Omega - 3 Fats

Omega - 3 Fats
Stefanie Senior

By: Stefanie Senior

Registered Dietitian, 
in collaboration with Live Right Now

Omega-3 fatty acids have received a lot of attention in the media, at the supermarket, and in the nutrition and fitness world. Why? Because these powerful dietary fats play a significant role in brain function, vision, normal growth and development, blood clotting and reducing inflammation.

They are also linked to a multitude of health benefits including protecting against heart disease and stroke and possibly diabetes, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and arthritis.

Omega-3s are especially important during pregnancy for neurological and early visual development of the baby which is why expecting mothers are urged to get enough.

Omega-3s are a family of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and are essential nutrients - meaning that we need to get them from food because our bodies cannot produce them.

There are three types: ALA, DHA, and EPA. ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) is found in plant-based foods such as ground flaxseed, walnuts and canola and soybean oil while EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) are found abundantly in cold water fish such as salmon, trout, arctic char, mackerel, herring, anchovies and sardines.

It is particularly important to get enough DHA and EPA, which is why it is recommended that Canadians get two servings a week of these rich oil fish. Whether it's salmon salad sandwiches, fish tacos, or pan-fried trout on a bed of mixed greens make sure to make fish a family staple!

Pay special attention to low mercury fish. For more information on consumption advise, visit Health Canada's website.

Curious how much Omega-3 you should be getting? Click here to use our Get Enough tool.

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