Issue: # 11

December 2010


Dr. Nancy Emerson Lombardo with HealthCare Insights, LLC


Hello Friends!!

Happy Holidays! Hopefully you are keeping yourselves warm and are looking forward to spending time with your families.  As the snow begins to fall we hope you looking for brain healthy meals and snacks instead of the unhealthy comfort foods.

When thinking about what you should make for your holiday meals look into some brain healthy recipes. This month we’re featuring brain healthy cookies on our website (there’s one now and more coming). Also look for the featured brain healthy recipe in our newsletter. When you bring our brain-healthy cranberry sauce to your holiday party, it will be a show stopper.

We’re you intrigued by our last newsletter featuring Omega 3’s and have been patiently waiting for the 2nd part?  Wait no longer!  The 2nd part of our Omega 3 article is in this newsletter.  When you read through this article you will be fully informed on Omega 3’s and will be able to make brain healthy choices!


Oh, My…Omegas!  © Nancy B. Emerson Lombardo
THIS ARTICLE IS PART 2 of “Oh My…Omega’s! and focuses on Food Sources and Supplements

Omega-3 fatty acids make up a major part of brain and body cells but can only be ingested, not made by our bodies. Omega-3s are important for building brain cell membranes, dendrites and synapses.  They are also anti-inflammatory, and thus helpful for preventing or managing a variety of diseases. Choose fish (3 or more x a week!), seafood, fish oils, green leafy vegetables, walnuts, flax seeds, and purslane.


What are the Types of Omega-3’s?

There are two major types of Omega-3 fatty acids:

  1. alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is the plant form,
  2. eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which is the marine or “sea” form.  EPA and DHA are found in fish, algae and all seafoods and in grass fed and free range animals and poultry.

It is the marine form, DHA and EPA, that help make up our own brains and bodies cell membranes and other components, not ALA, the plant form.

Food Sources of Omega-3’s

ALA is found in vegetable oils such soybean, canola (rapeseed), and flaxseed, pumpkin seed, hemp seed, and perilla seed oils. Other sources of ALA include flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, wheat (especially wheat germ), hemp, soybeans, tofu, walnuts, kidney beans, purslane, and green vegetables such as kale, spinach, Swiss Chard, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, Chinese cabbage, bok choy, mustard greens (and all of the other types of Chinese green vegetables), grape leaves, cauliflower, and salad greens.

Most foods rich in ALA also contain vitamin E which is one of nature’s primary ways of preventing oxidation of the delicate Omega 3’s.  It is vitamin E in its multiple forms that also helps protect from oxidation the Omega 3’s in our brain cell membranes and dendrites! (see our website and previous article about Vitamin E).

Purslane, though considered an exotic weed in the US, is frequently eaten as a leaf vegetable in Europe, Asia, and Mexico. Not only is purslane a rich source of ALA (1 cup of fresh leaves contains about 300 to 400 mg), but it is also a source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, some B vitamins, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and iron. Some types of purslane are now sold as flowering plants; these are also edible.

What are the fish and animal sources of Omega-3’s?

EPA and DHA are found mostly in marine sources, especially in higher-fat, cold-water varieties of fish such as salmon, mackerel, albacore tuna, sardines, Atlantic herring, swordfish, and lake trout, as well as in algae and krill…so today they are referred to as “marine” Omega 3’s.

Surprising to many, PASTURE-RAISED (Free Range or Grass-fed) beef, lamb, and other animals, poultry and free-range chicken’s eggs are also rich sources of “marine” Omega 3’s including DHA and EPA.

Sixty percent of the fat content of grass is ALA Omega-3 fatty acid.  When animals consume grass and green leafy “weeds,” their flesh contains both ALA and the “marine” forms of Omega 3’s.  Just like humans, cattle convert the ALA they consume into EPA and DHA forms of Omega-3’s; an analysis of grass-fed beef shows that EPA is the most prevalent Omega 3. ALA is the second most prevalent Omega-3 in grass fed beef with DHA the least abundant.  But when transferred to the feed lot to be fattened on grains, the Omega-3 content rapidly diminishes until after just a few months in the feed lots, it is mostly gone.   Animals fed only grain have high levels of Omega 6’s and very low levels of Omega 3’s in their flesh… or milk or products made from animal milk.

Some varieties of eggs are Omega-3 enriched, with either ALA or DHA/EPA depending on what the chickens are fed, and whether they are free-range. Feeding chickens flaxseed and canola (rape) seed and greens increases mostly ALA content while feeding them algae and seaweed increases EPA and DHA content of the eggs.

Thus if you do eat animal foods, and you can afford it, go for the  grass fed and free range beef and lamb, and free range chickens, and/or Omega-3 eggs, and milk and cheese from grass fed cows.  This is especially important for meat lovers who are not eating enough vegetables!

How often should I eat fish and seafood?

