Oily fish and omega-3 essential fatty acids
The omega-3 essential fatty acids in oily fish are called:
- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and,
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
EPA and DHA
EPA and DHA can be made by the body from the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (LNA) in flax and hemp oils, but sometimes this capacity is impaired, so oily fish remains the best source.
Richest sources of EPA and DHA fish oils
The richest sources of EPA and DHA are high-fat (10-15 per cent), cold-water fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, trout and pilchards. EPA and DHA fatty acids make up 15-30 per cent of the oil content of these fish.
- Oily fish containing these important EPA and DHA fatty acids should be eaten regularly – preferably with their skins.
- Fresh wild fish are superior to fish harvested on fish-farms. This is because commercial fish foods contain less vitamin A and C, and less of the omega-3 fatty acids than ocean foods.
- Fresh fish is also superior in omega-3 fat content to frozen or canned varieties.
Omega-3 fish oils and diet nutrition
A diet which includes a regular supply of Omega-3’s seems to have several health benefits and no known disadvantages.
Omega-3 can reduce the risk of certain strokes by one-third
A recent study in the Journal of the Americal Medical Association found that women who ate five or more portions of fish every week cut their risk of having a certain type of stroke by one-third, compared to women who ate fish once a month or less.
It is thought this is because omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish make the blood less likely to clot.
Weight Loss & total fat consumption
For optimum weight loss, reduce your overall fat/oil consumption to a sensible level: 25-30 percent of calories is very good; although 20-25 per cent is better; while fats expert U do Erasmus advocates 15-20 per cent.
Weight Loss Diet Program can help you reduce your fat intake and lose weight. It also shows you how to eat sensibly and control your weight for life.