Omega-3 Foods: What to Eat and What to Avoid

Omega-3 fatty acids have many health benefits, such as lowering the risk of coronary heart disease, maintaining healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels, as well as helping out with joint health.  There are also claims that the omega-3s are beneficial for helping with depression, and might even be helpful with new moms suffering from postpartum depression.   Incorporating this essential fatty acid into your daily diet is easy, especially when you know which foods contain the most omega 3s.

Fatty fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.  The fish highest in this key acid are the fatty ones that mostly swim in cold water: salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines or lake trout. Opt for these first.

  • When ordering at a restaurant: Choose raw (i.e. sushi or sashimi), grilled, baked or poached.
  • When cooking: Flavor with lemon or herbs.
  • Steer clear of the fried. When fish is fried, it sits in oil and its breading sucks up that oil like the sponge. That not only adds hundreds of extra calories, but the high heat used in frying may alter some of those healthy polyunsaturated fats and turn them into unhealthy trans fats.

Fish oil supplements are another healthy alternative to getting your omega-3s if you are not a fan of aquatic life.

  • When choosing a fish oil supplement, capsules are your best bet and they should be refrigerated for freshness.
  • Be sure to choose a supplement made by a reputable company who guarantees that their product is free of heavy metals, like mercury.
  • Finally, look for a product that contains ecosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA), and follow the instructions on the package for dosing.

If you’re a vegetarian, you can get omega-3s from plant-based alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which your body can use just as easily.  Some excellent source of omega 3 found in plants are flaxseed, avocados, olive oil, canola oil, almonds and sunflower seeds.

For more information check out this article on how omega-3s may help fight depression.

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  • The amounts of omega 3 needed for good health depends on several factors, age, diet and state of health. The idea is to get closer to the ideal omega 6 / omega 3 of 1/1. Normally, this ratio is 20/1 or even 50/1, it depends of the amounts of omega 6 (basically, grains and grain oils a person ingests).

    So, if you want to have a better control of the inflammation ( heart disease, high triglycerides, diabetes, arthritis, etc.) in your body and of the elasticity of all your cellular membranes, you should be pointing to a 1/1 ratio.

    It varies with your diet. If you have a high omega 6 diet, with lots of grains, pasta, breads, cookies, starches and low in vegetables, fruits and omega 3 meats, you should take more than 6.000 mg per day of fish oil (1.800 mg of omega 3 fats, DHA plus EPA).


  • The idea that almonds contain a significant amount of omega-3s is actually a common misperception, which I would like to correct. In fact, walnuts are the only nut that contain a significant amount of ALA, the plant based source of omega-3 fatty acids.

    A one-ounce serving of walnuts provides 2.5 grams of ALA omega-3s (almost ten times more than the next nut), as well as other health promoting nutrients and bioactive components. Two decades of clinical research has shown various health benefits of walnuts including lowering total cholesterol, reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol, decreasing inflammation and reducing triglycerides.

    Visit for additional information.

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