Omega-3: where to find the best sources of intake

Omega-3s are types of fat that have multiple health benefits, including for the heart, brain, good mood, and to fight chronic inflammation. They are absolutely essential for the proper functioning of the body, but are relatively rare in the modern diet. Here are the best sources to ensure good intakes.

Some omega-3s are “essential” fats, which means the body cannot make them, so we must consume them through food and supplements. They play important roles in the proper functioning of the heart, the brain, but also the hormonal and inflammatory systems.

Two types of omega-3s

There are two major families of omega-3s: those of plant origin and those of animal origin. Although both forms are essential to the body, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) have the most proven heart health benefits.

Fatty fish rich in Omega-3

Fatty fish are unquestionably the best sources of EPA and DHA. Good examples are salmon, trout, anchovies, sablefish, sardines, blue mackerel and turbot. We recommend consuming two servings of fish each week to meet our marine omega-3 needs.

Some plant sources

Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is an omega-3 found in plant products such as flax, chia, soy, walnuts, canola and hemp. ALA is an essential fatty acid for health, but it is not as “effective” as EPA and DHA which are of marine origin in preventing various diseases such as heart disease. It can be transformed into EPA and ADH by the body, but this conversion is very inefficient (less than 10%).

Fortified foods, a contribution to the margin

Since omega-3s are very popular, this has prompted several manufacturers to enrich certain consumer products such as butter and margarine. While it’s relevant to increase our intake of omega-3s and these foods do help, none come close to fatty fish. Those fortified with EPA and DHA come a little closer than those fortified with ALA, but you would often have to eat unrealistic amounts to equal a serving of fish.

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In addition, fish offers a range of different nutrients, not just omega-3s. In short, it is difficult to replace it with fortified foods.

Omega-3 supplements

If the diet is sufficiently varied and allows an omega-3 intake, the recommended daily allowances should be there. The use of food supplements rich in Omega-3 may be justified in the event of a proven deficiency or when a sustained intake is required over the medium term to help fight against depressive symptoms, a chronic inflammatory state or local inflammation. Of course, nothing is better than a healthy diet that provides regular intake.

* At press health we strive to transmit medical knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace medical advice. [HighProtein-Foods.com]

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