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Health benefits of long chain Omega-3s

Health benefits of long chain Omega-3s

The health benefits of long chain Omega-3 fatty acids are gaining important credence in official and commercial circles.

Omega-3s are scarce nutrients found in oily fish and to a lesser extent in other seafood, lean meats and enriched foods. They have recently been added to an influential list of vital nutrients used by health professionals advising on nutrient intakes.

And now, The Omega-3 Centre has been set up by representatives of a range of organisations to provide accurate, scientifically based information on Omega-3s to health professionals and the community.

The many and varied health benefits of Omega-3s are being rapidly uncovered by scientific research.

“People of all ages benefit from eating the long chain Omega-3s called EPA and DHA,” says nutritionist and Omega-3 Centre supporter Wendy Morgan. “The problem is, here in Australasia we just don’t eat enough.

“For babies in the womb and young children for healthy brain growth and development, through to adults and the elderly who want to maintain an active brain and a healthy heart, Omega-3s have important health benefits.”

Now the Australian and New Zealand Governments are backing the nutritional value of Omega-3s in the publication The Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand including Recommended Dietary Intakes.

Omega-3s have been added to the list of essential nutrients for health in this publication used as a guide by doctors, dietitians and other health professionals.

The New Zealand Suggested Dietary Targets for the long chain Omega-3s for optimal health are 430mg a day for women and 610mg for men.

The Omega-3 Centre is adding weight to the message by spreading the word on both sides of the Tasman about the health benefits and the ways people can include more in their diets.

“Fish such as salmon, mackerel and tuna are definitely the richest source of long chain Omega-3s,” says Wendy Morgan. “Other types of seafood contain smaller amounts and recently other foods have been enriched with long chain Omega-3s.”

For example, a small 150g salmon fillet portion is especially high in health-protecting long chain Omega-3s containing about 8.7g, compared to prawns at around 0.1g per 100g serve.

The new Centre will help overcome barriers to increasing consumption and will work with government and regulators to improve the situation.

Ms Morgan believes many factors such as changes in eating habits and agricultural practices have led to our decreased intake of long chain Omega-3s.

Omega-3s make blood less likely to form clots and reduce the risk of sudden death due to heart attack. They also help lower unhealthy triglycerides and help keep blood vessels flexible.

The only current New Zealand seafood member of the Omega-3 Centre is New Zealand King Salmon, marketer of the Regal Marlborough Salmon brand.


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