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Published on October 15, 2013

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

October 15, 2013

Definition

Omega 3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) that need to come from the diet because the body cannot produce them on its own. Omega 3’s are “good” or “healthy” fats that come from fish oil, nuts, and some plant sources. Omega 3’s are important for heart health and disease prevention.

Health Benefits

Research suggests that omega-3’s have the potential to:

  • Reduce the risk of arrhythmias
  • Reduce triglyceride levels
  • Increase HDL levels “good cholesterol”
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease and the formation of atherosclerotic plaque
  • Slightly decrease blood pressure
  • Lower the risk of stroke

General Recommendation

Consume 2,000-3,000 mg of omega 3’s per day. Taking an omega 3 supplement can help reduce cholesterol levels; however, eating more sources of omega 3’s in the diet is preferable. The American Heart Association recommends eating 2 servings (3-4 oz) of fatty fish every week.

Sources

  • Fatty fish:
    • Salmon, Mackerel, Halibut, Trout, Tuna, Herring, and Sardines
  • Flax seed
    • 2 Tbsp ground flax seed = 2,000 mg omega 3’s
    • 1 Tablespoon (Tbsp) seeds = 2 Tbsp ground (known as milled flax)
    • Keep flax in fridge in an airtight container to prevent it from becoming rancid (can keep up to 6 months refrigerated)
    • Virtually odorless & tasteless – can add to most anything
    • Try adding it to yogurt, cereal, muffins, casseroles, or even juice and smoothies
  • Walnuts
  • Vegetable oils: canola, soybean, and flaxseed
  • Fortified foods: Eggland’s Best Eggs, Heart Wise Minute Maid Orange Juice, Promise Margarine, Smart Balance Spread & Omega oil, Benecol Smart Chews, Kashi GoLean Crunch Almond Flax Cereal, and Yoplait Healthy Heart Yogurt.

Melissa Romano, RD, LDN
Certified Diabetes Educator

 

Sources: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyDietGoals/Fish-and-Omega-3-Fatty-Acids_UCM_303248_Article.jsp

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