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Dec 06 2013

Food Sources of Omega-3 Fats

Information about Omega-3 Fats
 

  • Omega-3 fats have many functions in our body and are important for good health.  There are three kinds of omega-3 fats:
    • ALA (alpha-linoleic acid)
    • DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)
    • EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid).
  • ALA is an essential fat so it must be consumed in the diet.
  • Our bodies can make EPA and DHA from ALA, but this is very limited. Therefore, it is important to include foods rich in DHA and EPA in your diet.

How Much Omega-3 Should I Aim For?


  • The amount of omega-3 fat you need depends on your age and whether you are male or female.

  • Your doctor may recommend more omega-3 fats than what is shown in the chart, if you have heart disease or are at risk for heart disease. Talk to your doctor or dietitian for more information.

Age in Years

Aim for an ALA intake of grams (g)/day

Stay Below g/day

Men 19 and older
 

1.6

 
No upper limit has been established for ALA.

Women 19 and older

1.1

Pregnant Women 19 and older
 

1.4
 

Breastfeeding Women 19 and older

1.3

 
To follow a healthy diet aim for at least 2 servings of fish per week which provides about 0.3-0.45 grams of EPA and DHA per day. 


Omega-3 Fat Content of Some Common Foods

 
ALA is found in certain vegetable oils, walnuts, flaxseeds and soy products. EPA and DHA are found in fish, seafood and fish oils. This table shows you foods which are sources of omega-3 fats.
 

Food

Serving size

ALA (g)

EPA/DHA (g)

Vegetables and Fruit

Not a good source of omega-3 fats.

Edamame/baby soybeans, cooked

125 mL (½ cup)  

0.29-0.34

0

Radish seeds, sprouted, raw

125 mL (½ cup)  

0.42  

0

Winter squash, cooked

125 mL (½ cup)  

0.18

0

Grain products

Products made with flax, soybean or canola oil provide ALA. Some grain products are now enriched with EPA/DHA.  Check food labels for details.

Wheat germ cereal, toasted

30 g   

0.24

0

 
Milk and Alternatives

Some dairy products now provide omega-3 fat. Check food labels for details.

Milk, fortified with DHA *

250 mL (1 cup)

0

0.01

Omega-3 soy beverage with flax and algal*

250 mL (1 cup)

0.67

0.03

Omega-3 yogurt *

175 g (¾ cup)

0.46

0

Soy beverage

250 mL (1 cup)

0.19

0

 Meat and Alternatives

 

 

 

Egg Products

 

 

 

Eggs, cooked  

2 eggs  

0.06-0.28

0.07

Omega-3 eggs fortified with DHA*

2 eggs

0.50-0.54

0.16-0.27

Fish and Seafood

 

 

 

Anchovies, canned with oil

75 g (2 ½ oz)

0.01

1.54

Arctic char, cooked

75 g (2 ½ oz)

0.08

0.68

Carp, cooked

75 g (2 ½ oz)

0.26

0.56

Caviar (black, red), granular

75 g (2 ½ oz)

0.01

1.96

Clams, cooked

75 g (2 ½ oz)

0.01

0.21

Cod, Atlantic, cooked

75 g (2 ½ oz)

0

0.11

Cod, Pacific, cooked

75 g (2 ½ oz)

0.04

0.79

Crab, cooked

75 g (2 ½ oz)

0.01

0.36

Eel, cooked

75 g (2 ½ oz)

0.42

0.14

Halibut, cooked

75 g (2 ½ oz)

0.04-0.06

0.35-0.88

Herring, cooked

75 g (2 ½ oz)

0.05-0.11

1.6

Lobster, cooked

75 g (2 ½ oz)

0.01

0.42

Mackerel, cooked

75 g (2 ½ oz)

0.03-0.08

0.90-1.39

Mackerel, salted

75 g (2 ½ oz)

0.12

3.43

Mussels, cooked

75 g (2 ½ oz)

0.03

0.59

Octopus, cooked

75 g (2 ½ oz)

0

0.13

Oysters, Eastern/Blue point, cooked

75 g (2 ½ oz)

