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The ABCs of Omega-3s

It used to be that fish was the go-to way to get omega-3s. These essential fatty acids, according to solid scientific research, can improve heart health and may prevent certain types of cancers. Salmon, tuna, and other sea dwellers are loaded with them, which is why we suggest that the Rebuccis eat fish twice a week (see familycircle.com/healthyfamily2011). Recently, however, numerous supermarket staples have been promoting their omega-3 credentials, so it's important to learn where these nutrients are derived from to ensure you're getting what you need.

By Regina Ragone

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Soybeans
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Know the Difference Between Omega-3s

There are three main dietary omega-3 fatty acids, and they aren't all created equal. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), occurs in plant foods like soybeans, canola oil, and pumpkin seeds. The second and third types, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), found mostly in seafood, are most closely associated with boosting heart health. Since your body has to first convert ALA into EPA and DHA for it to be effective, and only a small amount actually gets converted, it's important to get the bulk of your omega-3s from fish sources.

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