Omega-3 rich foods you should be eating
Omega-3 fatty acids are part of a group of nutrients known as essential fatty acids (EFAs). They’re called ‘essential’ because they cannot be produced by the body and therefore must be consumed through the diet or from supplements. In the body EFAs are important structural components of cell membranes and are essential for a healthy heart, vision and nervous system. Omega-3 also has anti-inflammatory effects. With so many important health benefits, it’s recommended that you consume plenty of them in your daily diet.1
There are three main types of omega-3 found in our food. One type, known as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), is found in plant sources such as flaxseed, canola, soybeans and walnuts. It’s also found in dark green vegetables such as brussel sprouts, kale and spinach.2 The other two types, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are found mainly in oily fish such as halibut, herring, mackerel, oysters, salmon, sardines, trout and tuna. Your body can convert ALA into both EPA and DHA, but only in small amounts. For this reason, it’s usually advised that you focus on getting enough EPA and DHA in your food or through supplements.
To obtain enough omega-3 needed for good heart and general health, ensure you eat two to three servings of oily fish each week.3 If you’re vegetarian or simply don’t like the taste of fish, fortunately there are many foods that now contain added omega 3s and are available in most supermarkets. These include some brands of eggs, margarine, milk, juice, soy milk, yoghurt, bread, cereal, flour and pasta. Look for the words ‘with added omega-3’ on the label.4
Omega-3 supplements made from fish oil, krill oil, algae or flaxseed oil are also available in capsule and liquid form. These are ideal for those who prefer an easy and convenient way to ensure all their omega-3 needs are being met every day.
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Published February 19, 2015
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