Omega-3s are types of fats that have multiple health benefits, especially for the heart, brain, good mood and to fight against chronic inflammation. They are absolutely essential for the proper functioning of the body, but are relatively rare in the modern diet. Here are the best sources for ensuring good intakes.
Some omega-3s are “essential” fats, meaning that the body cannot not manufacture them and therefore we must consume them through food and supplements. They play important roles in the proper functioning of the heart, the brain, but also the hormonal and inflammatory systems.
Two types of omega-3
There are two main families of omega-3: those of plant origin and those of animal origin. While these two forms are essential for the body, it is ADH (docosahexanoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) that have the most proven benefits for heart health.
Oily fish rich in Omega-3
Oily fish are undoubtedly the best sources of EPA and ADH. Salmon, trout, anchovies, sablefish, sardines, blue mackerel and turbot are good examples. We recommend consuming two servings of fish each week to meet our marine omega-3 needs.
Certain vegetable sources
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is an omega-3 that is found in particular in products of plant origin such as flax, chia, soy, walnuts, canola and hemp. ALA is an essential fatty acid for health, but it is not as “effective” as EPA and DHA which are of marine origin in preventing various diseases such as those of the heart. It can be transformed into AEP and DHA by the body, but this conversion is very inefficient (less than %).
Fortified foods, a contribution to the margin
Omega-3s are very popular , this has prompted several manufacturers to enrich certain consumer products such as butter and margarine. Although it is relevant to increase our consumption of omega-3s and these foods contribute, none are up to the level of oily fish. Those fortified with EPA and DHA come a little closer than those fortified with ALA, but you would often have to eat unrealistic amounts to equal one serving of fish.
In addition, fish offers a host of different nutrients, not just omega-3s. In short, difficult to replace it with fortified foods.
If the diet is sufficiently varied and it provides an omega-3 intake, the recommended daily allowance should be there. The use of food supplements rich in Omega-3 may be justified in the event of a proven deficiency or when a sustained intake is required in the medium term to help fight against depressive symptoms, a chronic inflammatory state or local inflammation. Of course, nothing better than a healthy diet that provides regular intakes.
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