Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Omega-3 Show-Down!

Know that omega-3’s are good for you…but that’s about it? Bruce Watkins, Purdue University professor of nutrition and director of the International Omega-3 Learning and Education Consortium for Health and Medicine helped in developing a website devoted to teaching consumers about types of omega-3’s, benefits of omega-3’s, and where to find them in the diet. They created this site in the process. The site answers basic questions about omega-3 fatty acids. Also included for doctors, medical providers, and veterinarians is a fact sheet and patient handout [1] – check it out!

Additionally, the site includes a database of foods containing omega-3’s as well as the amounts. I know Gina and I have a discussion back about the feasibility of consuming adequate omega-3’s for cardio-protective benefits through the diet alone. There is also a chart showing how much and what types of omega-3’s men and women of varying ages and with differing health histories should consume [1]. Sign-up to receive their monthly newsletter, too! Jackpot!

Omega-3’s for asthma? Heart disease? Cancer? Maternal Health? Cognitive function? Transplantation? Mental health? Eye health? Diabetes? Go here!

The run-down (per 100 grams/~3.5 ounces):
Highest overall omega-3 content (fresh fish) = salmon, Atlantic, farm-raised (2507 mg omega-3’s)
Highest ALA content (fresh fish) = salmon, wild (295 mg ALA)
Highest EPA content (fresh fish) = salmon, Atlantic, farm-raised (862 mg EPA)
Highest DHA content (fresh fish) = salmon, wild (1115 mg DHA)

Okay…salmon takes the cake for the fresh fish. Other great options include: swordfish, trout, tuna (bluefin), whitefish, halibut, catfish, and anchovies.
Highest overall omega-3 content (shellfish) = shrimp (540-601 mg omega-3’s)
Highest ALA content (shellfish) = crayfish, wild (32 mg ALA)
Highest EPA content (shellfish) = shrimp (293 mg EPA)
Highest DHA content (shellfish) = squid (342 mg DHA)
So, shrimp are a GREAT option for omega-3's. Other shellfish sources of omega-3’s include: blue crab, Dungeness crab, queen crab, spiny lobster, mussels (yum!), and scallops!
And FYI: canola oil and flaxseed oil contain omega-3’s! Per 100 grams there are 9137 mg omega-3’s in canola oil and 53,300 mg omega-3’s in FLAXSEED OIL! I must ask, who knew that canola and flaxseed oils had so many omega-3’s!? You can boast your intelligence, it’s alright!
What do YOU need?
- If you have no documented coronary heart disease, eat a variety of fish at least twice a week. Try to focus on fattier fish such as salmon. Use other products such as flaxseed and canola oil, as well as flaxseeds and walnuts.
- If you HAVE documented coronary heart disease, consume about 1 gram of EPA + DHA per day, preferably from fatty fish. Supplementation may be recommended by a physician.
- If you have elevated triglycerides, take 2-4 grams of EPA+DHA per day through a supplement provided under a physician’s care.
As always, purchase and use supplements with caution. Supplements are not FDA-regulated and are not tested for purity or potency.
All the nutrition facts are provided by the US Department of Agriculture’s National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 21.
[1]. New Web Site Aims To Deepen Public Knowledge of Omega-3s. Purdue University. August 21, 2009.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! Thanks for sharing that website, I put it with my "Favorites". I will take a good look at it later, I love learning about Omega-3.