Omega-3 for a healthier lifestyle

It is suggested that people should have at least two portions of fish per week, one of which should be oily. So why fish? Oily fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid considered an essential fatty acid.

Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in oily fish such as such as salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, sardines, tuna (fresh only ), and pilchards. Other sources include nuts such as walnuts, seeds such as linseeds and pumpkin seeds, and oils such as linseed, canola (rapeseed ), pumpkin seed, and walnut oils.

Omega-3 fatty acids have many health benefits, including brain functioning and brain development in the womb and young children. It is also important for a healthy heart; eating oily fish regularly is associated with a lower risk of death from heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent blood clots, as well as lower blood triglyceride levels, a type of blood fat that can increase risk of heart disease.

Fish also has other benefits. Oily fish is a source of vitamin D which works with calcium to build strong healthy bones and teeth; and is low in saturated fats, the fats that increase cholesterol levels.

Although they do not contain the same omega-3 fatty acids, lean fish is also good for us and associated with a healthy, low-fat diet. Examples include cod, haddock, pollock, whiting, coley, and monkfish.

Recipe ideas

Mackerel pate:

Smoked/regular mackerel and light/extra light cream cheese blended together and spread on wholemeal bread or whole wheat cracker makes a delicious lunch or snack.

Baked trout:

1 whole trout, cleaned and washed, 1 lemon, sliced, 1 small knob low fat spread, pepper to season.

Season inside of fish with pepper and add low fat spread and sliced lemon.

Close fish, wrap in tinfoil, and place on tray in oven preheated to 200C.

Bake for 20-30 minutes. Cooking time will vary depending on size of fish.

Remove from oven and enjoy! Serving suggestion: baked potato and salad.

For more information and ideas on fish dishes visit the safefood website at or the Irish Sea Fisheries Board website at

For more information on any of the issues discussed above or for more information on diet and nutrition, please contact Maria at the Community Nutrition and Dietetic Service, HSE Dublin-Mid Leinster at (044 ) 9353220 or email [email protected].


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