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Omega-3 Benefits: How To Get More Fatty Acids In Your Diet

It's one those fats you should be adding to your diet.

Omega-3 is a polyunsaturated fat (a good one) and is essential for our bodies to promote heart, cognitive and eye health.

"Our bodies can’t make omega-3 fats so we need to consume it from dietary sources," says Lucia Weiler, a registered dietitian based in Toronto.

Canada’s Food Guide recommends eating at least two servings (75 grams each) of omega-3 enriched fatty fish week. Preliminary studies have shown that not getting enough omega-3 fatty acids may negatively impact your memory. Health Canada adds women who are pregnant can, along with their babies, also benefit from eating more omega-3 enriched foods.

If you're a vegetarian or vegan or don't particularly like the taste of fish, there are some non-fishy alternatives to getting omega-3. Look for the words omega-3 on the label of foods like eggs, margarine and some dairy products like milk and yogurt that are enriched with omega-3 fats.

But there's often confusion about good fats versus bad fats — especially when we're told fat makes us unhealthy. Weiler says we should limit saturated and trans fatty acids (found in many prepared foods, fried foods or pastries) and include small amounts — 2 to 3 tbsp — of unsaturated fatty acids like avocado or olive oil every day.

Here are more of Weiler's tips on getting more fatty acids flowing through your body.

How To Get More Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Add Fish To Your Diet

To start, try eating the recommended 75 gram servings of fatty fish twice a week. Cold water fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines are some of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. If you don't eat fish, try chia seeds, hemp seeds or even cauliflower, according to nutritionist Margaux Rathbun.

Get More Flax

Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil are full of omega-3 fatty acids. To sneak some into your everyday meals, add flaxseed oil to your salad dressing or dip. Or add the seeds to your cereal or smoothie — you won't even taste the difference.

Speaking Of Flax ... Grind It Up For Every Day Use

Use ground flaxseed in your smoothies, yogurt, cereals, muffins, or mix into condiments like mayonnaise and mustard.

Eat These Dairy Products

Choose dairy foods that are enriched with omega-3 fats like enriched eggs, milk or yogurt.

Go The Supplement Route

If you don't think you're getting enough omega-3 fatty acids from your diet, talk to a registered dietitian or doctor about an omega-3 fatty acid supplement.

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