0.04-0.05

0.33-0.41

Oysters, Pacific, cooked

75 g (2 ½ oz)

0.05

1.04

Pollock, cooked

75 g (2 ½ oz)

0

0.40

Salmon, Atlantic, farmed, raw or cooked

75 g (2 ½ oz)

0.08-0.11

1.48-1.61

Salmon, Atlantic, wild, raw or cooked

75 g (2 ½ oz)

0.22-0.28

1.08-1.38

Salmon, Chinook, raw or cooked

75 g (2 ½ oz)

0.06-0.08

1.31-1.47

Salmon, Coho, raw or cooked

75 g (2 ½ oz)

0.03-0.05

0.33-0.98

Salmon, pink/humpback, raw, cooked or canned

75 g (2 ½ oz)

0.03-0.06

0.96-1.26

Salmon, sockeye/red, raw, cooked or canned

75 g (2 ½ oz)

0.05-0.07

0.87-1.06

Sardines, canned

75 g (2 ½ oz)

0.17-0.37

0.74-1.05

Scallops, cooked

75 g (2 ½ oz)

0

0.27

Shrimp, cooked

75 g (2 ½ oz)

0.01

0.24

Snapper, cooked

75 g (2 ½ oz)

0

0.25

Sole or plaice, cooked

75 g (2 ½ oz)

0.01

0.37

Tilapia, cooked

75 g (2 ½ oz)

0.03

0.10

Trout, cooked

75 g (2 ½ oz)

0.06-0.14

0.65-0.87

Tuna, light, canned with water

75 g (2 ½ oz)

0

0.21

Tuna, white, canned with water

75 g (2 ½ oz)

0.05

0.65

Whitefish, cooked

75 g (2 ½ oz)

0.17

1.20

Meat Alternatives

 

 

 

Beans (navy, pinto), cooked

175 mL (¾ cup)

0.17-0.24

0

Peas, black-eyed, cooked

175 mL (¾ cup)

0.11

0

Soybeans, mature, cooked

175 mL (¾ cup)

0.76

0

Tofu, cooked

150 g (¾ cup)

0.27-0.48

0

Meatless (fish sticks, chicken, meatballs), cooked

75 g (2 ½ oz)

0.39-0.78

0

Nuts and Seeds

 

 

 

Almonds, oil roasted, blanched

60 mL (¼ cup)

0.15

0

Chia seeds

15 mL (1 Tbsp)

1.9

0

Flaxseed, ground**

15 mL (1 Tbsp)

2.46

0

Hickory nuts

60 mL (¼ cup)

0.32

0

Pumpkin seeds, without shell

60 mL (¼ cup)

0.06

0

Pecans

60 mL (¼ cup)

0.25-0.29

0

Soy nuts

60 mL (¼ cup)

0.42

0

Walnuts, black

60 mL (¼ cup

0.64

0

Walnuts, English, Persian

60 mL (¼ cup)

2.30

0

 
Fats and Oils

 

 

 

Canola oil

5 mL (1 tsp)

0.42

0

DHA-enriched Omega-3 margarine made with fish oil

5 mL (1 tsp)

0.28

0.03

Flaxseed oil

5 mL (1 tsp)

2.58

0

Omega-3 margarine made with canola oil *

5 mL (1 tsp)

0.34

0

Soybean oil

5 mL (1 tsp)

0.31

0

Walnut oil

5 mL (1 tsp)

0.48

0

Other

 

 

 

Herring oil supplement

5 mL (1 tsp)

0.04

0.48

Salmon oil supplement

5 mL (1 tsp)

0.05

1.44          

Sardine oil supplement

5 mL (1 tsp)

0.06

0.96

Almond beverage

250 mL (1 cup)

0.10

0

Oat beverage

250 mL (1 cup)

0.30

0

* Amounts vary depending on product
**As a seed, very little of the Omega-3 fat is absorbed because the seed is very hard to digest by the body. Try grinding the flaxseed to improve absorption. 
 
 
Source: "Canadian Nutrient File 2010"
www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/fiche-nutri-data/index-eng.php    [Accessed Dec. 2012]

 

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