Tag Archives: Omega-3

Three Important Types of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acid is an important nutrient for our body and brain but sadly our body doesn’t produce this nutrient. So we take this nutrient in our diet from other resources like fishes and plants. Fatty fishes are the main source of omega-3 fatty acid. Omega-3 is necessary for your good health because it helps to reduce depression, diabetes, cancer, lower the risk of heart disease and also encourages better insulin sensitivity.

Top 10 foods rich in Omega-3

All Omega-3 fatty acids are not equal. There are 11 different types but ALA, EPA and DHA are the most important Omega-3 fatty acids.

ALA is mostly present in plant-based sources like flaxseeds, chia seeds, soyabeans, vegetable oils, nuts etc.

DHA fatty acid is found in breast milk, caviar and fishes.

EPA which is known as Eicosapentaenoic acid is present in oily fish/fish oils like cod liver oil, sardines, salmons. It is also found in seaweeds.

In this article, we discuss in detail about three type of Omega-3 fatty acids.

1.  ALA (Alpha-Linolenic Acid)

Flaxseed
Photo Courtesy: Muenster Milling Company

The full form of ALA is Alpha-Linolenic-Acid. This ALA is the most common Omega-3 fatty acid, which we take in our daily diet.

ALA chain is comprised of 18 carbon atoms. Like all Omega-3s, it has three double bonds.

Our body can’t use ALA directly, first, our body converts ALA into DHA or EPA. Then our body uses this fatty acid.

Many studies found that human body is not efficient at converting ALA to DHA. Only a small percentage of ALA is converted into EPA, and even less into DHA.

Some people’s bodies are better at this conversion. The conversion of ALA, DHA and EPA is better in women than men.

The remaining ALA, which is not converted into DHA or EPA are stored in the body and used as fuel in the body as like other fats.

Some organizational studies say that ALA fatty acid reduces the risk of heart disease and cancer.

ALA is found in many plant foods including:-

  • Flax seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Spinach
  • Canola oil
  • Soyabean
  • Walnuts

2. EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid)

Salmon
Photo Courtesy: Cornish Fishmonger

The full form of EPA is Eicosapentaenoic Acid. EPA fatty acid has a chain of 20 carbons with 5 double bonds.

EPA is more effective than all other Omega-3 fatty acids in fighting inflammation.

EPA is available in fish oil supplements, eating fatty fish like salmon and is even more effective at reducing inflammation.

Many studies have shown that fish oil, which is high in EPA and DHA, may reduce the symptoms of depression. EPA is more effective than DHA in treating mood disorders. There is some evidence that shows that EPA is superior to DHA.

Many researchers found that supplement with EPA has been more effective in controlling the depression.

Where can EPA be found?

The highest concentration of EPA is found in cold water fishes like :

  • Shrimp
  • Herring
  • Salmon
  • Eal
  • Cod livers

3. DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid)

Fish
Photo Courtesy: The Guardian Nigeria

The full form of DHA is Docosahexaenoic Acid. DHA contains 22 carbon chain with 6 double bonds.

DHA is a significant component of skin and retina in the eye. It is also main fatty acid responsible for forming the central nervous system.

DHA is absolutely vital for brain development and functions in childhood as well as brain function in adults.

The deficiency of DHA in early life is associated with the problem later on, such as learning disabilities, aggressive hostility and several other disorders.

One of the causes of Alzheimer’s disease is the deficiency of DHA during ageing. It is also the cause of impaired brain functions.

Researchers have found that it can help with arthritis, hypertension and type 2 diabetes.

DHA is found in high amount in Seafood like fatty fishes, grass-fed animals and algae.

8 other Omega-3 fatty acids:

ALA, DHA and EPA are the most important Omega-3 fatty acids in the diet.

