Omega-3 fatty acids are often in the news as they have been shown to help reduce inflammation and may be good for your heart and brain. They are an unsaturated fatty acid found in our diet and are important for many different functions in our body. There are three main biologically active omega-3s – docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). The omega-3 found in plant-based foods, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is an essential fatty acid since our body is not able to make it, so it must be consumed as part of our diet. Most people also need to add foods to their diet that contain DHA and EPA; while our body converts some ALA into these omega-3s, there are some limitations to the amount of ALA that gets converted.
What are some food sources of omega-3 fatty acids?
Food sources of alpha-linolenic acid include flaxseed oil, walnuts and walnut oil, and canola oil. For example, one Carrot Orange Walnut Muffin provides approximately 0.67 g of omega-3 fatty acids. In 2002 the US Institute of Medicine established an Adequate Intake for ALA of 1.6 g/day for adult men and 1.1 g/day for adult women. DHA and EPA are mostly found in various types of fish, including cod, haddock, mackerel, sardines and salmon. The next time you are thinking of fish for brunch or dinner, try my recipe for Tomato and Sardine Tarte Tatin or Planked Salmon with Mustard Dill Sauce.