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Women, Seafood and Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Why is seafood good for women’s health?
In addition to numerous other nutrients, seafood contains two important omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Many Americans do not get the recommended amount of Omega-3, which is about 1-3 grams per day, according to the American Heart Association. According to the National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements Omega-3 Fatty Acids fact sheet the amount of omega-3 fatty acids women consume can affect:

  • Risk for heart disease
  • Risk for preterm birth (premature birth)
  • Growth and development in unborn babies and breastfed infants

A deficiency can also lead to:

  • Soft, peeling, or brittle nails
  • Excessive thirst
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Excessive mood swings, depression, or unwarranted anxiety
  • Rough or dry, bumpy skin
  • Dry, dull, brittle hair and dandruff

How can I get enough omega-3 fatty acids?
There are a multitude of ways to the required with omega-3 fatty acids. If you want to increase your omega-3 fatty acids, try:

  • Eating seafood. Salmon, tuna, trout, anchovies, and sardines have high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Try to make seafood your primary protein choice several times a week.
  • Eating nuts, seeds, and oils with omega-3 fatty acids.  Walnuts, flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, soybean oil, and canola oil are all high in omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Eating foods with added omega-3 fatty acids. Some foods have been fortified with added omega-3 fatty acids (look for “fortified” on the label). This may include some types of eggs, yogurt, juices, milk or soy beverages. 
  • Take a fish oil/vegetarian supplement. If you are having a hard time getting enough omega-3 fatty acids from food, your physician may recommend an over-the-counter supplement. Vegetarian women who do not eat seafood especially may benefit from vegetarian omega-3 supplements.

This article is intended to convey general educational information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

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