Healthy steps: Omega-3

Omega-3 are healthy fats found in meat as well as nuts and seeds.

Salmon is a good source of omega-3.

Salmon is a good source of omega-3.

Are you getting enough omega-3 in your diet? Do you know what omega-3 is and the benefits it has to the human body? If you find yourself wondering about these questions, you probably aren’t getting your daily dose of omega-3.

Omega-3 is a good type of fat that is found in meat as well as nuts and seeds. Omega-3 fatty acids come in the form of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a-linolenic acid (ALA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). The omega-3 you get in fish are the DHA and EPA, and the ALA you get in oils and seeds, nuts and dark green leafy vegetables. Omega-3 fatty acids help lower fat in the blood stream, called triglycerides, which reduces the risk of arthritis, heart disease and depression. Some research has also shown it to protect against Alzheimer’s and dementia, which can help with an early onset due to aging. Omega-3 also has anti-inflammatory properties as it slows the buildup of plaque in the blood vessels. Omega-3 has also been known to curb arthritis pains in seniors and others suffering from the disease.

There are many ways to acquire omega-3 through diets, but some of the most common ways are through salmon, tuna, mackerel and anchovies. You can also get it through vegetable oil, walnuts, soybeans, spinach, flaxseeds, broccoli, etc. With many things, you should consult your doctor to ask how much omega-3 you should be getting in your daily diet.

Michigan State University Extension helps educate youth and adults through nutrition programs that help build a healthier generation to come. You can learn more about MSU Extension and the programs it offers through the 4-H Youth Development website.

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