Crab Is King, Omega-3 Is Prime Minister

I don’t know how to cook crab. But tonight, as the 12 residential colleges faced off in Iron Chef Yale: The Final Cut, the culinary artists got creative.

Saybrook College freshmen Danijela Bule, J.J. Masko, and Katherine McComic swiftly working to prepare their crab dishes at the 3rd Annual Iron Chef Yale. On the menu? Wonton pot-stickers and mahi mahi stuffed crab!

So, besides serving as the contest’s “special ingredient,” what makes crab so special? Sure, king crabs, residing in the cold waters off the Alaska coast, are praised for their flavor and texture. (I’m not sure if the crabs are too thrilled about this compliment.) And perhaps consuming crab legs is not only tasty but also sharpens your dexterity skills–getting that savory crab meat sure is a challenge.

But lately, the King’s greatest publicity stunt has been for his good health. Crab legs, like other seafood, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Studies have shown that consumption of omega-3 rich foods can reduce the risk of heart attack and other coronary related diseases. Crab can lower triglyceride levels, blood pressure, and slow the build up of atherosclerotic plaques. Studies have shown that omega-3s boost the immune system and may alleviate Alzheimer’s symptoms.

The long-chain omega-3s, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), are known to have the greatest health benefits. In 2004, an FDA news release announced that “supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA [n−3] fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.”

As a friendly warning, companies are taking advantage of the indicated health benefits of omega 3 fatty acids. However, many products on the market that claim to contain ‘omega 3’ only contain α-linolenic acid (ALA), not EPA or DHA. These products contain mainly plant oils, and the ALA must be converted to DHA by the body, a process considered much less efficient.

The bottom line: Omega 3s are the real power behind the King Crab. Eat seafood over the supplement.

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