Omega 3 fatty acids
There's been a lot of information about omega 3 fatty acids, which are a type of these healthy fats. Health experts recommend we increase our intake of salmon, trout and tuna since these wonderful lean protein sources also provide an excellent way to get these healthy fats.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest 8 ounces of seafood per week (less for young children). Additionally, olives and seeds like flaxseeds, pepitas, walnuts and Texas pecans give us a rich supply of these good fats.
You may hear about the terms DHA and EPA when learning about the omega 3 fatty acids. DHA stands for docosahexaenoic acid and EPA stands for eicosapentaenoic acid—quite a mouthful—which is why no one ever says the actual name! Suffice to say, these healthy fats are highly unsaturated and there's growing evidence that increasing our intake may:
- Reduce the risk of mortality from heart disease
- Decrease symptoms of depression
- Improve brain function
- Decrease inflammation
- Positively affect mood
- Protect against cancer
- Reduce the risk of arthritis
- Decrease triglycerides (bad fats in the blood)
- Raise HDLs (the good cholesterol in the blood)
And there are still more health benefits that are being studied! If you choose to not include fish or these other healthy fat foods in your diet, it may be desirable to add an omega 3 supplement. Ask your doctor, dietitian or pharmacist to help you pick the right one for you. Getting 300 to 600mg of DHA and 400 to 800mg of EPA per day would be a desirable range when supplementing omega 3 fatty acids.