Eicosapentaenoic acid, also known as EPA, and docosahexaenoic acid, also known as DHA, are two important types of omega-3 fatty acids found in high amounts in fatty fish. Omega-3s are heart-healthy fats required for brain function. In addition, they can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases. For healthy individuals, 500 milligrams of combined DHA and EPA are recommended per day.
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A paper published in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" in 2006 notes that between .6 and 1.2 percent of your total daily calories should come from one omega-3 fatty acid, known as ALA, or alpha-linolenic acid. Your body can convert ALA into both EPA and DHA, but it may not always be able to produce enough EPA and DHA. Therefore, it may be beneficial to consume dietary DHA and EPA as fatty fish or fish oil.
Eat Fish Twice a Week
Approximately 500 milligrams of EPA and DHA combined should be consumed for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, notes the 2006 paper in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition." You can get an average of 500 milligrams per day by eating two meals of fish per week.
Heart Disease Recommendations
According to the American Heart Association, individuals with documented coronary heart disease should consume 1 gram of EPA and DHA combined per day. Ideally, this dosage should come from fatty fish, although fish oil can be used under the supervision of a health care professional. For individuals who need to lower triglyceride levels, the AHA recommends 2 to 4 grams of EPA and DHA combined per day. This can be consumed in the form of supplements, under the care of a physician.
The Linus Pauling Institute lists the fish with highest levels of EPA and DHA. To consume 1 gram of EPA and DHA combined, you would need 1.5 ounces of Pacific herring; 2 ounces of chinook salmon; 2.5 ounces of Pacific sardines, Atlantic salmon or Pacific oysters; 3 ounces of sockeye salmon; 3.5 ounces of rainbow trout; 4 ounces of canned white tuna; 9 ounces of Dungeness crab; or 12 ounces of canned light tuna. A typical single serving of fish is 3 ounces.