Here at Nutrition Tuition we aim to help reduce that confusion you may have surrounding certain ‘buzz’ words/phrases that are spoken about regularly in the media and…. Omega 3 is one such phrase! We all get told regularly that having Omega-3 fats in our diet could help keep you healthy…. But how do you include them if no one actually explains what they are?? ?? Nutrition Tuition to the rescue….
OK Omega-3 is a family of fats that are important for health.
Omega-3 fats come in different forms:
- ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) cannot be made in the body so must be eaten in our diet. Without ALA our body would not be able to make the other Omega-3’s. ALA is found mainly in vegetable oils, rapeseed and linseed (flaxseed), nuts (walnuts, pecans and hazelnuts) and green leafy vegetables.
- EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) are long-chain fats that can be made from ALA in our bodies. They have the most direct health benefits.
The best way of ensuring we are taking enough EPA and DHA is to eat foods rich in these fats and you guessed correct…. That’s from fish especially oily fish.
Now for the health benefits of Omega-3’s: Research shows they may protect the heart and blood vessels from disease, supports healthy development of your baby duringpregnancy and breastfeeding and even may help protect in maintaining your memory.
As well as omega-3, fish Is also a good source of many vitamins, and minerals such as iodine, calcium and selenium…. Bonus!!
Here is a list of all the fish high in Omega-3’s. Tip…. The below types of fish can be fresh/frozen or canned EXCEPT for Tuna as the oil is removed during the canning process:
tuna (fresh or frozen)
shark and marlin
Now you know what is high in Omega-3…. Here at Nutrition Tuition we know it is just important to know how much you need…. Everyone should try to eat two portions of fish per week, one of which should be oily fish. In the UK there is no specific recommendation of a dose for omega-3 but instead some guidelines:
|18 months to threeYears
|¼ – ¾ small fillet or 1-3 tablespoons
|four to six years
|½ – 1 small fillet or 2 – 4 tablespoons
|seven to elevenyears
|1 – 1 ½ small filletsor 3 – 5 tablespoons
|12 years to adult
|140g (5 oz) fresh fish or 1 small can oily
Reference: British Dietetic Association
An important safety message about Oily fish (who knew food could be dangerous!!)
- Shark, swordfish and marlin may contain concentrated sources of mercury that may be harmful to the developing baby’s nervous system and so should be avoided by women who are pregnant or planning a baby, and by all children under 16 years.
- All other adults, including breastfeeding women, should eat no more than one portion of these particular fish a week.
- Women past childbearing age or not intending to have children, men and boys can eat up to four portions of all other oily fish a week.
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or likely to become pregnant, and girls who may become pregnant in the future, can safely have up to two portions of oily fish a week.
BUT what if you don’t like fish? The good news is here at Nutrition Tuition we would never force you to eat something you disliked- we try to think outside the box! Some brands of eggs, milk, yoghurt, bread and spreads are fortified omega-3. These foods may help to increase omega-3 intake but they do tend to be in smaller amounts so that means you may require an over the counter supplement….just look for a supplement that is an Omega 3 fish BODY oil as opposed to a fish LIVER oil.
For more tips and advice about Omega-3 or overall healthy heart advice please contact Nutrition Tuition for a 1:1 consultation.Please do share, like and re-tweet this blog using the links below and email us if there are specific topics or areas in dietetics you would be interested to read more about in the future.