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Your Omega-3 Family Shopping List

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Omega-3s may help lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. These healthy fats are being added to everything from eggs to peanut butter. You can also get them naturally in fish, including salmon and tuna.

There are different types of omega-3s: ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid).

Your body can turn ALA into DHA and EPA, though not very efficiently. So, many dietitians recommend getting DHA and EPA. (Only about 15% of the plant based ALA can be converted to DHA and EPA in the body..) While there's no standard recommendation for how many omega-3s we need, dieticians consider the Adequate Intake (AI) for adults to be 1600 milligrams (mg) for men and 1100 mg for women. You can find more than 500 mg in a can of tuna or a few ounces of salmon. Some fortified foods offer 100 mg or more.

Bring this shopping list the next time you go to the supermarket.

Fish: Top Source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Look for seafood rich in omega-3s, such as:

Anchovies
Halibut
Herring
Mackerel
Oysters
Salmon
Sardines
Trout
Tuna (freshor light, canned in water)

Dairy and Juices Fortified With Omega-3s

You'll likely find the following foods fortified with omega-3 fatty acids:

Eggs
Margarine
Milk
Juice
Soy milk
Yogurt

Grains and Nuts With Omega-3s

Bread and pasta are some of the foodsthat may have omega-3s added to them. These fats are also naturally found in whole foods like seeds and nuts. When shopping, look for omega-3s in:

Bread
Cereal
Flaxseed
Flour
Pasta
Peanut butter
Oatmeal
Pumpkin seeds
Pizza, packaged
Flour tortillas
Walnuts

Fresh Produce With ALA Omega-3s

Vegetables, especially green leafy ones, are good sources of ALA, one form of omega-3 fatty acids. Although ALA isn't as powerful as the other omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA, these vegetables also have fiber and other nutrients, as well as omega-3s.

Brussels sprouts
Kale
Spinach
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Oil With ALA Omega-3s

Oils can be a good source of ALA omega-3s, too, including:

Canola oil
Cod liver oil
Flaxseed oil
Mustard oil
Soybean oil
Walnut oil

Baby Food With Omega-3s

Research suggests that the omega-3 fatty acid DHA may help babies' brains develop, which is why you may find them in:

Baby cereals
Infant formula
Jars of baby food
Other Omega-3-Enhanced Products

You can also find omega-3s in some:

Supplements
Children and adult vitamins
Meal replacement bars
Protein powders
Weight loss shakes

As with most nutrients, whole foods trump any enriched, fortified, or processed foods. Omega fatty acids can oxidize if overly processed or allowed to become stale, so fresh is best.

Getting more than 3 grams a day of omega-3s may make bleeding more likely. You're not likely to get that much from a typical diet. Talk with your doctor before taking high doses of omega-3 supplements.

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