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Your Morning-to-Night Guide to Omega-3 Foods

Omega-3 fatty acids include EPA and DHA, found mostly in fish and seafood. Another type, ALA, is found in flaxseeds, leafy greens, and navy beans. Eating foods with fatty acids from either animals or plants helps keep your heart healthy. Even more impressive, they can actually reduce high triglycerides. It’s no surprise, then, that your doctor told you to eat foods with omega-3s as part of your plan.

Need some new ways to include omega-3s in your menus? Give these a try:

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Breakfasts

  • Have a bowl of omega-3 fortified cereal with fortified milk or soy milk.  
  • Make an omelet with omega-3 fortified eggs.  
  • Add chopped walnuts, pumpkin seeds, ground flaxseeds, or chia seeds to cold breakfast cereal or oatmeal.
  • Try a breakfast shake with soymilk, silken tofu, frozen berries, fruit juice, and ice.

Lunches

  • Sprinkle flax seeds, chia seeds, or walnuts over soups and salads.  
  • Top leafy greens with albacore tuna salad made with low-fat mayonnaise.   
  • Toss a salad with walnut oil and balsamic dressing.  
  • Try a grilled salmon burger sandwich topped with baby spinach.  

Savory Snacks

  • Pair sardines packed in mustard or tomato sauce with flaxseed crackers.  
  • Munch on a handful of walnuts and dried fruit.
  • Snack on omega-3 fortified yogurt mixed with chia seeds and fresh fruit.  
  • Feast on edamame -- tasty, tender green soybeans. Eat them steamed and lightly salted.

Hearty Dinners

  • Bake, broil, or grill 3.5 ounces of salmon, trout, or halibut; serve with roasted Brussels sprouts.  
  • Whip up a kale and white bean stew, a navy bean and ham soup, or make chili with kidney beans and ground turkey.   
  • If you’re crunched for time, stock up on low-sodium canned bean soups with white, navy, or kidney beans.  
  • Crave Italian? Try soybean pasta with ground turkey breast and a light marinara sauce.

Eating an omega-3 rich diet is best, but sometimes it’s not enough. Your doctor may recommend fish oil supplements, especially if you have heart disease. As with any supplement, fish oil has some side effects. Talk to your doctor before you take them. If you have very high triglyceride levels, your doctor may recommend prescription fish oil medicine. 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on November 12, 2012

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Is Your Cholesterol Level Heart Healthy?
What is your LDL (low-density lipoprotein) level?

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or
Answer:
Desirable
0-199
Borderline
200-239
High
240+

Your level is currently

Congratulations! Your total cholesterol level is in the Desirable range, and your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is optimal.

Congratulations! Your total cholesterol level is in the Desirable range, and your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is near optimal.

Your total cholesterol level is in the Desirable range, but your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is borderline high. If your LDL goes higher, your total cholesterol level could become Borderline High. Consider reducing the amount of foods you eat with saturated fats and increasing physical activity. If you get more exercise, your level of "good" HDL cholesterol may increase, which could also help to keep your levels of LDL and total cholesterol in check.

Your total cholesterol level is in the Desirable range, but your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is High. This may mean that your level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good" cholesterol, is too low. It is best to have a high level of "good" HDL and a low level of "bad" LDL. The HDL helps keep your LDL level in check. Ask your doctor for your HDL level. If your HDL is low, increasing your physical activity can increase it, which may help reduce your LDL level.

Your total cholesterol level is in the Desirable range, but your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is Very High. This may mean that your level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good" cholesterol, is too low. It is best to have a high level of "good" HDL and a low level of "bad" LDL because the HDL helps keep your LDL level in check. Ask your doctor for your HDL level. If your HDL is low, increasing your physical activity can increase it, which may help reduce your LDL level.

Your total cholesterol level is Borderline High, but fortunately your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is optimal. This could mean you have a high level of high-density lipoprotein, or "good" HDL cholesterol, which protects against heart disease. Or you could have other non-measured increases in LDL-like particles that can increase heart disease. Your LDL level also could be optimal if you are taking a statin medication. Please check with your doctor to get your complete lipid profile and see if you may need additional treatment. In the meantime, find more information on WebMD's Cholesterol Health Center.

Your total cholesterol level is Borderline High, but fortunately your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is near optimal. This could mean you have a high level of high-density lipoprotein, or "good" HDL cholesterol, which protects against heart disease. Or you could have other non-measured increases in LDL-like particles that can increase heart disease. Your LDL level also could be optimal if you are taking a statin medication. Please check with your doctor to get your complete lipid profile and see if you may need additional treatment. In the meantime, find more information on WebMD's Cholesterol Health Center.

Your total cholesterol level is Borderline High. Your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is Borderline High, too. Working to bring down your total cholesterol decreases your LDL cholesterol level. You can do this by exercising more and eating less food with saturated fats. Check food labels!

Your total cholesterol level is Borderline High. Your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is High. Working to bring down your total cholesterol decreases your LDL cholesterol level. You can do this by exercising more and eating less food with saturated fats. Check food labels!

Your total cholesterol level is Borderline High. But your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is Very High. Working to bring down your total cholesterol decreases your LDL cholesterol level. You can do this by exercising more and eating less food with saturated fats. Check food labels!

Your total cholesterol is High, but your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is optimal. This could mean you have a high level of high-density lipoprotein, or "good" HDL cholesterol, which protects against heart disease. Or you could have elevated secondary lipids, such as non-HDL particles that increase the risk of heart disease. Your LDL level also could be optimal if you are taking a statin medication. Please check with your doctor to get your complete lipid profile and see if you may need additional treatment. In the meantime, find more information on WebMD's Cholesterol Health Center.

Your total cholesterol is High, but your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is near optimal. This could mean you have a high level of high-density lipoprotein, or "good" HDL cholesterol, which protects against heart disease. Or you could have elevated secondary lipids, such as non-HDL particles that increase the risk of heart disease. Your LDL level also could be optimal if you are taking a statin medication. Please check with your doctor to get your complete lipid profile and see if you may need additional treatment. In the meantime, find more information on WebMD's Cholesterol Health Center.

Your total cholesterol level is High. Your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is Borderline High. Working to bring down your total cholesterol decreases your LDL cholesterol level. You can do this by exercising more and eating less food with saturated fats. Check food labels!

Your total cholesterol level is High. Your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is High, too. Working to bring down your total cholesterol decreases your LDL cholesterol level. You can do this by exercising more and eating less food with saturated fats. Check food labels! If you are struggling to bring down your total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels, your doctor may prescribe medication, such as statins. Following medication, dietary, and exercise instructions should result in improvements.

Your total cholesterol level is High, and your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is Very High. Working to bring down your total cholesterol decreases your LDL cholesterol level. You can do this by exercising more and eating less food with saturated fats. Check food labels! If you are struggling to bring down your total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels, your doctor may prescribe statins or other cholesterol-lowering medications.

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