What's an Omega-3?
If you're concerned about your heart health, or simply trying to be as healthy as possible, then chances are you've heard of the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. Also known as n-3 fatty acids, they're polyunsaturated fats, or "good fats," (unlike saturated fats).
Fast facts on the "good fat":
- Omega-3s are considered essential and necessary for human health—as the body can't make them on its own, and must get them through food.
- There are 3 major types of omega-3 fatty acids in our diets. One is ALA (alpha-linoleic acid), which is found in some vegetable oils, such as soybean, canola, and flaxseed oil, and also in walnuts. You can also get ALA through some green vegetables, such as kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts and salad greens.
- The other two major types of omega-3 fatty acids are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which are found in fatty fish. Supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
- EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids are most abundantly found in fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut, mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines and albacore tuna.
- The American Heart Association recommends eating a variety of fish (particularly fatty fish) at least 2 times a week since it's a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Is taking an omega-3 supplement right for you? Here are some questions to ask your doctor.