You often see omega 3 fatty acids featured on products in the supermarket, such as butter and fish. But what exactly is omega 3, what does omega 3 do and what is omega 3 good for? We explain it to you below.
What is omega 3?
Omega 3 fatty acids are "good" polyunsaturated fatty acids. The best known are the vegetable ALA and the fish fatty acids EPA and DHA. ALA is found, for example, in vegetable oils, such as flaxseed oil, walnuts, seaweed, avocado and green leafy vegetables. EPA and DHA are found mainly in fish, seafood and shellfish. Oily fish, such as salmon, herring and sardines, contain the most fish fatty acids. Some eggs also contain EPA and DHA. Fish cannot make EPA and DHA themselves, but get it from algae.
Your body makes a small amount of EPA and DHA itself from ALA, however, not enough. And because your body cannot make its own ALA, you have to make sure you get enough of this fatty acid through your diet. In this way, you ensure that you not only get enough ALA but also enough EPA and DHA, and thus enough omega 3!
What does omega 3 do? What is omega 3 good for?
Omega 3 fatty acids are recommended for a healthy diet because they protect against cardiovascular disease and are good for the eyes and brain. Eating fish and the fish fatty acid DHA during pregnancy and breastfeeding is also recommended for pregnant women.
Heart and blood vessels
Research shows that eating a serving of fish a week is good for the heart and blood vessels. Research on supplements containing fish fatty acids supports this finding. Don't get your weekly serving of fish? Then intake of omega 3 fatty acids in the form of supplements is good for heart function.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Omega 3 is also good for pregnant women and babies. DHA during pregnancy and breastfeeding contributes to the development of the baby's brain and retina. ALA is necessary for the normal growth and development of children. If you eat according to the Disk of Five as a pregnant woman, the baby will get enough omega 3 fatty acids. Do you eat little or no fish? If so, consider taking extra omega 3. Adding omega 3 to the diet is also recommended for premature babies.
In addition, DHA contributes to normal brain function and vision, and 3 grams of EPA and DHA help maintain normal blood pressure.
What is sufficient omega 3? The Health Council recommends that adults get 200 milligrams of omega 3 fatty acids from fish per day. If you eat one serving of fish per week, you will meet this recommendation. Are you not achieving this? Then fish oil capsules, fish oil or algae oil are a good alternative. These are rich in EPA and DHA. The omega 3 in algae oil is extracted directly from algae. There are also sustainable alternatives where omega 3 is extracted only from the trimmings of fish fillets, so no additional fish have to be caught.