Omega-3s: Every Body Needs these Essential Fatty Acids
The "omega-3" fatty acids refer to polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), of which there are three nutritionally important types: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and decosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
This sub-class of PUFA has a number of important biological roles, so are essential to normal metabolism. However, since the body is unable to build these important fatty acids, they must be obtained from the diet.
- ALA is the primary omega-3 fatty acid in our diet, found in flax oil and nuts, such as walnuts, as well as canola and soybean oils, whereas the primary dietary source of EPA and DHA is fish oil.
- Although ALA is the most common omega-3 in our diet, EPA and DHA are actually the most important. The body is usually able to convert ALA to EPA and DHA, but only at very low levels. Thus, consumption of foods supplemented with these essential fatty acids may be necessary for many clients.
» Read more about omega-3s
» Learn about the omega—6:omega-3 ratio
» Link to the latest medical literature about PUFA in general, or more specifically about omega-3s
» Download client-education to show clients how to incorporate omegas into a heart-healthy diet
» Get a list of all the delicious Smart Balance® products containing ALA and/or EPA/DHA