Omega-3 fatty acids have been hailed a key inclusion for a healthy balanced diet, but how do we make sure we’re getting enough of these essential fatty acids?
What are Omega-3s?
Diets rich in Omega-3 fatty acids such as the Mediterranean diet which emphasises the inclusion of fish and olive oil have been linked to the reduced risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
The two omega-3 fatty acids; Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are proven to support normal cardiac function. DHA is proven to support the maintenance of normal vision and brain function when a minimum of 250mg of DHA is consumed daily.
Government guidelines (Food Standards Agency, 2010) suggest we eat two portions of fish per week, one of which from oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines. As well as being a great source of omega-3, fish is packed with protein and generally a source of vitamin D and selenium.
If you’re vegetarian, vegan or just don’t like fish, don’t fret! Although the omega-3 content of vegetarian sources are generally lower than that found fish there are plenty of veggie-proof sources to pack on your plate, including:
Flaxseed - Both flaxseed oil and seeds are good sources of omega-3. Flaxseed oil is a great alternative to salad dressing and ground flaxseeds can be a simple addition to your morning porridge.
Pumpkin seeds - contain alpha-Linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid, as well as being a source of fibre and magnesium. Dry fry a small handful of pumpkin seeds to scatter over your poached eggs on toast or add to your lunch time salad.
Walnuts - As well as omega-3, walnuts are sources of magnesium and vitamin B6, and make for a great trail mix addition.
Chia Seeds - As well as omega-3, walnuts are sources of magnesium and vitamin B6, and make for a great trail mix addition.
If you’re not partial to fish or need to supplement your diet; Maximuscle have released Omega-3 capsules packed with 3000mg fish oil in a daily serve of 3 capsules. To get the most out of Maximuscle omega-3s spread your 3 capsules out evenly throughout the day.
Take home message
If you’re taking the time to put in the hard graft on the gym floor, make sure to capitalise on the quick wins like ensuring you’re getting enough omega-3 in your diet.
References:Eatwell your Guide to Healthy Eating [online]