Healthy fats - the benefits of Omega 3

There's so much competing information available regarding nutrition, a parent’s quest to keep healthy food on the table can be confusing – especially when it comes to cutting through the fat … on fats.

Omega-3s – Cutting Through the Fat

We often hear about the health benefits of omega-3s, the "good fats", but have you ever found yourself wondering just what it is they do? If so, read on...

But isn’t fat bad for us?

It’s never that simple! Different kinds of fats, saturated and unsaturated, are processed differently by the body, and therefore have different health effects. The really important fat factor as far as your child is concerned is that it stores energy – the energy your child needs to grow and develop. But you are right that although fat is a natural ingredient in much of the food we eat, too many "bad fats" – especially the trans fats found in the junk food and snacks kids love – promote the production of bad cholesterol. This raises your child’s risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease and other negative health effects in adulthood.

So why are Omega-3s so good?

Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly those found in fish oils, are believed to prevent cholesterol from clogging our arteries, keeping our hearts healthy. Omega-3s are also believed to help fight everything from diabetes to cancer — they may even aid neurological repair and provide benefits to people with certain psychological disorders.

So where do I get these "wonder fats"?

Find it in salmon, tuna, sardines and anchovies, and other types of fish – doctors recommend eating fatty fish at least twice a week.

But my child hates fish!

Not a problem: your child’s body can get Omega-3s from foods like tofu and other forms of soybeans, canola, walnut and flaxseed and their oils, and dark green leafy vegetables. Fortified foods such as eggs, bread and juice are also believed to promote production of Omega-3 fatty acids.

Give your child a varied selection of these choices and she’ll reap the benefits of Omega-3s.

Cutting through the fat:

Some easy Omega 3 recipes for families on the go:

Find out more

Vegetarian Society fact sheet on Omega 3's

The Fish Foundation's technical explanation of Omega 3's!