Unraveling the omega-3 conundrum
The research is clear and well publicized: a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids protects our bodies against heart disease and helps ensure proper eye and brain development.
But what about the different omega 3's? What's up with those 3-letter acronyms? What do they stand for? And, more importantly, what do they mean?
Here's the skinny: DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) are all types of omega-3's.
EPA and DHA are considered the most valuable forms of omega-3's because they are biologically active. They are found most commonly in fish like tuna, mackerel, anchovies, salmon and trout.
ALA is found in nuts and vegetables, including walnuts, canola oil, flax, edamame and beans. The body converts ALA into either EPA or DHA before it can absorb its nutrients.
The American Heart Association recommends consuming 500 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids each day. This equals 2 servings of fish each week.