8 other fatty acids have been discovered:

  1. Stearidonic acid (SDA)
  2. Eicosatrienoic acid (ETE)
  3. Eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA)
  4. Heneicosapentaenoic acid (HPA)
  5. Docosapentaenoic acid (DPA)
  6. Tetracosapentaenoic acid
  7. Tetracosahexaenoic acid
  8. Hexadecatrienoic acid (HTA)

Top 10 Foods rich in Omega-3

There are many health benefits of Omega-3 fats. It is a fact that fats are needed to carry out various important functions of the body. Many nutrients are soluble in fat. Without fats, the body cannot avail the benefits of the nutrients. Our body can create most fats except omega-3 fatty acids. These fats, which are necessary can be had only through diet.

Omega-3 fats come under polyunsaturated fatty acids(PUFA). The 3 main kinds of PUFA include DHA, ALA and EPA. DHA can be got through breast milk, algae or fish. EPA, which is also known as Eicosapentaenoic acid is found in oily fish/fish oil like cod liver, mackerel, herring, menhaden, sardine and salmon. It is also found in different phytoplankton and seaweeds. ALA is present in plant-based sources like flaxseed, chia seeds, nuts, vegetable oils etc.

Omega 3 fats are necessary for functioning of human body. In this article, we have collected a list of foods that are rich in Omega 3 and a list of delicious recipes that have this content.

  • Soybeans

Soybeans are very rich in Omega-3 fats. They contain ALA, which is good for heart. A bowl of soyabean has more omega-3 than cold water fish.

Try the recipe of Soybean Pancake.

  • Walnuts      Photo Courtesy: Recipes Table

Walnuts are great for your health. They can be added to your favourite dishes. They have many vascular benefits in addition to maintaining ideal weight.

Try the recipe of Walnut Halwa.

  • Salmon

Photo Courtesy: NYT Cooking

Salmon is very rich in Vitamin D. It is full of Omega 3 fatty acids, phosphorus and protein. Salmon has very high levels of EPA, DHA and Omega-3. These fats help in reducing inflammation. If you consume salmon, twice or thrice a week, it can lower your high blood pressure, embolism, arrhythmia and risk of heart attack.

Try the recipe of Salmon.

  • Canola Oil

Photo Courtesy: Cooking with my kid

It is one of the healthiest cooking oil. It is cheaper than olive oil and is good for high temperature cooking as well. It is good for health because of its low fat content.

Try the recipe of Blueberry Muffins with Canola Oil.

  • Sardines

Photo Courtesy: Yummy.ph

These fishes are tiny and oily. They are not as expensive as other types of fishes. They contain high sodium and you can balance your meal with vegetables and sodium fruits.

Try the recipe of Spanish Sardines.

  • Cod Liver Oil

Photo Courtesy: Fenland Forager’s

Cod Liver Oil is a great food supplement. Cod Liver Oil is got from the liver of cod fish. Besides being high in omega-3 fatty acids, the oil is full of vitamin A and D. So, if you take in a tablespoon of cod liver oil, it will satisfy need for these nutrients.

Watch this video for health benefits of Cod Liver Oil.

  • Anchovy

Photo Courtesy: The Spruce

These are tiny and oily fish that are found in a jar of oil. They are small fish that have more than 100 species found in Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

Try the recipe of Anchovy.

  • Caviar

Photo Courtesy: YouTube

Caviar is prepared with fish eggs or roe. It is a very luxurious food item and is often used as taster, starter or garnish.Caviar is very high in choline and has very low omega-6 fatty acids.

Try the recipe of Mushroom Caviar.

  • Flaxseeds

Photo Courtesy: Juvenon

These are small brown, yellow seeds. They are grounded, milled and used to make oil. These seeds are the richest source of omega-3 fats like ALA. Flaxseed oil is a great supplement of omega-3.

Try the recipe of Blueberry Flaxseed Pancake.

  • Chia Seed

Photo Courtesy: Recipes

These seeds are very nutritious. They are a rich source of phosphorus, calcium, manganese and other nutrients.

Try the recipe of Chia Jam.