Omega-3s: When, What, Where?

Omega-3s: When, What, Where?

Omega-3s are popular nowadays and fish oil is one of the first things we think of when it comes to “Uuhmm, I want to take care of myself, probably, I’ll buy some supplements”

Indeed, Omega 3s are the type of polyunsaturated fats that are extremely important for our well-being. It is necessary for our brain, our mood, joint health, heart health, it fights inflammation and helps to improve insulin and glucose metabolism. Omega-3s are divided into 3 types: ALA, EPA, and DHA (I guess that deciphering is not important).

While we can find ALA in flaxseed, walnut, and some seed oils, EPA and DHA are more important ones and are found in fatty fish, which is not limited by just salmon! Here is the list of other fatty fish rich in Omega-3s:

  • salmon (wild is better than farmed).
  • anchovies
  • carp
  • herring
  • mackerel
  • salmon
  • sardines
  • sprats
  • trout
  • tuna (fresh)
  • whitebait

The weekly recommended amount of fatty fish depends on who recommends it ☺

NHS recommends 1 portion (around 140g) of fatty fish per week (plus 1 portion of non-fat fish), some other sources advise 3-4 portions. If you do not eat fish for some reason, you need supplements. Simples!

Mercury contamination is the main reason you should be careful about overconsumption of fatty fish, especially big fish. The best example is tuna – while it is hugely popular among healthy-eaters and contains much protein and some Omega-3s, it can be highly contaminated with mercury. Therefore eating tuna regularly is not advised, whereas mackerel is low in environmental contaminants and can easily be eaten more than once per week on a regular basis.

Here is a reliable source of knowledge about mercury contamination: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-does-mercury-get-into/

Contamination is also the reason why it is better to buy more expensive, reputable brands of fish oil supplements – they remove heavy metals, pesticides, solvents, PCBs, and other contaminants from their products. Again, if you do not get enough Omega-3s with diet, you’ll benefit from supplements.

My favorite brands are Designs for Health, Thorne Research, and Solgar.

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Olga
Fat loss expert, elite group fitness instructor and personal trainer based in Sheffield.

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