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Women's Health

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Good Fat, Bad Fat: The Facts About Omega-3

Think all dietary fat is the same? Guess again

Supplements vs. Foods continued...

More important, experts say, there is a danger of overdosing on fish-oil supplements, particularly if you take more than the recommended amount. Doing so can increase your risk of bleeding or bruising. This isn't likely to happen when you get your intake from foods.

The one-time fish oil supplements can really help is if you need to reduce your levels of triglycerides, a dangerous blood fat linked to heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends that people with extremely high triglycerides get 2 to 4 daily grams of omega-3s (containing EPA and DHA) in capsules -- but only in consultation with their doctors.

"The key here is to never take these supplements without your doctor's consent," says Magee. "This is not something you want to fool with on your own."

Heart Healthy Omega-3 Recipes

While adding fish to your diet is an important way to ensure you get enough omega-3s, Magee offers these two recipes to help get you started using flaxseed as well.

Each portion offers 1 gram, a day's supply, of omega-3 fatty acids. Keep in mind that you don't have to get a daily supply of omega-3s, as long as you maintain a weekly intake of 6 grams to 8 grams, your body will have what it needs.

No-Bake Peanut Butter Power Bars

Journal as: 1 1/2 cereal bar or 1/4 cup granola cereal + 2 teaspoons peanut butter

From The Flax Cookbook by Elaine Magee, MPH, RD (Marlowe & Co.)

Canola cooking spray
1 tablespoon butter or canola margarine
1/3 cup reduced-fat smooth peanut butter
2 cups miniature marshmallows, lightly packed
1 cup low-fat granola
1 cup Rice Krispies cereal (or other puffed rice cereal)
1/3 cup ground golden flaxseed (golden flax works better in this recipe)

  • Coat an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with canola cooking spray. Put the butter, peanut butter, and marshmallows into a medium-sized microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds, or until mixture is just melted. Stir to blend.
  • Microwave again briefly if the mixture isn't melted or smooth. Then stir in granola, puffed rice and flaxseed.
  • Spread the mixture in the prepared pan, flattening it evenly with a sheet of waxed paper. Let it cool completely before cutting into 8 equal-sized bars.

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