Jessie Lan, HK BioTek Intern Nutritionist
Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fatty acids with a carbon-carbon double bond at the third carbon atom. Despite the fact that they are considered as fat, you would not want to limit or cut down your intake on them. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help preventing heart diseases, stroke and play a protective role in cancers and other diseases. Studies and research have also proven that Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory. The higher intake of omega-3 fatty acids has shown a lower inflammatory rate, helps with food allergies and food sensitivity symptoms and improves people’s overall health situation. For women who receive omega-3 fatty acid supplements during their pregnancy, their newborn babies are believed to be at a lower risk of infant allergy.
However, human bodies cannot produce such acids on its own, therefore it is extremely important that we consume food that contains omega-3 fatty acids. There are three main types of omega-3 fatty acids. They are Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are found in animals and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which is found in plants. Food that are high in omega-3 fatty acids include: salmon (wild salmon has higher omega-3 fatty acids level than those of farmed salmon), tuna, chia seeds, walnuts, soybeans and spinach. There are also numerous nutritional supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids that can be purchased. But you should always talk to your doctor before taking such supplements. Your doctor may have specific warnings or recommendations on which supplement you should take and your needed dosage. You should also be cautious about the ingredients of your supplements as a lot of supplements now include dairy or gluten to better the taste. However, these are common allergens that may trigger allergic reactions.