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Omega 3 Fatty Acids: A Good Fat to Have

Wednesday, May 29, 2019
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What are Omega-3s?

Omega-3 fatty acids are an “essential fatty acid”, meaning the body cannot make them, so we must include them in our diet (or supplement). There are three main types of omega-3s:

  • DHA and EPA – found in marine (seafood) sources
  • ALA – found in plant sources (vegetables and algae)

Omega-3s serve many important functions in the body including

  • Structure for cell membranes
  • Contribute to cardiovascular, eye, and brain function
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Reduce triglycerides and blood pressure
  • Increase HDL cholesterol (the protective cholesterol)

Food Sources of Omega 3s

Omega-3s are part of the polyunsaturated fat family. Common sources include:

  • Fish – all fish, especially fatty fish (such as salmon, sardines, swordfish, sea bass), are sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. Aim for 2-3 four-ounce servings per week
  • Nuts & Seeds & legumes – Walnuts, ground flaxseed, chia seeds, legumes (edamame, chickpeas)
  • Vegetable Oils – flaxseed oil, canola oil
  • Leafy greens – kale, spinach, other dark greens
  • Blue green algae

Supplement Sources of Omega 3s

It is always first recommended to use FOOD FIRST for all sources of nutrients. However, supplements for omega 3s may be indicated for individuals who have a history or higher risk for inflammatory disease. When evaluating omega-3 supplements, look for marine sources containing DHA and EPA.  It is recommended to supplement 1-4 grams of DHA+EPA. Always consult your health care team before starting any supplements.

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