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How Can I Get Enough Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

Everyday Food, November 2010

Q: I don't eat much fish. How can I get enough omega-3 fatty acids?

A: You're right to want these healthy fats in your diet -- they offer protection against heart disease and memory loss. There are two types: the fish oils EPA and DHA and the plant oil ALA, found in flaxseed, walnuts, and vegetable oils. Your body converts about 35 percent of ALA into EPA and DHA, so even if fish doesn't make a frequent appearance on your plate, you can get omega-3s by eating foods with plant oils. Try ground flaxseed in smoothies and oatmeal or snack on walnuts. For an extra boost, switch to omega-3 eggs -- the hens that lay them have a diet rich in omega-3s, so their eggs naturally have some, too. As you eat more healthy fats, cut back on saturated fat sources, such as butter or red meat, to keep unhealthy fat intake low.

Heather K. Jones, a registered dietitian in San Francisco, is the author of "The Grocery Cart Makeover."