6 Omega-3 Rich Foods – Better Nutrition

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In the fury over fats, we can all agree on one thing: omega-3 fatty acids have potent health benefits. Dozens of studies suggest that omega-3s can protect against cardiovascular disease, inflammation, arthritis, cognitive decline, mood disorders, and possibly cancer.

Because your body can’t make them, omega-3 fats must be consumed through supplements or food sources. But here’s the catch: not all omega-3s are interchangeable. The omega-3s found in fatty fish such as salmon and sardines are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), while plant sources of omega-3s, such as walnuts and flaxseed, contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). The body converts ALA into EPA and DHA through a series of chemical reactions, but the conversion ratio is very low—in some studies, as little as 5 percent of ALA is converted to EPA, and less than 0.5 percent to DHA.

Additionally, the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats in the diet is crucial. Healthy ratios of omega-6 to omega-3 fats range from 1:1 to 4:1. But the typical Western diet, high in processed foods, is often closer to a 16:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3, which promotes inflammation and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and autoimmune diseases.

While there’s no RDI for omega-3s, most experts recommend 250–500 mg combined EPA and DHA every day for healthy adults. Here are six great food sources of these healthy fats.



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