You've probably heard about the benefits of consuming fish or fish oil. So you wonder, what's the catch? It's Omega-3 fatty acids! Omega-3's aid in brain development and may decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease. Besides fish, this healthy fat is found in flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts. There are 3 main types of Omega-3 fatty acids:
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) - found in plant oils such as flaxseed, soybean, and canola oils.
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) - found in fish and other seafood.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) - found in fish and other seafood.
Some ALA is converted into EPA and DHA, but only in small amounts. DHA and EPA are utilized easily by the body, which is why eating fish is considered the best way to increase your intake of Omega-3. Algal oil is a comparable vegan source of DHA and EPA.
Experts recommend consuming at least 2 servings of fish each week to meet recommended intakes of Omega-3 fatty acids. Another way to increase Omega-3’s is to add walnuts, flaxseed, and chia seeds to breakfast cereal, yogurt, or salads. Or, get creative and come up with your own combinations!
Talk to your registered dietitian if you are interested in taking a supplement!