Studies show that a diet high in omega-3 fats improves mood and can help you remember things better. It also helps keep your joints healthy, decreases inflammation, lowers cholesterol, and helps fight depression.
And where do we get omega 3 fats?
We get them through food.
You’ve probably heard that some of the best sources of omega 3’s are walnuts and flax seed, but did you know you can also get this valuable nutrient in spinach, Chinese broccoli, lettuce, turnip greens, zucchini, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, and winter squash?
Omega-3’s and Fish
Omega-3’s can also be found in fish and other seafood. However, many researchers believe obtaining omega-3’s from plant sources to be a better strategy since plants are also a good source of fiber and don’t contain the risk of mercury that fish do. In addition, a recent study linked the fat found in fish to a higher risk of prostate cancer.
And the omega-3 found in plants provides for other essential functions in the human body that the omega-3’s from seafood does not.
The most delicious way to eat omega-3’s
One of my very favorite way to get omega-3 fats is in these luscious Flax Date Bars.
These bars are what most people would call energy bars, but I really dislike the term “energy bars”. Since when did real food like beans, blueberries, and broccoli not supply energy? Since when did we need little bars and cookies for energy?
(Ever since the packaged food companies discovered that calling an unhealthy, packaged food an “energy bar” would make them a lot of money.)
So, I don’t really like calling these energy bars. They are simply a healthy addition to breakfast or a super healthy replacement for unhealthy dessert. But if you want to call these energy bars, go ahead; you have my permission 🙂
How to grind flax seed
I avoid buying pre-ground flax seed since the healthy fats start to break down very soon after they are exposed to air. It’s better to buy your flax seed whole and grind it as needed.
Grinding your own seed is so very easy. Simply place the whole seeds in a coffee grinder and push the button. Voila! You have ground flax seed.
How to Eat Flax Seed
Flax Date Bars
Yield 16 1 3/4-inch squares
This yummy "energy" bar is loaded with omega-3's for a healthy body and a healthy mind.
1 1/4 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
1/3 cup flax meal (finely ground flax seed - see note)
1 cup raw almonds
1/8 teaspoon salt, scant
3 1/4 cup pitted dates (see note)
1/4 teaspoon almond flavoring, scant
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, scant
1 1/3 cup Maple Nut Granola
- Place coconut, flax, almonds, and salt in food processor and process until finely chopped. (This takes about 30 seconds in my food processor.)
- Add dates, and almond and vanilla flavor, and process until dates are finely chopped. Mixture will begin to stick together. (This takes about 30 seconds in my food processor.).
- Add granola, and process until all ingredients well mixed and granola is chopped. (This takes about 1 minute in my food processor.).
- Press mixture into an 8-inch x 8-inch pan. Cut into squares.
Makes sixteen 1 3/4-inch squares or twenty 1 1/2- x 1 3/4-inch. Best stored in freezer.
1. The exact amount of dates needed depends on the type of dates you use. After step 2, test mixture. It should stick together when squeezed in between fingers.
2. Be sure ingredients are finely chopped in step one or the bars will not stick together.
3. This recipe requires a large (12- to 14-cup) food processor. If your food processor is smaller, divide recipe in half and press into a loaf pan instead of an 8-inch pan.
Make Ahead Tip:
These bars freeze well. They can be made ahead and kept in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 6 months.