Health Benefits of Omega-3s

Arthritis, Healthy Aging, Healthy Heart
on February 4, 2010
Mark Boughton

With all the buzz about omega-3s in doctors' offices, dietitians' journals and on food labels, you'd think we'd found the fountain of youth. Maybe not, but we might have found the fountain of health: The omega-3s in fish as well as those in flaxseed, walnuts and soybeans are cardiac rock stars. They lower triglycerides and reduce your risk of arrhythmia. If you've had a heart attack, taking fish oil (the supplement form of omega-3s) can lower your risk of death by 30 percent, says Dr. Carl J. LaVie, medical director of Cardiac Rehabilitation and Prevention at the Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans. But their healthful powers aren't limited to the heart: Research also suggests that omega-3s boost your brain power and mood, as well as battle cancer, arthritis and diabetes.

Experts suggest that people who don't have heart disease aim for at least two servings per week of fatty fish, or the equivalent in other omega-rich foods, like flaxseed, walnuts and canola oil. If you have heart disease, get about one gram of fish oil per day from fish or capsules.

Where the omega-3s are
Walnuts (1 cup): 2.5 g
Edamame—aka green soybeans (1 cup): 0.6 g
Flaxseed (1/8 cup): 4.8 g
Salmon (3 oz): 1.8 g
Mackerel (3 oz): 2.1 g
Herring (3 oz): 1.4 g