Omega-3 essential fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that have significant health benefits. These fatty acids help to prevent cancer, cardiovascular disease and stroke, and improve immune function, brain health and anti-inflammatory. However, health experts advise consuming omega-3 enriched foods in moderation as excessive consumption could lead to cardiac risk, increased incidence of bleeding, hemorrhagic stroke, increased oxidation products and LDL cholesterol and reduced glycemic control among diabetics.
There are two types of omega-3 fatty acids found in our diet: Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Our body partially coverts ALA to EPA and DHA.
ALA is commonly found in some vegetable oils such as canola oil, flaxseed oil, hulled hemp seeds, rapeseed oil, soybean oil and walnuts. ALA is also found in some green vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, and salad greens.
Fish is a not only a great source of protein but also contains some of the highest amounts of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids. Below are some of the best sources:
Fish with over 1 gram of omega-3 oils:
Anchovies, Atlantic bluefish, bluefin tuna, Chilean seas bass, herring, mackerel, sablefish, sardines salmon (Atlantic, coho, king, pink, sockeye), spiny dogfish and white fish.
Fish with between 0.5 to 0.9 grams:
Archtic char, halibut, pompano, rainbow trout, salmon (chum), shark, smelt, spot, striped bass, swordfish, tilefish and tuna.
Other sources of omega-3 are fish oil and omega-3 supplements. Dr Frank Sacks recommends taking 500 mg per day. These supplements are available in non-vegetarian and vegetarian options. Always consult with your doctor before consuming these supplements.
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