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You need omega-3s; here’s why

Walnuts may improve male reproductive health.  (PRNewsFoto/CaliforniWalnut Commission)

Walnuts may improve male reproductive health. (PRNewsFoto/California Walnut Commission)

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Updated: September 27, 2012 8:51AM



Q. I’ve heard that omega-3 fats are good for me. What’s the story?

A. Here’s a refresher on why omega-3s do the body good.

There are three main types of omega-3 fats, typically referred to by their abbreviated names DHA, EPA and ALA. The DHA and EPA types are plentiful in fish and help fight inflammation.

They also contribute to heart health, brain function and immunity. ALA is found mostly in plant-based foods. The body converts ALA to a small amount of DHA and EPA. To really reap the benefits of omega-3, you want to make sure to get most of them from EPA and DHA.

Experts recommend getting about 1,000 milligrams of omega-3s per day, mostly from DHA and EPA.

Salmon

Salmon is one of the best fish choices for healthful fats. A 4-ounce (raw) portion will serve up more than 1,600 milligrams of DHA and EPA.

Flax

The tiny seeds pack a flavorful punch and 1 tablespoon has over 2,300 milligrams of ALA omega-3. Drizzle flax oil over salads or add a few drops to a soup or smoothie.

Tuna

The meaty texture and mild flavor of fresh tuna is hard to beat. Plus, a 3-ounce (raw) portion has 1,100 milligrams of omega-3.

Walnuts

One-fourth cup of walnuts has 2,600 milligrams of ALA. Snack on raw or dry-roasted walnuts solo or add some to salads, pesto sauce, zucchini bread or muffin recipes.

Eggs

Chickens often are fed omega-3-rich foods that boost the content in the eggs they produce. Depending on the brand, an egg can vary anywhere from 40 to 250 milligrams of DHA and EPA. Whatever eggs you choose, just don’t skip the yolk — that’s where all those healthy fats are hiding.

Chia

A tablespoon of chia seeds has nearly 2,400 milligrams of ALA. Use in similar fashion as flax.

Canola

This light and versatile oil is a pantry staple. It has 1,200 milligrams of ALA per tablespoon. The neutral flavor and high smoke point of canola oil make it a perfect choice for salad dressings, baking, frying and even piecrust.

Courtesy Dana Angelo White on foodnetwork.comScripps Howard



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