The Memory Preservation Nutrition (MPN)® program recommends eating fish at least three times a week and ideally some fish, seafood and/or marine oil (from fish, cod liver, or calamari) every day of the week.

The MPN™ does not emphasize just oily or fatty fish, even though they are higher in Omega 3 fatty acids, for several reasons. The most important reason is that many non-oily fish also are relatively high in Omega-3’s and other important nutrients, and it is key that people try to eat fish that they enjoy eating.

What about contaminants in fish?

Though some fish contain mercury and other toxins the USDA and nutritionists say it is still safe to eat as much as 12 oz/week of those with problems (i.e. some domestic salmon, and those with higher mercury levels such as tuna, swordfish, and shark). However, pregnant women and small children are, as of late 2008, still cautioned by the USDA to avoid these particular fish.

Even more important though, pregnant women and small children need to consume fish, seafood, and fish oil to foster adequate brain and nervous system development for the fetus and child. There is indication that inadequate Omega-3’s in mother (during mother’s pregnancy and lactation) and child can result in poorer cognitive performance in school would otherwise be the case.  See for a discussion of how to achieve the benefits of fish while reducing any risks.

Benefits of Supplements

Omega-3 supplements are an important way to ensure that you are getting enough Omega-3 fatty acids for optimal brain and body health. The preferred form of supplementation is DHA and EPA from fish oils, cod liver oil, or calamari (squid) oil. Calamari oil is excellent form rich in DHA and EPA, especially for those with fish allergy concerns (or worried about sustainability of our fish supplies).

Typically the amount recommended depends on the primary reason you are taking the supplement. A general recommendation is to take enough of a supplement to ingest between 600 mg to 3g of combined DHA and EPA daily. Be sure to read the label as supplements have variable amounts of the “active ingredients” of DHA and EPA depending on the brand and type of oil or capsule.   Thus to achieve these amounts you might need to take two to four or many more of 1000 mg (large!) soft gels, or 1-3 teaspoons of an oil a day.  Be sure to let you doctor know if you are taking more than 3g of the active ingredients (DHA and EPA) because Omega-3’s thin the blood (thinning the blood is generally a good thing but may interact with other medical regimens you are pursuing, e.g. coumadin). Also be sure to purchase brands known to provide contaminant-free oils; the better companies have lab analyses proving “no detectible levels” of mercury, pcbs and dozens of other possible contaminants; these companies also properly process and package oils and capsules to prevent oxidation and spoilage.

Vegetarian alternatives include algae derived DHA/EPA or 2 Flaxseed Oil 1000 mg softgels (which typically each contain 450 mg ALA Omega-3). However, this is less optimal than supplementing with oils of a marine source because flaxseed oil contains the shorter chain ALA Omega-3 that needs to be converted by the body to DHA or EPA, and this is done much less efficiently as we age.

How do I find out what is best for me?

Dr. Nancy Emerson Lombardo can be reached by e-mail or phone for inquiries about what supplements would be best for you personally, and which brands are best. She also offers preferred nutritional supplements including some Omega-3 products through her website or by phone or email.


Yummy Recipes for the Holidays!
Make a Brain Healthy Cranberry Sauce this Year!

MPN™ Nancy’s Cranberry Fruit Nut Holiday Sauce- a Brain Healthy (No Added Sugar) Recipe © 2009 Healthcare Insights, LLC

Yield:25 servings (2 Qts)




Fresh Raw Cranberries – rinse and remove any soft berries 1 ¼ pound (1 &1/8 quarts after cleaning)
Diced ripe pear (Overripe is best. Leave skin on. May substitute ripe grapes, plums.) 1 cup plus
Diced ripe apple (Skin on, remove any bruised or spoiled areas. Soft or wizened fine.) 1 & ½ cups
*Fresh pecans or walnuts (shelled & chopped) 1 ½ cups
Zest of 1 (or ½) Orange (dice the rest or just squeeze into sauce) 1 (or ½) medium orange
LIQUIDS: need total of about 2 cups any combination – may substitute other sweet fruit juices as available:
Apple cider or juice ¾ cup
Orange Juice ¾ cup
Water ½ cup
Cinnamon 1 tsp
Pumpkin Pie Spice mixture 1 tsp
Natural non-sugar sweetner:optional
Stevia powder TINY pinch(1/8 packet)


Truvia® (mixture of stevia & erythritol) 2 packets


Honey (this adds over 100 calories and carbs) ¼ cup





  1. Wash, clean, dice or chop all fruit and nut ingredients
  2. Grate orange for zest, chop orange sections
  3. Combine fruits, chopped nuts and zest into large 4 qt. cooking pot.
  4. Pour in 2 cups of liquid (mixture of fruit juices and water)
  5. Stir
  6. Add cinnamon and pumpkin pie spices
  7. Optional: add minimal amount of natural, no calorie sweetener (you really don’t need this as the fruit juices, apples, pears etc are sweet enough to balance sour of cranberries).
  8. Stir.
  9. Place pot on the cooktop, on high or relatively high heat
  10. Stir the mixture until it comes to a boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring as the cranberries “pop” and split.
  11. Remove from stove and allow to cool to room temperature
  12. Store in refrigerator until ready to be served.

