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The Healthy Cook’s Guide to Omega-3s

We couldn't write a story about fat and not include this powerhouse. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats, meaning our bodies can't make them: We have to get them from our diet. They lower our risk for heart disease, help regulate hormones, lower blood pressure, and play protective roles against cancer. The USDA encourages an average of 250mg per day.

Omega-3s are abundant in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and halibut, but does the cooking process render out some of this essential fat? And does most of it live in the fatty skin? We tested wild salmon prepared three ways: One was left raw for comparison; one was cooked and analyzed with the skin on; and the final was cooked and analyzed with the skin off.

Rest assured, cooking your fish won't break down the omega-3s. The skin does collect fat, and by removing it, you lose about a day's worth of omega-3s (250mg). However, the meat of the fillet still contains 2,200mg in just 3.5 ounces—nearly nine times the recommended amount.

The Takeaway: Whether raw, seared, or skinless, fatty fish is full of omega-3s. Buy it fresh, and cook it often. Try our quick and easy dinner: Salmon with Walnut-Avocado Guacamole.

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