Food of the Month

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Canned salmon and the amazing benefits of omega-3
‘Low in saturated fat, rich in zinc and a great source of omega-3s – there are plenty of reasons to eat canned salmon,’ says Foodwatch dietitian and nutritionist Catherine Saxelby. ‘It is also high in protein and full of iodine, potassium and zinc. Make sure you eat the small edible bones, one 100 g can provides 200–230 mg of calcium – 20 per cent of the recommended daily intake.’

We asked diabetes dietitian Kaye Foster Powell what’s so great about omega-3s for people with diabetes. ‘People with large amounts of omega-3 fats in their diet are less likely to have type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes,’ says Kaye. ‘What’s more, these fats are a must for a healthy heart – and they don’t upset your blood glucose levels. There are lots of ways omega-3 fats can help you.


  • They make your platelets less sticky and lower fibrinogen levels (fibrinogen is a blood-clotting factor). This means they decrease the chance of forming blood clots throughout your body, thus reducing the likelihood of a heart attack, stroke, or embolism (clot)
  • They make your red blood cells more flexible so your blood flows more easily, lowering your blood pressure and improving delivery of nutrients and oxygen to your cells
  • They lower blood fats (especially triglycerides) and increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels
  • They stabilise your heartbeat, preventing heartbeat abnormalities (arrhythmia) that can lead to cardiac arrest
  • They may reduce microalbuminuria (an abnormally high amount of protein in the urine) and thus help patients on dialysis (a machine to filter the kidneys)
  • They may elevate your mood, lift depression and improve your ability to deal with stress
  • They reduce inflammation and can relieve symptoms of arthritis, and
  • They may reduce the output of the stress hormone adrenaline.’

Boost your omega-3s with this delicious low GI recipe from Catherine Saxelby’s Zest cookbook co-authored with Woman’s Day food director Jennene Plummer.

Fusilli with salmon and baby spinach
Serves 6


500 g fusilli, or another pasta of choice
spray oil
250 g punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
2 garlic cloves, sliced
210 g can red or pink salmon, drained and flaked
1/2 cup extra-light cream or light evaporated milk
juice 1 lemon
60 g baby spinach leaves
chopped chives and grated parmesan
cheese to serve

  • Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling water, following packet instructions. Drain the pasta well and set aside, keeping warm.
  • Heat a large frying pan on high. Spray with oil. Sauté the tomatoes and garlic for a minute then stir in the salmon, cream and lemon juice. Lower the heat and simmer gently for 2–3 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the mixture has thickened slightly.
  • Toss the sauce through the hot pasta with the spinach leaves. Serve topped with chives and a little parmesan. Accompany with salad.

Per serving (including a generous serve of side salad with vinaigrette dressing)
1700 kJ/405 Cal, 9 g fat (includes 2.5 g saturated fat), 62 g carbohydrate, 5 g fibre