Super Food: Omega-3

Credited with lowering the incidence of heart disease among Eskimos and Japanese, omega-3 rich foods offer a plethora of health-giving benefits.

In addition to the cardiovascular benefits of consuming omega-3 fatty acids—specifically alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)—these vital unsaturated fats can aid in boosting your immune system; lowering the risk of diabetes, neurological disorders and certain cancers; contributing to fetal and infant brain and eye development; and helping to lower the chances of developing age-related macular degeneration and other visual disorders.

There are many food sources of omega-3 fatty acids, but they can be broadly divided into three groups: plant-derived, meat-derived and fish-derived. Great plant-derived sources of omega-3 fatty acids include walnuts; seaweed; leafy greens such as kale, collards and spinach, as well as cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts; berries (blueberries top the list); kumquats; mangoes; and honeydew melons.
However, as most omega-3 acids found in plants are alpha-linolenic acids (ALAs) that need to be converted into eicosapentaenoic acids (EPAs) and docosahexaenoic acids (DHAs) in order for it to be usable by our bodies, and the process is not particularly efficient, meat- and fish-derived omega-3 fatty acids are more efficient sources as they yield EPAs and DHAs.

When seeking out meat-derived omega-3, look for pasture-raised rather than corn-fed animals (including cows, goats and sheep) as feeding on grass lowers levels of omega-6 and boosts omega-3 levels. This also applies to dairy products. Grass fed cattle produce milk with higher amounts of omega-3.

Ultimately, the highest sources of EPAs and DHAs are fatty fish and fish oils. And they are best derived from fish living in cold waters such as wild Alaskan salmon, albacore tuna, Atlantic mackerel, sardines, black cod and rainbow trout. Try to eat omega-3 rich fish at least twice a week. Fish oil derived omega-3 supplements can be beneficial for boosting omega-3 consumptions, especially among expectant and lactating mothers.

Check out our range of Omega-3 fish oils at our eShop.