July 8, 2022
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids that play various important roles in your body. They are known as essential fatty acids as your body cannot produce them and thus needs to be obtained through diet.
ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)
Let’s understand more about them.
This is the most common omega-3 fatty acid present in your diet. A small percentage of ALA gets converted to DHA and EPA. The remaining ALA is used as an energy source by your body.
Eicosapentaenoic acid is mainly present in fish oil and fatty fish. It is also present in some micro-algae. Some parts of EPA can be converted into DHA.
It is the most important type of omega-3 fatty acid for your body. DHA is an essential part of your brain, retina of the eyes, and other parts of the body.
Like EPA, it is present in animal food and algae. Thus, vegans and vegetarians do not get enough DHA and may need to take microalgae supplements.
As it is an important part of the brain and eyes, it plays a vital role in maintaining your health. Some other omega-3 fatty acid uses are:
Fights brain health and anxiety
Reduce the symptoms of ADHD in kids
Protects against heart disorders
Fights inflammation and auto-immune disorders
May improve joint and bone health
Promotes skin health
For EPA and DHA, it is recommended to include two fatty fish in a week or 250–500 mg of combined EPA and DHA supplements.
For ALA, the recommended dose is 1.6 and 1.1 grams per day for men and women, respectively.
Both omega-3 and omega-6 play various roles in your body. However, it is seen that omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties that may be counteracted by omega-6. So, it is important to take them in adequate amounts.
The recommended ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in the diet is 4:1
Indian Salmon / Rawas: 1598 mg
Sankata Paarai: 1232 mg
Hilsa: 1157 mg
Seer Fish / Vanjaram / Surmai: 1048 mg
Vela Meen / Green Jobfish: 897 mg
Kadali: 856 mg
Rani / Pink Perch: 811 mg
Cod liver oil supplements: Variable
Flax seeds / Linseeds / Alsi: 12956 mg
Walnuts: 8710 mg
Garden Cress Seeds / Aserio / Halim: 7484
Chia seeds: 4,915 mg
Mustard seeds: 3341
Soybeans: 1310 mg
Methi Seeds / Fenugreek Seeds: 1082 mg
Black Gram, whole: 601 mg
DHA accounts for 40% of the polyunsaturated fatty acids in your brain and 60% in the retina of your eye.
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National Institute of Nutrition. Indian food composition tables
Rashida Vapiwala (Founder at LabelBlind®, Food Label Specialist, Ph.D (Food Science and Nutrition))
Rashida is passionate about solving problems for the food industry using technology. She loves creating tech-led solutions in the space of Nutrition.