How can I get omega-3 fatty acids if I don't like fish?

Dariush Mozaffarian, MD
Internal Medicine
According to the American Heart Association and 2010 US Dietary Guidelines for Americans, everyone should try to eat fish, especially oily fish like salmon, sardines, or herring, at least twice per week. If you don't like fish and are concerned about your risk for heart disease, or just want to "play it safe" to be sure you're getting adequate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, there is no risk in taking a daily fish oil supplement. Typical over-the-counter fish oil supplements contain 200 to 400 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) plus docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the omega 3s found in fish.

In addition, people with heart disease or high levels of triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood that raises heart disease risk) should consider fish oil supplements in consultation with their physicians. People who have elevated triglycerides may need 2 to 4 grams of these omega-3s per day.

There is also an omega-3 fatty acid found in certain plants, such as flaxseed, soybean, canola, and walnuts. Some emerging evidence suggests that plant omega-3’s may also have cardiovascular benefits, but this evidence is not yet enough to replace seafood omega’s in your diet.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.