Sources of Omega-3
Common foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fish, flaxseeds, chia seeds, nuts (especially walnuts) and vegetable oils (especially flaxseed oils & camelina oils). Fatty fish, which also known as oily fish are the best sources of EPA and DHA, the most biologically active omega-3 fatty acids which have been shown to provide wide-ranging health benefits, including child development. To obtain sufficient omega-3 from the diet, it is vital to consume at least 2 servings of fish (particularly fatty fish) a week. This is especially important for pregnant and lactating mothers, as a developing child needs a steady supply of DHA from third trimester to second year of life to form the brain and other parts of the nervous system.
This table lists common foods and their omega-3 fatty acid content:
*Except as noted, the USDA database does not specify whether fish are farmed or wild caught.
**The USDA database does not specify whether beef is grass fed or grain fed.
Many people, especially women try to avoid eating fish due to concerns that mercury and other environmental contaminants found in fish might harm their babies. Some resist eating fish as they are afraid of the fishy taste or having the fish bone get stuck in their throat. For those who don’t consume much of fatty fish or any of the foods mentioned above, an omega-3 supplement, especially fish oil is highly recommended.
a great source of omega-3 EPA and DHA
Fish oil is one of the most commonly consumed dietary supplements in the world. It is loaded with omega-3 EPA and DHA, which are indispensable for optimal body function and health. Docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) is generally the third most common omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oil after EPA and DHA. Although it generally presents in a much lower concentration than DHA or EPA, DPA has been promoted as more “powerful” than them. For people who do not eat 1 to 2 servings of fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines or anchovies per week, fish oil supplements would be an ideal option to obtain sufficient amount of omega-3s.
Dosage higher than 1,000mg/day combined EPA and DHA should only be taken under the supervision of a medical doctor. As high dosage fish oil could have blood thinning effect, it may increase bleeding risk when a person takes them with blood thinners, such as aspirin, clopidogrel and warfarin. Hence, it is advisable to get a medical advice prior to taking fish oil supplements if you are on those medications.