Ask the experts: Flaxseed for omega-3?

Q: “I have two dessertspoons of ground flaxseed on my cereal each morning. Is that enough daily omega-3 oil? I’m not a fish eater but I wonder if I should be taking salmon oil capsules.”


A: HFG nutritionist Claire Turnbull responds:

Adding ground flaxseed to your cereal will add a little extra fibre in the morning as well as some omega-3. But it won’t give you the long-chain omega-3s which offer the well-known heart and brain health benefits.

Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) are only found in seafood. Flaxseeds contain short-chain (ALA) omega-3 fatty acids and while some are converted into the long-chain varieties in the body, we don’t really know how much.

You could add flaxseed oil to salads during the day as a top-up to help you get enough, but I would also consider using a good quality omega-3 supplement on alternate days to make sure you are meeting your overall needs.

First published: May 2012

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