantly can lower our risk of developing skin cancer. Second, Omega-3 oils can also improve our response to UVA and UVB rays by reducing our skin's sensitivity. This does not mean we should skip applying our daily sunscreen, it simply serves in protecting our skin further. Finally, sardines are packed with protein and act as a great source of amino acids. In the words of dermatologist Paula Begoun, "Amino acids help build dermal density, increase skin brightness, provide defenses from environmental hazards and improve skin hydration."
Onions not only help to add flavour to every dish, they also have a host of benefits. They contain anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which help to purify our blood. This in turn, can benefit our skin by reducing breakouts. Onions are also rich in Vitamin C, a potent antioxidant which helps to reverse cell damage, encouraging a healthy glow.
Cherry tomatoes are full of antioxidants including Vitamin C, Vitamin A and lycopene. This potent cocktail of antioxidants helps to ward off the formation of precancerous cells, reverse cellular damage and also protects the skin from UVA and UVB rays by fighting against oxidative damage.
Arugula and all dark leafy greens contain a substance called chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is a phytonutrient which is chemically similar to haemoglobin that serves the essential function of carrying oxygen to our cells. Incorporating good amounts of leafy greens into our diet is essential to alkalise, detoxify and oxygenate our blood.
Now that we've covered the benefits, let's move onto our recipe!
1 packet of arugula measuring 5 Oz/142 grams
1/3 medium onion
1 handful of black olives
1 can of wild sardines - (ideally purchase those with their skin still on, as a lot of the nutritional content is found there)
1 handful of chopped cherry tomatoes
The juice of 2 lemons
3 tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Take a large salad bowl and start by filling it with your washed arugula leaves. Separately, take your onion and begin to cut across it horizontally. Do this 2 - 3 times to produce circular onion rings. Once ready, scatter these over the top of your salad. Follow by adding black olives to your bowl. With your hands debone your sardines by cutting them down the side, removing the bone which runs down the centre of the fish. Once the bones have been discarded, break the sardines up into smaller chunks and distribute these over the salad. Cut your cherry tomatoes in half and add these to your bowl. Finish by drizzling your lemon juice and olive oil. You can season your salad by adding salt and pepper to taste. Once all of your ingredients are together, mix them well with your salad tongs.
We recommend only adding your dressing right before you are ready to consume your salad so that the arugula leaves stay fresh and do not turn soggy. You can add your salt and pepper at this time as well. This recipe serves approximately 3 large plates, and would be suitable to serve two people for lunch. Should you wish to make it more filling you can add a couple of slices of toasted sourdough bread on the side, which can be served with some olive oil for dipping.
*Things to Note*
BPA is a chemical which can often be found in the lining of canned foods. When shopping at your local supermarket, be sure to check the label of your sardines, to make sure that it says BPA free. You should aim to do this with all canned foods that your purchase. Whole Foods's own brand, 365, offer a good and cost-effective BPA free alternative.