*To have an Omega 3 rich recipe use walnuts instead of pecans.


Place in serving bowls and serve….

NOTE:May be served cool or at room temperature.

Any leftovers can be stored in refrigerator, usually keeps 1 month or longer.

Or, you can heat to boiling and use sterile canning processes to put into cup or pint-sized sterilized glass jars for future holiday meals. (or holiday gifts!)

© 2010 Nancy Emerson Lombardo Ph.D., and colleagues, HealthCare Insights, LLC.All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, Photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of HealthCare Insights, LLC.Direct correspondence to Nancy Emerson Lombardo, Ph.D. nemerson@healthcareinsights.net978-621-1926


For more Brain Healthy Recipes check out the recipe page on the website.


Website experiencing technical difficulties which makes it slow to upload information and you have to personally refresh the website or shopping cart in order to see in the cart what you have chosen to purchase.  The site is secure and your purchase will be recorded correctly by paypal; but if all this is just too cumbersome, just email Dr. Emerson Lombardo directly and tell her what you are interested in purchasing or asking questions about and she’ll get back to you by email or otherwise.

Save 20% on any nutritional supplements ordered on-line in November and December 2010
Go to our website:

Offer Expires: December 31st, 2010


Public invited to presentations by Dr. Emerson Lombardo on Dec 16th 2010 and Feb 15th, 17th and 22nd and April 6th and 27th 2011.
See Dr. Emerson Lombardo in Person!

December 16th, 2010: “Brain Healthy Eating” featured at Lunch and Learn, Concord Council on Aging.
This free event is open to the public and will be held at Harvey Wheeler Community Center, 1276 Main St, Concord MA 01742. RSVP to Concord COA (978) 318-3020.  This event starts at 12 noon. Check out the event page at

Feb 15th, 2011: Food for Thought
This free event will be held in Danvers, MA at Putnam Farms in Danvers, 9 Summer Street, Danvers MA, 01923. This event runs from 5:00-7:00pm. Brain healthy refreshments will be available at 5:00pm with presentation starting at 5:30pm. Check out the events page at

Feb 17th, 2011: Brain Healthy Nutrition
This free event is part of the regular meeting of the Healthcare Disparities Coalition which will be held in Roxbury, MA at the Twelfth Baptist Church, 150 Warren St, Roxbury MA 02119. This event starts at 11:00am. Visitors welcome. Please RSVP with Richard Roy 617-296-0849 at  Check out the events page at

Feb 22nd, 2011: Highlights of Brain Healthy Eating
This free event will be held in Burlington, MA Atria Longmeadow Place, 42 Mall St, Burlington, MA 01803.  This event starts at 3:00pm sharp where Dr. Nancy Emerson Lombardo will be a featured speaker. Please RSVP to Hilary Viola at Check out the events page at

March 24th, 2011: Brain Healthy Nutrition
This free event will be held in Framingham, MA at Callahan Senior Center, 535 Union Ave, Framingham, MA 01702. This event starts at 11:00am.  Registration is free and there will be a free lunch available.  This event is sponsored by Compass at Golden Pond and the Metrowest Alzheimer’s Partnership. Check out the events page at

April 6th, 2011: Food For Thought: Brain Healthy Eating
This free event will be held in Jamaica Plain, MA at the Springhouse Retirement Community, 44-46 Allandale Street, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130.  This event starts at 8:00am and will go until 9:00am.  Open to the public and will be held in the Main Street room.  Please RSVP to Springhouse Retirement Community, Karen Pollack 617-971-1678 or Check out the events page at

April 27th, 2011: Healthy Eating for a Healthy Brain
This free event will be held in Leominster, MA at Fidelity Bank, 9 Leominster Connector, Leominster MA 01453.  This event starts at 9:00 and Dr. Nancy Emerson Lombardo will be speaking from 9:00am-10:30am and is open to the public. RSVP with Julie McMurray at or 508-799-2386. Please check out the events page at


Happy Holidays to you and yours from Nancy, Samantha, Cheryl, and Shirley, The HealthCare Insights Team.

Nancy is available to answer all questions via e-mail.

Look for her monthly column in the South Shore Senior News!

For brain health consultations for yourself, your family, or your organization contact Nancy for further information or to book an appointment. 978-621-1926 or email at


Nancy Emerson Lombardo, PhD
HealthCare Insights, LLC
P.O. Box 2683 , Acton , MA 01720

© 2010 HCI

2-Yummy Recipes for the Holidays (link)

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