It is one of those fats that you should add to your diet.
Omega-3 is a polyunsaturated fat (a good one) and is essential for our bodies to promote heart, cognition, and eye health.
“Our bodies cannot make omega-3 fats, so we have to consume them from food sources,” says Lucia Weiler, a registered nutritionist based in Toronto.
Canada’s Food Guide recommends eating at least two servings (75 grams each) of omega-3 fortified fatty fish. Preliminary studies have shown that not getting enough omega-3 fatty acids can negatively affect your memory. Health Canada adds that pregnant women, along with their babies, can also benefit from eating more omega-3 fortified foods.
If you’re a vegetarian, vegan, or not particularly fond of the taste of fish, there are some non-fishy alternatives to omega-3s. Look for the words omega-3 on the label of foods like eggs, margarine, and some dairy products such as milk and yogurt that are fortified with omega-3 fats.
But there is often confusion about good and bad fats – especially when we are told that fat makes us unhealthy. Weiler says we should limit saturated and trans fats (found in many prepared foods, fried foods, and pastries) and include small amounts – 2 to 3 tablespoons – of unsaturated fats like avocado or olive oil every day.
Here are more tips from Weiler on how to get more fatty acids flowing through your body.
How to Get More Omega-3 Fatty Acids
To begin with, try to eat the recommended 75-gram servings of fatty fish twice a week. Cold water fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines are some of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. If you’re not eating fish, try chia seeds, hemp seeds, or even cauliflower, according to nutritionist Margaux Rathbun.
Flaxseed and flaxseed oil are full of omega-3 fatty acids. To sneak something into your daily meals, add flaxseed oil to your salad dressing or dip. Or add the seeds to your granola or smoothie – you won’t even taste the difference.
Speaking of flax … grind it for everyday use
Use ground flaxseed in your smoothies, yogurt, cereal, muffins, or mix it in with condiments like mayonnaise and mustard.
Choose dairy products that are fortified with omega-3 fats, such as fortified eggs, milk, or yogurt.
If you don’t think you’re getting enough omega-3s from your diet, talk to a registered dietitian or doctor about an omega-3s supplement.
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