What You Need to Know About Omega-3s

We all know we’re supposed to eat a diet that’s high in Omega-3 fatty acids, but how many do we need and how do we get them? Here’s what you need to know about Omega-3 fatty acids and how they can be one of your best friends along your wellness journey.

Why Do We Need Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

Omega 3 fatty acids are one of four types of fats, called polyunsaturated fats. This type of fat is essential for good health. Omega-3s are necessary for several body functions, including:

  • Blood clotting
  • Production of cell membranes
  • Protecting against heart disease
  • Lowering the risk of cancer
  • Reducing the risk of autoimmune diseases

Because our bodies cannot make omega-3 fatty acids, it’s important to ensure that we get enough of this healthy fat in our diets every day.

What Kind of Foods are Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids?A pile of flax seed.

There are three basic types of Omega-3s: alpha-linolenic acids (ALA),  eicosapentaenoic acids (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The first kind is found in a wide variety of vegetable oils like:

  • Flaxseed
  • Canola
  • Soybean

It’s also found in walnuts. DHAs are found in fish oil, and are typically used in supplements. EPAs are typically found in fatty fish like salmon. At this time, we don’t know if there’s a health difference between the Omega-3s found in nuts or fish, so it’s best to try to incorporate both into your diet.

What about Omega-6 Fatty Acids?

Omega-6 fatty acids are also found in polyunsaturated fats. Like Omega-3s, our body cannot make them and so they must be found in food. However, the typical Western diet that most Americans eat is filled with Omega-6 fatty acids. Some good sources include:

  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Cereals
  • Coconut
  • Avocado

So, How Many Omega-3s Do We Need to Eat Daily?A closeup of a walnut encrusted treat.

The amount that we need varies from person to person. However, the Institute of Medicine suggests that adult women need about 1,100 milligrams of Omega-3s per day, while men need about 1,600 milligrams. Pregnant and nursing mothers require more. Here are a how many Omega-3s are in your favorite foods:

  • Flaxseeds- Just one-quarter of a cup of flaxseeds contain about seven grams.
  • Walnuts- One-quarter of a cup contains about two grams.
  • Beans- A cup of soybeans, navy beans or kidney beans provide you with about 500 milligrams.
  • Salmon- a four once serving provides you with about 2 grams.  
  • Tuna and halibut have about 500 milligrams.
  • Extra virgin olive oil- 200 milligrams per ounce

Many experts suggest eating oily fish twice a week to ensure that we get enough Omega-3s in our diet. If you’d like to learn more about Omega-3s and their benefits on your health, talk to your chiropractor. He or she will be able to explain the importance of this essential fatty acid on your overall wellness and why it’s best to avoid a fat-free diet.


Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.

Story credit

Video credit

Photo credit: Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Alisha VargasUsed under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Mike Linksvayer

This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.