Asta-what?  Astaxanthin (asta-ZAN-thin) is the new anti-oxidant star.  This carotenoid is estimated to have 10 times the antioxidant power of beta-carotene and is 100 times more effective than Vitamin E.

Why is this important?

Oxidation, a naturally occurring process in our bodies, creates free radicals that cause significant damage to cells and organs.  It is a factor in every degenerative disease, including heart disease, cancer, eye disease and age-related memory decline.  Antioxidants help fight this process by neutralizing free radicals.

So how do you get this powerhouse of an antioxidant into your diet?  By eating wild Alaskan Salmon, shrimp, crab, crawfish and lobster.  Astaxanthin is the main carotenoid pigment found in crustaceans and wild Atlantic Salmon.  It is what gives them such a beautiful red-orange color.

Know Where Your Seafood Comes From

Wild Atlantic Salmon – Wild Salmon are full of astaxanthin because they eat krill and shrimp.  Farm raised salmon have never seen a shrimp.  They get their pink color from grain that contains a synthetic version of astaxanthin, derived from petrochemicals.  So make sure you buying wild salmon at the grocery store.  And when you dine out, ask the waiter whether their salmon is wild or farmed.

Crustaceans – Shrimp, crawfish, prawns and lobster are delicious ways to get your astaxanthin.  Just please, please make sure you are not buying seafood farmed in Asia.  Shrimp, catfish, prawns and other seafood farmed in China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia  are frequently poisoned with toxic illegal antibiotics.  Look for crustaceans that are labeled as coming from the US or Canada.

To get the right amount of this antioxidant, it is recommended that we make wild salmon, shrimp, crawfish and lobster part of our meals twice a week.  While this may be difficult to do, getting them on your plate at least once a week is sure to benefit your health.

Here’s a tasty shrimp recipe to help:

Bacon-Wrapped Grilled Shrimp Salad

1 lb. large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
3-4 rashers thin bacon, cut in half cross-wise
1 jalapeno, seeds removed, sliced into thin strips
1 ear corn
1 red bell pepper, halved and seeds removed
2 romaine hearts, washed and chopped
¼ cup canola oil
1/8 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar
dash of cayenne
salt and pepper to taste

Take one shrimp, and lay a strip of jalapeno along side it.  Take a piece of bacon and wrap it around the length of the shrimp and jalapeno a couple of times, stretching the bacon as you go.  Wrap remaining shrimp with bacon.  Heat a grill pan or BBQ grill, and grill shrimp for a few minutes on each side, until the bacon is crispy.  Set aside and tent with foil.  Grill the corn and red bell pepper for a few minutes total, rotating.

Cut the corn kernels from the corn cob. Cut the bell pepper into chunks.

Combine the oil, lime juice, sugar, cayenne, salt and pepper in a small jar and shake until well mixed.

To Serve:  Divide the romaine among 4 dinner plates.  Top with cut corn, bell pepper, grilled shrimp and drizzle with dressing.

Like the recipe and information?  Share this post with your friends and family.  They need their astaxanthin too!