Eating foods containing Omega 3 fatty acids increases your intake of Omega 3, but how much and at what cost?

Now that the role of Omega 3 fatty acids in improving your health is well known the food industry has jumped on board and started producing foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids. But should you be eating foods containing Omega 3 fatty acids?

Good question. Now of course there’s no doubt that Omega 3 fats, mainly found in fish oil, are good for your health. That’s now clearly established and we have talked about many of the health benefits of Omega 3 polyunsaturated fats right here. That’s what our website is about.

But with a rash of new Omega 3 foods coming onto the market we are being asked about eating foods with Omega 3 in them. Currently there are plenty of Omega 3 fortified foods available like eggs, bread, fruit straps, cereals,milk, cheese and pasta, and more.

There are basically 2 different forms of Omega fats, plant forms and fish, or marine, forms. Both are different and it is currently considered that the fish based Omega 3 fats (EPA and DHA) are the better for you, so for this reason food manufacturers are using fish oil fortification to produce their fortified foods.

Now of course there’s no problem getting more Omega 3 fats in your diet. They have a recognized health value and very few side effects. People who eat a lot of fish have been found to have much lower levels of various diseases like heart disease and this is linked to the amount of fish they eat.Foods Containing Omega 3 Fatty Acids

However there is another issue. Whilst it does no harm at all to eat more good fats you need to consider how much you are getting and at what price.

Because foods with Omega 3 are much more highly priced than those without. That’s marketing for you. If people want those foods the manufacturers will charge more for them.

However when you look at the amount of Omega 3 in various foods you have to question whether the amount of good fats that you’re getting from your food justifies the extra cost. If the cost were the same then this isn’t an issue, but Omega 3 rich foods are more expensive.

Generally speaking the amount of Omega fats that you get in most of the foods is pretty low. If you take one serve of Omega-3 fortified bread you get around 120 mg of good fats. Of course there’s nothing wrong with more good fats, but how much are you paying for them?

Contrast that with a serving of oily fish and you get 3000 mg of Omega 3s. Dramatically more than from the bread.

Now of course fish isn’t cheap either. In fact probably the cheapest way to get your DHA and EPA is taking high quality fish oil supplements.

If you’d like to see an analysis of the different prices of DHA in different fish oil supplements read our page about how to compare fish oil supplements by price.

So there’s no problem eating foods containing Omega 3 fatty acids. You’re getting more DHA and EPA and that’s good. But it’s not stricly a cost effective way of doing it. You’re better to eat non fortified foods and buy fish oil supplements on a cost analysis.

And make sure you eat foods that aren’t fortified but are naturally high in the plant form of Omega 3. These include olive oil, flaxseed oil, walnuts and soy and linseed bread. These aren’t priced higher just because they have Omega 3 fats in them.

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