Sunday, July 19, 2009

Which Fish Have the Most Omega 3 Fatty Acids?

Most of us know that fish are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids, and that these are the "healthy" fats that help prevent heart disease. Is there much difference in omega 3 fatty acid content among various fish? I found out the importance of this question when it showed up on my board examination this past week.

In general, fresh water fish have LESS omega 3 fatty acid content than fish from salt water, although trout is a pretty good source. The correct answer on my board question was most probably salmon, although herring has a higher content (was not listed as a choice). Not all salmon have the same amount of omega 3s, with Atlantic, Coho, and Sockeye salmon leading the list. Besides salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines and halibut are good sources of omega 3 fatty acids.

Some fish and vegetable oils have more omega 6 fatty acids, not considered a "healthy" fat for reducing heart disease. Some evidence suggests that the ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 is important for reducing heart disease risk. I found out recently that tilapia, a fish I order sometimes, has a much higher content of omega 6 than omega 3 fatty acids. No more tilapia for me!

Like most areas of nutrition, drilling down to the next level of information is important. Eating healthy is one of the most important things we do. With these blogs, I strive to give you the best nutrition information possible so you may make wise food choices, one of the pillars of good health.


1 comment:

Anne said...

Wild fish have more omega 3's than the farmed raised fish. I was surprised to lean that even a wild caught catfish has more omega 3 and less omega 6 than the farm raised variety. You can search for the different fishes on this website and see the difference.

Pasture raised beef is also much higher in omega 3's than the feed lot animals. Pasture raised and pasture finished beef is much leaner than the grain fed animals - hmmm grains are used to fatten animals. Just maybe grains fatten people too.

We are not only what we eat. We are what we eat, eats.