Omega-3 fats are ‘essential’ polyunsaturated fats that cannot be made in the body and so must come from our diet. Yet most of us in the UK fall short of the recommended intake.
What are omega-3 fats?
Omega 3s are either long or short chain, and it’s the long chain ones that are thought to be most beneficial to our health. Long chain omega 3s (EPA - eicosapentaenoic acid and DHA - docosahexaenoic acid) are found mainly in oily fish. Whereas short chain omega 3s (ALA - alpha-linolenic acid), are found in plant foods. Our bodies can make EPA and DHA from ALA, although this process is not very efficient and only small amounts of EPA and DHA are formed.
Why are they so good for you?
Apart from being essential for every cell in our bodies, they are particularly important for our brain, heart and eyes. ALA maintains normal blood cholesterol. DHA contributes to the maintenance of normal vision and brain function whilst the combination of DHA and EPA contribute to the normal function of the heart and maintenance of normal blood pressure.
What are the best sources of omega-3s?
EPA and DHA: