Week 2 Challenge

by Bethany Vessey, Registered Dietitian on January 9, 2013 · 2 comments

How many of you can say you eat at least one of the below foods daily?

  • 2-75 gram (2.5oz) of salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring, Arctic Char, Anchovies, or trout
  • 3/4 cup of tofu
  • 1 tbsp ground Flax seed
  • 1 tsp flax seed oil
  • 1 tbsp Chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup of Walnuts
  • 3/4 cup of soy nuts

Next question. . . What do all these foods have in common? Uncertain? That’s ok keep reading!

Have you ever heard of ALA, ( alpha-linolenic acid)?

What about DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) or EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)?

Still not ringing a bell? How about Omega 3 Fats?

ALA, DHA, EPA are all Omega 3 Fats. ALA is an essential fat, which means we cannot make it in our body and therefore we should try to get it from the foods we eat, such as the foods listed above!

Males (19+) should try to consume 1.6 grams of ALA/day

Women (19+) should try to  consume 1.1 grams of ALA/day

Pregnant Women (19+) should try to  consume 1.4 grams of ALA/day

Breast Feeding Women (19+) should try to  consume 1.3 grams of ALA/day

Our bodies can make DHA and EPA from ALA when it is consumed but it is also important to try and consume foods that naturally contain DHA and EPA to help ensure you meet your daily needs.

DHA and EPA have been linked to many health benefits and functions that we should not ignore such as:

  • brain, nerve, and eye development in infants.
  • prevention and treatment of heart disease, (if you have heart disease please speak to your doctor before increasing your intake of omega 3 fats).
  • Reduction in the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Further studies are needed but they Omega 3’s may be linked to the prevention of dementia including Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Omega 3’s have been linked, along with other diet changes to managing the symptoms of Fibromyalgia.

This brings me to our Week 2 Challenge: Try to consume your daily recommended intake of ALA (see above) or DHA and EPA.

Click below to see a detailed list of foods that contain Omega 3’s

Food Sources of Omega 3

To help your body change ALA to DHA and EPA, you should try to avoid foods high in trans and saturated fats, such as processed foods, and limit other oils such as safflower, sunflower and corn oil, which are also predominately found in processed foods- read your labels!

Many may ask about taking Omega 3 supplements and that certainly could be a easier way to meet your daily needs, but I don’t believe the word EASY is found within the word CHALLENGE!! Remember step outside your comfort zones and give this challenge a try. Register Dietitians ALWAYS encourage clients to meet their daily nutrient needs through the foods they consume, so I am challenging all of you to to do the same!

Special Considerations: Allergies to nuts, seeds, fish, or pregnancy where you are limiting mercury in your diet (see below).

  •  Allergies: Be sure to avoid the foods you know you are allergic to. There are many options to get omega 3’s into your diet, (see “Food Sources of Omega 3: link above), choose the options best for you!
  • Those pregnant or questioning the Mercury level in fish, Click Here to have your questions answered.

Good luck on this weeks Challenge and also remember last weeks 8 cups/day water challenge is still on!!!

Looking forward to hearing how you get your Omega 3’s in!



Paige Rankin January 9, 2013 at 12:00 pm

I make a granola (mom’s recipe!) for my morning yogurt (3tbsp of greek yogurt). My granola has both ground flax seed and chia seeds! It starts my day off properly, even better then a cup of coffee for this gym teacher!

Bethany Vessey January 9, 2013 at 7:42 pm

Sounds awesome Paige!! You should share the granola recipe with us!

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