Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat and are especially beneficial to your health. There are different types of omega-3s: EPA and DHA are found in fish and algae and have the most health benefits, while ALA comes from plants and is a less potent form of omega-3, although the body does convert ALA to EPA and DHA at low rates. Research has shown that a diet rich in omega-3s may help to: Prevent and reduce symptoms of depression, ADHD, and bipolar disorder Protect against memory loss and dementia Reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer Ease arthritis, joint pain, and inflammatory skin conditions Support a healthy pregnancy Battle fatigue, sharpen your memory, and balance your mood…The Best Sources of Omega-3s
Fish: the best source of omega-3 (high in EPA and DHA)
• Anchovies • Herring • Salmon • Mackerel • Sardines • Trout • Tuna • Mussels • Oysters • Halibut
Vegetarian sources of omega-3s (high in ALA)
The Best Sources of Omega-3s
• Algae such as seaweed (high in EPA and DHA) • Eggs (small amounts of DHA) • Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil • Chia seeds • Canola and soybean oil • Walnuts • Mayonnaise • Edamame • Beans (refried, kidney, etc.) • Brussels sprouts • Kale • Spinach
How much omega-3s do you need? The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that people with documented heart disease get about 1 gram of EPA plus DHA per day. For the rest of us, the AHA recommends eating at least two 3.5 oz. (100 g) servings of fish per week. Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines and albacore tuna are highest in omega-3 fatty acids. If you don’t care for fish or you want to be sure to get your daily omega-3s, you may want to take an
omega-3 supplement, widely available over the counter. Try to include a variety of ALA-rich oils, nuts, seeds, and vegetables in your diet.
What to do about mercury in fish Despite the health benefits, nearly all seafood contains traces of pollutants, including the toxic metal mercury. The concentration of pollutants increases in larger fish, so avoid eating shark, swordfish, tilefish, and king mackerel. Most adults can safely eat 12 oz. (two 6 oz. or 170 g servings) of cooked seafood a week. For women who are pregnant, nursing mothers, and children under 12, choose fish lower in mercury, such as shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, Pollock, or catfish. You can also protect yourself by varying the types of fish that you include in your diet.
Omega-3 supplements While
omega-3s are best obtained through food, there are many
omega-3 and fish oil supplements available. Fish oil contains no mercury (mercury binds to protein, not fat) and very low amounts of other contaminants. One capsule a day usually supplies about 200 to 400 mg of EPA plus DHA, and should be enough for most people. If you need to substantially lower your triglycerides, your doctor may recommend prescription fish oil, which has been concentrated to contain about 900 mg of EPA plus DHA per capsule. For strict vegetarians or vegans, as well as obtaining ALA from food sources, look for capsules containing DHA and EPA extracted from algae, the original source of omega-3s for fish….Tips for taking supplements For some, fish oil capsules can be hard to swallow and may leave a fishy aftertaste. Keeping the capsules in the freezer before taking them can help or you can look for odorless or deodorized capsules….
Cholesterol is a fatty, wax-like substance that your body needs to function properly. In and of itself,
cholesterol isn’t bad. But when you get too much of it, it can have a negative impact on your health. As with dietary
fat, there are good and bad types of
cholesterol is the “good” kind of
cholesterol found in your blood. LDL
cholesterol is the “bad” kind. The key is to keep LDL levels low and HDL high, which may protect against heart disease and stroke. Conversely, high levels of LDL
cholesterol can clog arteries and low HDL can be a marker for increased cardiovascular risk. Rather than the amount of
cholesterol you eat,
the biggest influence on your cholesterol levels is the type of fats you consume.
Choosing healthy oils Vegetable oils lower LDL
cholesterol and triglycerides, and raise HDL or good
cholesterol. Oils such as corn, sunflower, safflower, and soybean contain
omega-6, a type of polyunsaturated
fat that may help to reduce insulin resistance and inflammation. Use naturally occurring, unhydrogenated vegetable oils such as olive, canola, safflower, and sunflower oil whenever possible. Less processed oils, such as cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, contain potentially beneficial phytochemicals. When using olive oil, opt for “extra virgin,” which may have additional heart benefits over regular olive oil.,,,What about tropical oils, such as coconut and palm oil? The food industry likes to tout the benefits of tropical oils, while dietary guidelines shun these oils. Who is right? These oils can have complex effects on blood
cholesterol levels—for example, raising “bad” LDL
cholesterol but also raising “good” HDL
cholesterol, for example-while their effects on other markers for heart disease are not yet clearly known. • For now, it’s safer to stick to vegetable oils since there’s stronger evidence that these oils are heart healthy. • If you occasionally want to eat something that contains coconut or palm oil, enjoy it as a treat—it’s better than eating something with trans fat, which these tropical oils often replace.Good sources of the “good” types of fat that you should think about incorporating into your diet include