Healthy scavenger hunt. Let me clue you in, at Salty’s it’s time to come hunt for crustaceans. They are all over our menu and ready for your choosing. Winter months are prime for the freshest catch of prawns, crab and lobsters and picking your favorite tasty preparation is such an incredible adventure.
We love to eat these delicious denizens of the deep, but have you ever wondered how they like to dine? The diet of the crustacean focuses primarily on scavenging for what we might call “small plates” containing itty-bitty servings of micro-algae and krill (oh yum). These food sources turn out to be of tremendous benefit to us. Although they are small in size, they are powerful in effect. This phytonutrient diet of the prawn, lobster and crab contains one of the most powerful antioxidants found in nature, a nutrient called astaxanthin (I am tripping over my tongue just trying to say it!). Antioxidants such as astaxanthin are like a team of scavenger hunters. They play a very important role in helping the body deal with naturally occurring free radicals and excess oxidation by stabilizing them on a molecular level. If left unchecked, those two gamers would wreck havoc in your body on a cellular level. They cause chain reactions and the cellular damage that contributes to many difficult disease states including cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and arthritis. All of these diseases have chronic inflammation as a huge contributing factor.
Scientists do not have all the answers as to why and how the antioxidants work to decrease inflammation, but here is a hint: They know they do not work alone. They have teammates of do-gooders, but we don’t entirely know who they are or how significant their role is. Each one works on solving a clue in the game of keeping you healthy. What scientists do believe is that you can’t get these benefits from popping a supplement pill alone. The riddle is far more complex than that. It requires the integration of ingredients from whole foods and all of those nutrients working together. As complex as it may sound, the answer is really quite simple. Eating a well-rounded diet is the key to winning this game.
Check out my “Good for You!” blog from August 2009 called “Color Yourself Healthy” for a variety of hints.Speaking of healthy coloring, interestingly enough this wonderful antioxidant astaxanthin is the very thing that gives our lobster, crab and prawn shells their beautiful color of red. Salmon gets the same rosy benefit from astaxanthin, too. It’s just another colorful hint in the scavenger hunt toward health. For more informative clues, visit livestrong.com, and for more delicious clues, come to Salty’s waterfront seafood restaurants!