Omega-3 fatty acids (FA) are a group of unsaturated FA that EVERY CELL in your body needs but many Americans are not eating enough of. These FA are especially important for the eyes and brain but also in muscle activity, immune function, digestion and fertility. Most of the research around omega-3s has studied its heart health benefits. People who eat omega-3 rich foods have less plaque buildup in their arteries, lowering the risk of heart attack and stroke. Omega-3s lower triglyceride levels and may slightly raise ‘good’ HDL cholesterol levels. Research also supports the cognitive benefits of omega 3s in the treatment of ADHD, Autism and brain trauma, as well as lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s disease & dementia. Eating foods high in omega-3s is a good move for most people. The main types of omega-3 FA are: Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA); Docosahexaenioc acid (DHA); and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). EPA and DHA are mainly found in fish. ALA is found in plant sources like canola oil, flaxseed, soy and walnuts. ALA is a precursor to the other types of omega-3 FA which means the body can convert ALA to EPA and DHA. However, this conversion process is not always efficient, so it is important to include some EPA and DHA in your food intake or take a high-quality fish oil pill. The foods with the highest dose of EPA and DHA include mackerel, wild salmon, herring, bluefin tuna, lake trout, albacore tuna, sardines. It is recommended to eat fish twice a week. If you are a vegetarian or do not like fish, it is recommended you visit with a Registered Dietitian to learn how to fit some omega-3 FA into your weekly intake.

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