A large number of omega-3 products have been hitting the supermarket shelves including fruit juices, margarines, spreads, breads and eggs with many claiming wonderful things.
One thing is for sure and that it that the UK diet has a lack of omega-3. The body can't produce omega-3 so we need to supply it via our diets. There are two sorts of omega-3, short chain and long chain. The best source of long chain omega-3 fatty acids comes from fish oils. Short chain omega-3 can be obtained from soya, hemp, flax and pumpkin seeds and oils, walnuts and leafy green vegetables. Our bodies can convert these into the long-chain EDA and DHA fatty acids that do most good but not very efficiently, according to independent nutritionists.
The FSA recommends that we should aim to eat at least two portions of fish a week including a portion of oil fish such as sardines, mackerel or salmon a week. You can choose from fresh, frozen or canned - but remember that canned and smoked fish can be high in salt.
Women who might have a baby one day should have a maximum of 2 portions of oily fish a week (a portion is about 140g). Otherwise 4 is the recommended maximum number of portions for other adults.
Examples of white or non-oily fish
Cod, haddock, plaice, coley, tinned tuna, slate, hake
Products with added omega-3 / artificially enriched with fish oils are generally available but contain small amounts of omega-3 which means you will have to eat or drink a lot of these to meet the FSA targets. Drinking a glass of juice containing 20% of the recommended daily intake of long chain omega-3, as some claim they contain, still means you would have to get the rest from somewhere else, or drink five glasses of juice.
There are several types of omega-3 fatty acids and they're not all equal. The long chain omega-3s are the best and these are found mostly in oil fish. They have anti-inflammatory properties (good for achy joints) and the vast evidence if that they help reduce the risk of heart disease. The long chain fatty acids also help the development of brain tissue, nerve growth and the retina in unborn babies.
Editor: Ryan Cranston
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