Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tuna casserole deficiency or cardiac arrest?

Manytuna Casserole
2 tuna-fish-can-sized cans of the cheapest tuna
1 package broad noodles
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 package of frozen green peas

Precook the peas. Precook some (not all) of the noodles. Mush together in the pot
you just cooked the peas in (after draining off some of the water): the peas, the tuna
fish, the cream of mushroom soup (just as it comes out of the can), and the following
seasonings: salt pepper paprika oregano and garlic salt
Beginning with the noodles, alternate in your casserole dish layers of cooked noodles
and mush-mixture, ending with mush-mixture. Sprinkle a little paprika on top for local
color. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or so (there being no cheese to melt in this recipe).

I was never deficient in tuna casserole after my mom sent me "The Impoverished Students' Book of Cookery, Drinkery, & Housekeepery." And a good thing too as medical research confirms that ample tuna casserole (or omega-3 fatty acids in any other form) is a good way to ward off death. Here's what researchers at the University of Washington found:

They gathered blood samples from 300 unfortunates who had pitched over mid-life from sudden cardiac arrest. They then minced up the red cell membranes from the dearly departed, analyzed them for omega-3 fatty acid content. This measurement of omega-3 fatty acids in red cells--specifically DHA and EPA--is called the omega-3 index and measures the levels of these worthy fats as a percentage of total fats in the cell membrane.

The omega-3 indices of the fallen were compared to those of a control group from persons of similar age who were still alive and well. This upstanding group--who doubtless loved tuna casserole or rare tuna steaks or anchovy pizza--were far more likely to own red cells with at least 5% omega-3 content.

A preventive cardiology group at the University of Munich crunched omega-3/risk of death numbers and came up with these compelling statistics for downing capsules even if they make your breath smell like a dead mackerel:

"A review of the literature, expanded by measurements of the omega-3 index, indicates that the risk of sudden cardiac death correlates inversely with the omega-3 index. For persons with an omega-3 index <4%,>8%.

So omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA (read the label on your fish oil supplement selections and choose the capsule with the highest content of these two components), have anti-atherosclerotic (prevents build-up of cholesterol plaque), and anti-arrhythmic (prevents your heart from beating too fast, too slow, or too irregularly) properties. Furthermore, that fishy oil in the red cell membranes makes them less likely to glump together in a clot and more likely to squish through narrow places.

What's your excuse for sneering at tuna casserole?


Anonymous said...

Too much carbs?

Tuna casserole with its noodly noodles is one of the many uber-delicious things I'm not allowed to have thanks to the Capitol Hill carb enforcer (who looks a lot like Adele but it can't be Adele because she couldn't possibly be so cruel!)

"his-self" said...

I used to eat a lot of sardines while on fishing trips. About 10 years ago I stopped because I thought they were too oily. I think I'll start eating them again and tell my wife "Doctor's Orders"???

Ruth said...

I wonder if the salt content of the casserole outweighs the good of the fish. I am like "his-self"...and love sardines. Even as a child I would zip open a tin and eat them on toast.

Naturegirl said...

Can't see eating sardines but this tuna casserole is worth a try!Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Whoda thunk it? The stuff is actually good for us!

JeanMac said...

I love tuna casserole!

femail doc said...

Hi Anon: Adele won't even eat one bite of a LeMars doughnut, so she's as tough on herself as she is on you. She means well, and she does indulge in peanut M&M's now and again.

His-self: I briefly toyed with trying sardines for a whole food sort of approach to omega-3's, but they're a little too whole for my comfort level. Does your wife object to the fish breath of it all or do they creep her out too?

Ruth: Oh my, sardines on toast... Yes, the salt, the carbs, the mercury of tuna casserole probably does cancel out the benefits, but it's such mushy comfort food; that must be worth something too.

Naturegirl: Thanks for stopping by. Your blog has so many wonderful thoughts and photos; I look forward to regular visits both ways!

Anon: Well, maybe not perfectly good, just don't put crumbled potato chips on top.

JM: I'm with you, but when did you actually make it last?

KGMom said...

I assume tuna sandwiches would work as well--that's a Sunday fav for me and hubby.

My son got me started on Omega 3 supplements--good son!

Reality Man said...

Dish seems to require a pea pot thingy, and a noodle pot thingy, and a casserole thingy: too many thingies.

Reality Man said...

OK, so the dogs licked clean the mush bowl(in which the noodles had boiled), the peas were 'waved without ceremony in some bowl or other, and everything went into a casserole, and Tobi had seconds.

femail doc said...

See, that wasn't so bad, now was it RM? So please assure us that the mush bowl then went into the dishwasher.

KGM: I love tuna sandwiches. Haven't had tuna casserole in ages but my bro's success makes me want to give it a try again.