Only problem is, I gag at the smell and sight of fish right now.
So I've been trying to use ground flax seed sprinkled in other foods I can manage, like yogurt, fruit salad, toaster waffles and cereal.
I know the flax seed needs to be ground in order to be absorbed, but how much do I need to consume each day in order to get the same benefits as eating a serving of fish?
Are there other good sources of omega-3's that I should try?
-- “My Eggo is Preggo”
First of all -- congratulations!
Your question is a great one, since it deals with the different varieties of Omega-3 fatty acids.
Although we often refer to "Omega 3 fats" as one general category, there are three different types -- Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA), EicosoPentaenoic Acid (EPA), and DocosaHexaenoic Acid (DHA).
EPA and DHA, meanwhile, are found in large quantities in cold water fish. Grass-fed beef also contains a little.
One concern with getting Omega-3's solely from vegetable sources is that many people are unable to convert
Fetuses are absolutely unable to make this conversion, so they must get EPA and DHA directly from the mother (DHA is particularly necessary for eye and brain development.)
Even if you, as the mother, are able to convert
To put that into perspective, 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains slightly less than 2 grams of ALA.
One tablespoon of flax oil, meanwhile, delivers 7 grams (one good way to incorporate that into your diet is by adding it into a smoothie).
It's also important to realize that as good for us as Omega 3 fats are, they do not work alone. Vitamin C, zinc, and magnesium are involved in the conversion of
If you are not consuming enough of those nutrients, your will not convert quite as efficiently (so, say, you might need 15 or 17 grams of
In your situation, I suggest taking an EPA/DHA supplement.
That doesn't mean you should stop eating ground flaxseeds, though -- they are a nutrition all-star!