3 Things to Know About Omega-3 Fatty Acids

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Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids that are important for several functions in the human body. The omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are found in mostly in seafood, such as fatty fish (salmon, and trout etc…) and shellfish (shrimp, and oysters etc..). A different kind of omega-3, called ALA, is found in other foods, including some vegetable oils (olive oil and soy). Omega-3s are also available as dietary supplements; for example, fish oil supplements contain EPA and DHA, and flaxseed oil supplements contain ALA. Moderate evidence has emerged about the health benefits of consuming a variety of seafood.

Here are 3 things you should know about omega-3s:

1. Results of studies on diets rich in seafood (fish and shellfish) and heart disease provide moderate evidence that people who eat seafood at least once a week are less likely to die of heart disease than those who rarely or never eat seafood -The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, includes a new recommendation that adults eat 8 or more ounces of a variety of seafood per week because it provides a range of nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids.

2. The nutritional value of seafood is of importance during fetal growth and development, as well as in early infancy and childhood. Pregnant women are breast feeding mothers should consume 8 to 12 ounces of seafood per week. They should choose a selection of seafood types that are lowest in mercury as part of a healthy eating pattern and while staying within their calorie needs. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should limit the amount of tuna fish to no more than 6-8 ounces per week. They should avoiding eating shark, swordfish, and king mackerel because they contain high traces of mercury.

• Omega-3s Can Fight Depression and Anxiety. …
• Omega-3s Can Improve Eye Health. …
• Omega-3s Can Promote Brain Health During Pregnancy and Early Life. …
• Omega-3s Can Improve Risk Factors for Heart Disease. …
• Omega-3s Can Reduce Symptoms of ADHD in Children. …
• Omega-3s Can Reduce Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome.

3. Evidence suggests that seafood rich in EPA and DHA should be included in a heart-healthy diet; however, supplements of EPA and DHA have not been shown to protect against heart disease. In 2012, two groups of scientists analyzed the research on the effects of EPA/DHA supplements on heart disease risk. One group analyzed only studies in people with a history of heart disease, and the other group analyzed studies in people both with and without a history of heart disease. Neither review found strong evidence of a protective effect of the supplements.

Incorporating fish and other seafood in your diet is healthful. The U.S Dietary Guidelines Committee, the American Heart Association (AHA), Canada Food Guide and other North American health groups recommend eating fish regularly, preferably naturally high in omega such as salmon, sardines and herring. The American Heart Association offers people with heart disease the option of taking the capsules to reach the omega-3 intakes it recommends for them. Since 2004, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), allows Omega 3 supplement labels to carry the claim that omega oils ‘help reduce heart disease’ If you are considering omega-3 supplements, talk to your health care provider. It’s especially important to consult your (or your child’s) health care provider if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, if you take medicine that affects blood clotting, if you are allergic to seafood, or if you are considering giving a child an omega-3 supplement.

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