Sources of Good Fats

Last weeks post was on the benefits of polyunsaturated fats (omega 3 & 6). If you train hard getting enough of these fats may be beneficial to recovery, fat metabolism and cardio vascular performance. We covered some guidelines on how much fat you may need and what are the best sources. For a closer look here is an analysis of the types of fats in some of the most commonly available foods:

EFA (Essential Fatty Acid) Content of Common Foods

(typical amounts in grams per 100g raw)

Omega 3 Omega 6 Mono-unsaturated fat Saturated fat
Nuts
Almond trace 1.2 30.9 3.7
Avocado 0.1 1.7 9.8 2.1
Brazil Trace 20.5 24.6 15.1
Cashew Trace 7.8 23.8 7.8
Hazelnut Trace 7.8 45.7 4.5
Peanut 0 13.9 22.6 8.6
Pistachio 0.3 13.2 23.3 5.4
Walnut 9.0 38.0 8.9 6.1
Seeds
Flax seed (linseed) 22.8 5.9 7.5 3.7
Hemp seed 8.6 27.7 2.9 2.4
Pumpkin seed 3.8 23.5 16.0 4.2
Sunflower seed Trace 23.0 18.5 4.5
Fish
Salmon (Atlantic) 2.5 1.0 3.8 3.0
Mackerel (Atlantic) 2.7 0.2 5.5 3.3
Tuna, Blue Fin (fresh) 1.3 Trace 1.6 1.3
Eggs Trace 1.1 3.8 3.1

Trace = less than 100mg

Source: www.nutritiondata.self.com, Guy Inchbald

Should I take an omega 3 supplement?

Looking at the chart above clearly hemp, flax and walnuts have the highest amount of omega 3 per 100g. Flax is the best choice for omega 3 without adding large amounts of omega 6. Hemp is close to the recommended ideal ratio of 3:1 omega 6 to 3. Flax is best consumed as an oil supplement. The seeds are indigestible unless ground or soaked.

Oily fish are also good sources of omega 3. Based on the 2500kcal diet example in the previous post, the guideline amounts per day for EFAs were 6 grams of omega 3 and 18 grams of omega 6. Draw your own conclusions about the idea of 1 serving of oily fish per week being enough to fulfil your omega 3 requirement.

There are many voices out there proclaiming the benefits of omega fats, especially those that have a product to sell. Research on omegas is still relatively new. ‘All things in moderation’ applies here. No need to go completely nuts.

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