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Omega-3 Fats

The spotlight has been shining on omega-3 fatty acids for a few years and it’s only getting brighter. This family of superstar fats has a laundry-list of health benefits. Omega-3s are medium and long-chain fatty acids found in foods such as avocados, nuts, seeds, olives and marine sources like salmon and mackerel. These fats are used by the body to make powerful anti-inflammatory hormones that are beneficial for our heart, brain and joint health. Unfortunately, the average Canadian diet contains far more omega-6 than omega-3. Omega-6 is not necessarily bad. However, the average Canadian diet has a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 that is way out of whack. Ideally, experts suggest we should have about equal amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 in our diets. The problem is that we consume between 15 to 25 times more omega-6 than omega-3! So how do we even things out? Health Canada recommends Canadians should consume fish twice a week to meet their needs, while other experts recommend having a serving of fish five times per week! But let’s be realistic. Do you really want to have a salmon fillet every day? If you’re a fan of shrimp, you would have to eat over 2.5 kg each day to obtain 2,500 mg of omega-3 (with no help to your cholesterol levels). This is where a fish oil supplement can really be a life-saver. High quality and innovative products available here in Canada have all but eliminated any "fishy burps" or unpleasant taste. Look for a supplement with high amounts of EPA and DHA – the omega-3s linked to heart health, brain health and increased intelligence in children. As always, speak with your health care practitioner to see which omega-3 supplements are right for you and your family. Click here for a more in-depth discussion about omega-3s and fish oil.