How Omega-3 Fatty Acids Can Help Maintain Your Health
We are inundated with information telling us how important it is to consume healthy fats such as omega-3, either in your diet or in supplement form. Here we’ll break down exactly what it is about omega-3 fatty acids that are so beneficial.
What Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
Long chain omega-3 fatty acids make up an essential part of a healthy diet and can be found in oily fish such as salmon and mackerel. There are two important long-chain omega-3 fatty acids which are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and both play an important role in maintaining a healthy body.
Why Do We Need Omega-3?
These essential fatty acids can deliver specific health benefits - DHA contributes to the maintenance of normal vision and brain function, while DHA and EPA combined can contribute to the normal function of the heart. The beneficial effects for heart function are obtained with an intake of 250mg EPA and DHA per day. For brain function, 250mg DHA per day is needed. Omega-3 fatty acids are also beneficial for general eye health as they provide structural support to cell membranes1.
How Do I Ensure I’m Getting Enough Omega-3?
The main sources of omega-3 are found in oily fish such as mackerel, herring, trout and salmon. Public Health England guidelines suggest eating two portions of fish per week2 (1 portion=140g), one of which should be oily.
Omega-3 can also be found in small amounts in other foods such as kale, spinach and tofu, so even if you’re not the world’s biggest fish fan you can opt for an alternative, or consider a supplement to maintain your EPA and DHA levels - such as Seven Seas Cod Liver Oil One-A-Day capsules which are rich in omega-3 and vitamin D.
It’s important to note that while oily fish is beneficial it’s equally important not to exceed four portions per week (falling to two portions for pregnant women) as set out by Public Health England, due to concerns over levels of pollutants3.