omega 3

Jessica Penner, RDUncategorizedLeave a Comment

 

You’ve probably heard about omega 3 fatty acids and that they are essential for human health. But do you know what they are?

Without getting too detailed about the chemical structure of fats, omega 3s are a type of polyunsaturated fat. Polyunsaturated fats are crinkly in nature, compares to saturated fats, which are flat.

Comparison between pile of logs and pile of branches

3 main types of omega 3 fatty acids

Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA):

  • High sources: flax seeds and hemp seeds
  • Medium sources: canola oil and  soybean oil, and walnuts
  • Low sources: spinach, kale, brussel sprouts, and other salad greens

Eicosapentanoic Acid (EPA):

  • Found in fish and seafood, with a higher amount in cold water fish. Also found in omega 3 eggs, produced by chickens fed a special diet
  • Low source: eggs, cows milk, and goats milk

Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA):

  • Found in fish and seafood, with a higher amount in cold water fish. Also found in omega 3 eggs, produced by chickens fed a special diet
  • Low source: eggs, cows milk, and goats milk

omega 3 deficiency

The brain is composed primarily of fat, of which most of it is DHA! DHA is the preferred building material for brain. But if the body doesn’t get enough, it will use other fats in its place.

When infants are deficient in omega 3 fatty acids, the development of their eyesight, brain, and nerves is affected. More recent research is showing that a deficiency can also affect a child’s immune system, growth, and metabolic functioning. Clearly, this is a very important nutrient!

how to ensure your baby is getting omega 3s

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: A mother will pass on the required DHA to her infant while in the womb and afterwards through breastfeeding. However, the other can’t pass on what she doesn’t have so it’s important that mothers are eating fish 2-3x per week. Less than 1% of ALA is converted to the DHA counterpart so its not recommended to rely on flax or hemp or other sources of ALA. If you’re not a fan of fish, you can take a supplement that would equal 1.2g of omega 3 fatty acids a day. Breastfeeding is the best way to provide omega 3 fatty acids to your baby. Continue to breastfeed for as long as you can!

Formula: Choose an infant formula that includes omega 3 fatty acids.

Feeding fish: Once your baby has started on solid foods, aim to serve fish and seafood 2-3 times a week.

 

 

Subscribe for exclusive access to my meal planning hacks ebook!
Smart Nutrition Logo Arrow subscribe

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *