Omegas are good fats essential for staying healthy. Its benefits for our brain, our vision and our cardiovascular system are well established. Yet the human body does not know how to make these fatty acids when it can synthesize them. How to reach the recommended intake of omega 3? They are present in many foods of animal and plant origin. However, it is important to distinguish between the different sources of omega 3 in the diet.
The different forms of omega 3:
Omega 3s appear in 3 forms:
DHA (docosahexanoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), long chain fatty acids that are found primarily in fish and some land animals. They are well assimilated by the human body : they are involved in many internal biochemical processes and have a central role in cell membranes.
ALA (alpha linolenic acid ), a short-chain fatty acid that is found mainly in plants. To be assimilated by the human body, this fatty acid must be transformed into DHA and / or EPA.
Fish rich in omega 3
Among the aquatic fauna, the fish that are richest in omega 3 are the so-called “fatty” fish such as eels, red tuna, salmon, trout, sablefish, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, herring, etc. But it can also be found in seafood and crustaceans such as oysters, mussels, shrimps, etc.
It is better to eat the small fish like anchovies, sardines in oil or mackerel fillets. In fact, they contain less heavy metals than larger fish and their growths are faster. For example, tuna feeds on other fish, it may contain methylmercury. Renewing themselves more quickly, small fish are preserved from overfishing unlike salmon or tuna.
What about lean fish? You can consume them, they also contain omega 3, only the dose is less than that of oily fish.
You can also eat fish caught in protected fishing areas and far from pollution areas, such as those with the Friend of the Sea label.
Fish oils rich in omega 3
Fish oil is extracted from the tissues and liver of fatty fish. It is the part richest in omega 3 . It is usually found in liquid form or in an easier to consume capsule. Fish oil is a great alternative for those who rarely include fish in their diet.
Note, fish oil tends to oxidize, which is why it is better to consume in capsules and store them in the fridge.
Vegetable oils rich in omega 3
Vegetable oils seem to be a good alternative for consuming omega 3. However, these omega 3s are not as beneficial as those from fish because it is a short chain fatty acid (ALA) which is more difficult to obtain. assimilate. In fact, the conversion of ALA into EPA / DHA by our body is lower: it is on average 10 to 20% for EPA and 1 to 9% for DHA. To have the right dose of omega 3 with plants, it should be consumed in very large quantities. Nevertheless, it is still interesting to consume it in this form.
Not all vegetable oils offer the same dosage of omega 3, some are richer than others.
Here is the list of vegetable oils (from the richest to the least rich in omega 3):
- linseed oil: 53%
- perilla oil: 53%
- camelina oil: 30%
- hemp oil: 20%
- walnut oil: 13%
- rapeseed oil: 9%
- soybean oil: 7%
Please note, some oils do not support frying and cooking, it is best to use them as a seasoning such as rapeseed oil, soybean oil or walnut oil.
Other foods rich in omega 3
Fish and vegetable oils are not the only sources of omega 3. Other foods can provide these essential fatty acids to the human body such as those present in the list below:
- flax seeds
- chia seeds
- hemp seeds
- nuts: walnuts, pistachios, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts
- green vegetables
- animals that feed on ALA, such as outdoor breeding (chickens, rabbits, pigs, cows, etc.), game (hares, deer, etc.) or even snails
- organic eggs from hens raised in the open air and / or fed on flax seeds
- cheese and dairy products from animals that consume plants rich in ALA (therefore outdoor breeding)
Omega 3 as a food supplement
It is not always easy to consume foods high in omega 3 content, which is why consuming quality dietary supplements may be a good solution. It is preferable to use omega 3 capsules and not fish oil in liquid form because the oil oxidizes more quickly on contact with oxygen.
You still have to pay attention to the composition of omega 3 capsules in order to have the best nutritional value . It is preferable to favor capsules based on fish oil, preferably small oily fish, stored in opaque airtight boxes to avoid rapid oxidation due to the light.
At Nutripure, we have chosen to offer anchovy-based fish oil caught off Chile and Peru in a fishing reserve protected by Friend of The Sea. The little industrialized zone is very little polluted is very controlled and the fishermen are, under license of the label, subjected to a fishing quotas of wild fish. Our omega 3 capsules have an oxidation rate (TotOx) between 0 and 5 and they are stored in an airtight white box.
Studies recommend vary the sources of omega 3 by regularly consuming fish (about twice a week), fish and vegetable oils, as well as seeds. They are complementary sources of omega 3 and essential for the proper functioning of the body.
For those who consume vegan, it is necessary to consume 2 servings of foods rich in omega 3 per day in order to meet the needs.