11-17-2002, 09:41 AM
What do you eat daily in terms of Omega 3 food?
WHich pne would be the best sources of Omega 3 and what is the daily intake that one should have?
11-17-2002, 10:08 AM
I just found my answer to my query and I thought that it may be of interest to share with you.
What are omega-3 fats?
Omega-3 fats are polyunsaturated fats found in several different foods. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is one type of omega-3 fatty acid, which is present in plants and plant oils including linseed, canola, soy, walnut, legumes and dark green vegetables such as spinach, green peas and beans. ALA is converted into other forms of omega-3s once inside the human body. These other forms are known as eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexanaeoic (DHA) fatty acids. EPA and DHA are longer chain omega-3 fatty acids and are also found naturally in large quantities in the oils of many varieties of seafood and fish. Some meats and eggs can also provide a source of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet. DHA is also present in human breast milk1.
What are the health benefits of omega-3 fats?
Omega-3 fats from foods are essential, as the human body is unable to make them. Research indicates that DHA and EPA (from fish and seafood or via conversion from ALA) may be beneficial to human health, especially to the cardiovascular system.
Specific overall health benefits of omega-3 fats may include the following2:
Decreased level of blood triglycerides (a type of blood fat);
Decreased blood clotting which may decrease the risk of clots actually blocking arteries;
Decreased occurrence and symptoms of immune-related conditions eg rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and psoriasis.
It is also likely that DHA plays a major part in the development of normal vision and brain function in babies. DHA is present in human breast milk and also must be added to milk formulated for pre-term infants3.
How much do I need to include in my diet?
The National Heart Foundation in Australia14 currently recommends the following:
At least two fish (preferably oily fish) meals per week;
Both plant and marine omega-3 fats are consumed since it is possible that these different types offer health benefits via different actions in the body;
Plant-based omega-3 fat intake should be at least 2 grams per day. (See guide below.)
The New Zealand Dietetic Association also recommends similar intakes of omega-3s5.
Omega 3 Content of Plant Foods
Linseed (Flaxseed) Oil, 2 tsp (10ml) - 5.5 grams
Canola Margarine 1 tbspn (20g) - 1.2 grams
Canola Oil, 2 tsp (10 ml) - 1.0 gram
Walnuts, 15 halves (30 g) - 1.0 gram
Soy Beans, cooked, 1/2 cup (120 g) - 0.5 grams
ALA-enriched soymilk, 1 cup (250 ml) - 0.5 grams
Omega 3 Content of Fish
Salmon, Tuna, Sardines and Mackerel - 2.5 grams
Trout, Mullet, Swordfish - 1.5 grams
Can vegetarians and other people gain the benefits of omega-3ís if they do not eat fish or seafood?
Yes. Vegetarians and people who choose not to eat fish or seafood will obviously not be sourcing omega-3 fats via fish and seafood. However, they can obtain the benefits of these important fats by eating plenty of plant sources. A large supply of omega-3s through vegetables (eg green leaves, nuts and plant-based oils), eggs, dairy milk or ALA-enriched foods may still allow for an adequate production of EPA and DHA by the body in healthy adults1.
The final verdict
It is beneficial to eat a variety of foods containing omega-3 fats to obtain the potential health benefits, especially for heart health. If you do not eat foods containing DHA and EPA ie fish and seafood, it is important to include plenty of oils, nuts, seeds and green vegetables regularly in the diet.
The easiest EFA's are from flax seed oil.
Tastes like how rotten fish smells in liquid form, but ah well.
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