Sources

Foods rich in long chain omega-3s

baked-salmonOily fish, other fish and seafood are the main sources of long chain omega-3s with eggs and lean red meat providing smaller amounts. There is a vegetarian source of omega-3 DHA, made from marine algae. Interestingly, it is the marine algae that fish feed on which helps make them a rich source of long chain omega-3s. High DHA fish oils, such as tuna oil, and vegetarian algal oil are used in a variety of omega-3 enriched foods and infant formulas.

Foods and supplements enriched with long chain Omega-3s, from both fish and algal oils, make a significant contribution to the diet of people who do not consume a lot of seafood.

Whilst fruits, vegetables and cereal grains make important contributions to a healthy diet, they do not supply long chain Omega-3s.

Long chain omega-3 source categories
Food
Super Source

Super sources are oily fish containing:

>2000mg of long chain omega-3s per serve

Fish (150g serve, raw weight)
Atlantic Salmon (farmed, Tasmania)
NZ King Salmon (farmed)
Canned sardines
Canned salmon (pink and red)
Rainbow trout (farmed, Australia)
Canned mackerel
Barramundi (farmed)
Swordfish
Excellent source

Excellent sources are white fish, other seafood and omega-3 enriched eggs containing:

>200mg of long chain omega-3s per serve

Fish (150g serve, raw weight):
Blue-eye trevalla
Silver Perch
Australian Bass
John Dory
Snapper
Frozen fish fillets*
Canned Tuna*
Herrings

Seafood (100g serve):
Oysters
Squid
Green and blue-lipped mussels
Scallops
Prawns
Baby octopus

Other foods:
Omega-3 enriched eggs (2 eggs)
*Check the Nutrition Information Panel for content of EPA and DHA per serve
Good Source

For a food to be a good source of long chain omega-3s it must contain at least 60mg per serve of EPA and DHA; and the

(a) total of saturated fatty acids  (SFA) and trans fatty acids (TFA) is no more than 28% of the total fatty acid content of the food; or

(b) the food contains no more than 5g of SFA and TFA per 100g of the food.

Fish: Kids tuna snacks*, Frozen fish fillets*

Omega-3 enriched foods:

Yoghurt*

*Check the Nutrition Information Panel for content of EPA and DHA per serve

Source

For a food to be a source of long chain omega-3s it must contain at least 30mg per serve of EPA and DHA; and the

(a) total of saturated fatty acids  (SFA) and trans fatty acids (TFA) is no more than 28% of the total fatty acid content of the food; or

(b) the food contains no more than 5g of SFA and TFA per 100g of the food.

Regular eggs

Lean red meat:
Beef
Veal
Lamb

Omega-3 enriched foods:
Bread
Milk
Yoghurt
Orange juice

 

For more information on omega-3 levels in fish and seafood visit the Heart Foundation’s website.

Do I need to take an omega-3 supplement?

It is important to obtain your omega-3 intake from natural dietary sources, for example, fish as they contain many other essential nutrients such as zinc, iron and protein.

If your dietary intake is inadequate or if you require large amounts of omega-3s to help manage a condition then long chain omega-3 supplements become an important source of these vital nutrients.

How to read an omega-3 supplement label

supplimentsOmega-3 supplements may be derived from either oily fish or microalgae. Algal DHA supplements, which are a vegetarian source of long chain omega-3s are not yet available in Australia or NZ but there are many enriched foods on the market which contain DHA supplied by algal oil. Click here for the latest products containing life’sDHA, the vegetarian source of long chain omega-3s (link)

It is best to look for supplements with the highest EPA and DHA content. When a fish oil capsule states it contains 1000mg of fish oil on the front label, it does not necessarily mean you are consuming 1000mg of the essential fatty acids – EPA and DHA. Therefore it is important to check the label as it should state the amount each capsule contains of eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA). These amounts added together provide the level of long chain omega-3s that is in each capsule. From there you can work out how many capsules you need each day to reach the suggested target intake. Click here for more information on the amount of omega-3s you need.

Click here for a list of fish oil supplements (PDF 64kb)

News & Events

  • 'Omega-3s for healthy ageing'

    suppliments

    Our Executive Director,
    Kevin Krail recently wrote an article for FISH Magazine.
     

    Click here to read article

     

Krill Oil

  • What you need to know about Omega-3 Krill Oil

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    All your questions about Krill Oil answered here.

Omega-3s

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    Recent headlines linking Omega-3’s and increased risk of prostate cancer are of great concern and not justified by the research.

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Important O3C Report

  • Realising the public health benefits of long chain Omega-3s

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    Key messages on the importance of long chain Omega-3 fatty acids in national health priority areas and sustainable options for achieving dietary recommendations are outlined in the report.

    Download the report