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Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Content of Foods

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Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Content of Foods

Omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent heart disease. This type of fat is found is many foods. There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids—alpha-linolenic acid (found in some vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and soy foods) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are found in fatty fish.

The amount of omega-3 fatty acids needed to prevent heart disease is not clear. However, for those who have suffered from some form of heart disease, consuming between 0.5-1.8 grams (g) of EPA+DHA/day can reduce cardiovascular deaths. An alpha-linolenic acid intake of approximately 1.3 to 3 g/day seems to benefit those who have had cardiovascular disease.

The following table provides the omega-3 content of various foods.

Food

EPA+DHA Content/
(3-oz serving)

Linolenic Acid Content (grams/tablespoon)

Tuna, lite, canned in water (drained)

0.26

Tuna, white, canned in water (drained)

0.73

Tuna, fresh

0.24-1.28

Sardines

0.98-1.70

Salmon
Chum
Sockeye
Pink
Chinook
Atlantic, farmed
Atlantic, wild

 

0.68
0.68
1.09
1.48
1.09-1.83
0.9-1.56

 






Mackerel

0.34-1.57

Herring
Pacific
Atlantic

 

1.81
1.71

 


Trout, rainbow
Farmed
Wild

 

0.98
0.84

 


Halibut

0.4-1.0

Cod
Pacific
Atlantic

 

0.13
0.24

 


Haddock

0.2

Catfish
Farmed
Wild

 

0.15
0.2

 


Flounder/sole

0.42

Oyster
Pacific
Eastern
Farmed

 

1.17
0.47
0.37

 



Lobster

0.07-0.41

Crab, Alaskan king

0.35

Shrimp, mixed species

0.27

Clams

0.24

Scallops

0.17

Olive oil

0.1

Walnuts, English

0.7

Soybean oil

0.9

Canola oil

1.3

Walnut oil

1.4

Flaxseeds

2.2

Flaxseed oil

8.5

References
American Heart Association Nutrition Committee: Kris-Etherton PM, Harris WS, Appel LJ. AHA: scientific statement: fish consumption, fish oil, omega-3 fatty acids, and cardiovascular disease. Circulation. 2002;106:2747-2757.

Mahan LK, Escott-Stump S. Krause’s Food and Nutrition Therapy. 12th ed. St Louis, MO: Saunders/Elsevier; 2008.

 

Review Date 8/09
G-1037

G_1037_Omega_3_Fatty_Acids_Content_of_Foods.doc

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