Omega-3s: Healthy fats that reduce risk of diseases, autism

WASHINGTON — Not all fats are created equal, and Omega-3 fatty acids are downright good for you.

A type of fat that can help reduce heart disease? That’s what Omega-3s are, said Sally Squires, who writes the Lean Plate Club™ blog.

These fats lower the levels of triglycerides — the fat in the blood — and cut the odds of developing irregular heartbeats that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

And, a new study by the American Academy of Neurology found that they can reduce the risk of getting multiple sclerosis as well, Squires said. Multiple sclerosis is a disease that affects the brain and the spinal cord that causes communication problems between the brain and the rest of the body.

Squires cited a study published in the Journal of Nutrition that found that preterm babies born 11 weeks before their due dates seemed to benefit from Omega-3 supplements. There is early evidence that there is a “greater reduction in autism and autism spectrum disorders” in babies who got Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, Squires said.

Two servings a week of fish would give you the necessary amount of Omega-3 fatty acids. “Oily fish, cold-water, deep-water fish” are good sources, Squires said. These include tuna, salmon and sardines.

For those who eat a vegan or plant-based diet, Squires said that walnuts and oils (canola, flaxseed, soybean) have Omega-3s. However, these are don’t have as much “bang for your buck,” as fish do, she said.

Listen to Squires talk about the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids.


April 25, 2024 | Sally Squires of The Lean Plate blog on the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids (Abigail Constantino)


Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

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